Pecan Nut production is a lucrative industry. “Income harvested from 2 pecan nut trees is equivalent to that from 1t of maize” says Phillip Antrobus pecan nut farmer. Pecan nut trees are fast growers and can become very tall. The nut has a high nutritional value because it is rich in protein, vitamins, carbohydrates and nut oil.
- The pecan nut tree is well adapted to subtropical areas.
- It also grows well in areas with short, cold winters and long very hot summers.
- Low temperatures and even frost during June to August are required for successful budding and flower formation.
- During the summer months (October to April) the tree requires high temperatures for fruit growth.
- Trees are successfully established in valleys and along rivers where the winter temperature is low and frost occurs.
Examine the soil regarding depth, drainage and compacted layers.
* The soil should be at least 2m deep.
* The physical suitability of a soil can only be evaluated by digging holes in the ground and examining the soil profile.
* The soil should be prepared carefully and well in advance of planting.
The pecan nut tree is deciduous and can therefore only be transplanted during winter. The best results are obtained when establishing orchards with trees planted during July and August.
Planting in Orchards
- Loosen the topsoil to a depth of 1m before planting.
- The depth of the hole must be deeper than 1m, or at least 200mm deeper than the length of the tap root.
- Some loose soil should be replaced, so that the cut end of the tap root is in loose soil. This promotes vertical root growth during the first season of establishment.
- Well-rotted compost (plant material) can be added to the hole.
- Zinc fertilizer (22%Zn) should be added and mixed well with the topsoil. No other fertilizer should be applied at planting.
- Newly planted trees must be irrigated immediately.There after, irrigation should be applied carefully because too much water given before the tree start growing, may cause the roots to rot.
- They should be treated against possible termite attacks by timeously destroying all termite nests in the vicinity.
- The trees should be white-washed to prevent sunburn damage. It is advisable to put a straw mulch around the base of the young tree for better moisture conservation and to protect the roots against high temperatures. After planting , the trees must be topped to encourage branching to form a framework. A height of 1m is recommended.
- Inspect young trees regularly during the first season after planting.
To set up a successful pecan nut farming operation you’ll need a professional and well- written farming business plan.
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