georgia pecans

Nutrient Needs in Pecan Production

Clint Thompson Pecan

georgia pecans

By Clint Thompson

Fertility needs are an important concept for pecan growers to understand if they are going to be successful. Different times in the production season require various amounts of specific nutrients.

Take nitrogen for example. Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Extension pecan specialist, said nitrogen requirements are most important right now.

“The peak nitrogen absorption by the roots is going to occur about right now; a couple of weeks after budbreak. That first flush of growth that the tree puts out, the energy for that comes from what is already stored in the tree. When it has used up some of that, then the roots will start picking it up from the soil. A couple of weeks after budbreak is your peak nitrogen demand,” Wells said.

“They’ll take it up later in the year as well. But this time of year, the spring, right after budbreak, that’s when we tend to target the majority of our nitrogen applications. We generally say, on a mature orchard, our recommendation is 100 to 125 units of nitrogen, and we recommend putting out 75% of that in the spring.”

Soil and Leaf Analysis

Soil and leaf analysis will also aid a producer to know how much a particular nutrient is lacking in an orchard.

“That can really help. We know you’ve got to apply nitrogen every year, because the trees need a slug of it every year, and nitrogen is not something that stays around and lingers in the soil. Other nutrients like phosphorous, zinc that pecans need, potassium to some extent, those nutrients you may not necessarily have to apply every single year,” Wells said. “The leaf and soil analysis play a large role in the grower determining whether they need to apply those nutrients or not. If not, it can save them quite a bit of money.”

Leaf analysis are recommended between July7 and Aug. 7. Soil samples can be done at any time, though they need to be conducted at the same every year to generate consistent results.