Idalia Aftermath: Southeast Georgia Pecan Crop Heavily Impacted

Jim Rogers Georgia, Weather

By Clint Thompson

Georgia’s pecan producers continue to assess what’s left of their crop in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia last week. Those in Southeast Georgia were especially devastated by the storm that packed high winds and heavy rainfall.

Hurricane Idalia

It led to a substantial amount of this year’s crop gone, says Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Extension pecan specialist.

“I would say the area the storm went through, it’s probably a third of the pecans produced in the state, a significant amount of that crop has probably been lost,” Wells said. “I imagine the closer you were to the border of Florida, the worse it was.”

The devastation was so severe, some growers believe this storm to be the worst.

“I’ve had some in the path of it that have been through several of these before, telling me it was the worst one they’ve had,” Wells said. “A lot of growers are saying thousands of trees are down. Most of them are these younger trees, 20 years and under, that are getting laid over; nuts blown out of the trees.”

Making matters worse, Georgia farmers may also not know the full extent of damage until later in the season. The nuts that remain in the trees may have suffered quality injuries as well.

“We’ll probably have a situation beyond what we can see now where the wind beats those trees up like that, those xylem connections of the nut to the tree where the water and nutrients are transported, a lot of times those connections get damaged when they’re beat around like that. Sometimes when we have these storms, we’ll see the nuts not mature properly. You can get some issues there. That remains to be seen,” Wells said.

“I’m hearing the big trees came through it, generally better, especially if they were hedged. You of course had some big trees that weren’t hedged or couldn’t be hedged because they were too big with these long limbs on them. At this time of year, of course, they’re heavy. So in those situations, you’ve got a lot of big trees in some of those worst areas that are broken up really bad, too.”

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