It is once again time to pull your pecan leaf samples. Given the slim profit margin for growing pecans at this time, leaf samples (and soil samples) are some of the most important tools available to growers to ensure the health of their trees and determine exactly what fertilizer inputs they actually need each season. The samples you pull now will be used to determine your trees’ fertilizer needs next year.
Leaf sampling should be conducted between July 7-August 7 each year. This is the time period to evaluate your trees’ fertilizer nutritional status because this is the window in which the nutrients are most stable in the plant. Soon, nutrients will be moving to the nuts for kernel filling and nut maturation.
Pull leaf samples by taking the middle pair of leaflets from a compound leaf. Pull 50-100 pairs per orchard depending on orchard size. Use healthy, disease and insect-damage-free leaves exposed to the sun. You can also pull soil samples now or pull them in the winter –it won’t really matter, as long as you consistently pull them at the same time each year.