Better Bearing Organic Pecan Tree

By Jim PathFinder Ewing

Frequently, I’m asked by both urban and rural people why their pecan trees no longer bear. There are a variety of reasons, but a major one is that the trees aren’t getting enough food.

Traditionally, if you have pecan trees, this time of year (February and March) is the time to fertilize them for fall harvest. Most of the guides for fertilizing pecan trees follow conventional methods with synthetic chemicals. The USDA has a paper on it: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov08/pecans1108.pdf

However, if you plan to go organic, the way is to avoid synthetics. As with an organic garden, the secret is in the soil: assuring that the trees are well fertilized and, hence, able to fend off pests and bear fruit.

One way to do that is through regular spraying of compost tea (liquid compost) to the drip line every six weeks during the growing season. Stay at least 12 inches away from the trunk.

Naturally, here in the South, there are pests in abundance. As with regular organically grown crops, you can use beneficial insects to fight the ones you don’t want, such as Trichogramma wasps to control the pecan casebearer; they can be purchased at organic garden centers, feed stores and ordered by mail (Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Orcon-TR-C3SQ-Live-Trichogramma-Squares/dp/B0050QK6YE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361200692&sr=8-1&keywords=trichogramma+wasps). And there are natural treatments that can also kill pests, such as the widely sold organic bacterial insecticide known as Spinosad, derived naturally from a soil-dwelling bacterium.

A lot of trouble for nothing? Hardly.

In fact, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Texas found that pecan trees transitioned to organic outperformed conventional varieties.

For more, see: http://www.ghorganics.com/High%20Yielding%20Organic%20Pecan%20Trees.htm

You might also peruse the Arbico organics catalog which sells a variety of OMRI approved pest control solutions for a variety of nut and fruit bearing trees: http://www.arbico-organics.com/

The first step is to take a soil sample from beneath the tree(s) to the local extension service; and if that doesn’t reveal a deficiency, take a leaf sample for plant tissue analysis.

Seven Reasons Why Pecan Trees Don’t Bear
From Alabama Extension Service: http://www.aces.edu/dept/extcomm/specialty/pecans2.html

Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. For more, see: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jimpathfinderewing/, Facebook or his webpage, blueskywaters.com

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