Pecan Producers Should Stop Irrigation Ahead of Storm’s Arrival

Jim Rogers Georgia

By Clint Thompson

Georgia pecan producers need rain but they don’t need high wind speeds at this point in the growing season. That is why some, especially in the southeast part of the state, are on pins and needles this week awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Idalia.

Hurricane Idalia

The storm’s potential landfall as a Category 3 storm means it could bring wind speeds as high as 111 miles per hour. While it will decrease by the time it reaches Southeast Georgia, it could still be a hurricane when the center of the storm arrives Wednesday afternoon.

University of Georgia Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells implores farmers to turn their irrigation off to decrease the risk of fallen trees.

“We don’t need the wind, but all growers can do at the moment is to make sure their irrigation is cut off, and hopefully, they cut it off (Sunday) so it can dry out a few days before the winds arrive. That’s always the biggest issue is trees coming down in this with all of the rain getting the soil wet,” Wells said.

Soils have been dry considering the prolonged dry period impacting most of the Southeast. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Georgia’s dry conditions are mostly concentrated to the southwest corner of the state. They start in Seminole and Early counties and stretch eastward to parts of Clinch, Atkinson and Coffee counties.

But with the impending storm moving through the state, preserving the trees long term is more important than satisfying water needs until the storm’s arrival.

“As wet as it was, and it’s been so hot the past couple of weeks, and it’s turned off dry, the soil has gotten dried out pretty good. We’re right in the middle of peak water demand for pecans, so everybody, hopefully, has been keeping the water going to them,” Wells said. “But we’ve got to weigh our risks right now. The greater risk at the moment is the storm.”

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