Fruit thinning will likely be a hard practice for pecan producers to follow through on in the next couple of weeks. But University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells believes it is the right course of action to take, especially considering the quantity of this year’s pecan supply.
“This is going to be a hard sale because a lot of growers have gone without much of a crop for a couple of years. They’re wanting to make all they can. But in a situation like that with a crop that’s really loaded, especially if they’re calling for dry weather late in the season, it would not be a bad idea right now to fruit thin your trees,” Wells said. “That would take some of that pressure off the tree where it would be better able to manage and make those nuts with good quality that it has left.”
Wells said growers only have another week or two to thin their trees, except for Pawnee variety, which should have already been done. There are various advantages to thinning your tree, though, you would be affecting this year’s crop.
“It’s a tough call, it really is. It’s certainly hard to do,” Wells said. “It definitely does help. It helps with a lot of things; it helps with quality; it helps with return crop next year; it helps with the size of the nuts; it helps with that if we do get some kind of storm late in the season, if you lighten that crop load, then trees don’t take such a beating. There’s a lot of advantages to it, but it is hard to do.”
According to the UGA Extension pecan blog, Wells said Georgia’s crop is projected at 87 million pounds.