Pollination an important factor to consider when planting pecans

Published 4:57 pm Friday, February 5, 2016

By Kyle Brown

Continuing on the article from last week, I think it’s important to mention pollination when planting your pecan orchard. Historically, pollination is often overlooked when planting pecan orchards. Increased production achieved from having the right pollinators is often not something you notice unless you have something to compare it to. The effects of poor pollination will also be more obvious in some years than others, especially when spring weather disrupts pollination.

I often hear responses such as, “There are plenty of pecan trees scattered around my orchard to pollinate my trees.” To get effective pollination, the female flowers in your orchard have to be receptive of pollen from another tree at the time other trees are releasing pollen.

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However, pecan trees will self-pollinate, but large percentages of these nuts will fail to develop, fill poorly and abort, resulting in decreased yield and poor quality. Taking these facts into consideration, pollination should be looked at carefully when designing the layout of your orchard to achieve maximum productivity. Once you decide which cultivar is most desirable for your operation, you can then choose your pollinator cultivar. Below are some comments from UGA Extension Horticulture Specialist for pecans Dr. Lenny Wells:

“Research has shown that pecan trees need a pollinator within 150 feet. This is why current UGA recommendations recommend placing a pollinator at every fifth tree on every fifth row if you’re planting a solid block of one cultivar. On the other hand, if you block multiple cultivars in an orchard, change cultivars about every four rows.”

Here’s a link for the pollination compatibility chart for pecan cultivars in Georgia: http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fruits/pecan/growers/documents/PollinationCompatibilityChart.pdf

For more information on pecan pollination, please feel free to come by or contact me at the UGA Decatur County Extension office. (229) 248-3033.