Help For Pecans.
Pecan growers gave a sigh of relief as timely September rainsfell on state orchards during a critical growing stage, says aUniversity of Georgia pecan expert.The 3 to 5 inches of rain that fell in early September “wereright on time for the pecans,” said Tom Crocker, a horticulturistwith the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Rains Help NutsBetween early September and October, pecans enter a growingstage known as nut fill, when the edible part of the nut fillsthe hull. The rain will help the nut mature and improve the qualityfor harvest, Crocker said.Not only was the rain beneficial, Crocker said, but the wayit was delivered couldn’t have been better. The steady, lightshowers came with little wind gusts that could damage tree limbs,knocking down the overall production and dollar value of the crop.Disease RiskHowever, the rain does increase the risk of late-season scab,a fungus that can severely reduce the quantity and quality ofyields, said Tim Brenneman, a UGA plant pathology researcher atthe Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton. But damage dueto scab would be minimal this late in the season.”We could also have some scab carry over to next season,”Brenneman said.For now, the perfect weather for pecans won’t be rainy. “Weneed it to clear off and get some sunshine,” Brenneman said,”so the leaves can put out what they need to fill those nutsright now.”With the third straight year of drought, the $100 million statepecan crop has had to depend greatly on irrigation. About two-thirdsof the state orchards are irrigated.But overall, “the pecan crop looks real good right now,”Crocker said. Timely September rains will enable Georgia pecans to mature into quality nuts. Photo: Brad Haire