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Fruit Thinning and Irrigation Scheduling

For those brave souls willing to thin some nuts from heavily loaded trees, now is about the time for most of our mid-season cultivars. Varieties like ‘Creek’, ‘Stuart’ and ‘Cape Fear’ should be ready as early as this weekend and certainly by next week for most of south Georgia (The middle Georgia area may be a few days later).  See here for a previous post on fruit thinning and how to cut nuts to determine if your crop is ready to thin.

Even though it is hot and dry, if you plan to fruit thin, it would be wise to turn off the irrigation a day or two prior to thinning in order to minimize the chances of bark damage to the tree. Also, with the hot, dry weather many growers are anxious to begin running their irrigation at 100% capacity. Bear in mind that we are still in the nut sizing stage on most cultivars with the exception of ‘Pawnee’ and a handful of other very early cultivars. We don’t need to go to full capacity until we enter the kernel-filling stage. If you have a September harvest cultivar like ‘Pawnee’ you should be operating at full capacity now in order to fill the nuts. For most other October harvest cultivars change your irrigation to full capacity about mid-August (another couple of weeks).

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About Lenny Wells

I am a Professor of Horticulture and Extension Horticulture Specialist for pecans at the University of Georgia. My research and extension programs focus on practical cultural management strategies that help to enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of pecan production in Georgia.