September 2018

You may have noticed pecan trees lining your neighborhood, their nuts green and almost ready to drop.  Texas is the second largest producer of pecans in the country, and everyone looks forward to pecan pies in the fall.  Here are some helpful tips to help you make the most of your pecan nut harvest.

Pecans begin to fall from September through November.  Nut pods are green until they get ready to drop. They then turn brown and reveal the nuts we see in the stores.  One of the wonderful things about harvesting pecans is that there’s no need to climb a ladder. Pecans will fall on their own, but it’s important to be quick when picking them up from the ground.  Pecans that are left too long on the ground are susceptible to squirrels, mold, and sun damage. However, if the ground is dry, it will cure the pecans and make them taste better.

There are several ways to gather nuts once they’ve fallen on the ground.  You can bend over and pick them up, but that can be exhausting. There are wire cages you can purchase online or at any feed store.  Another way to collect nuts is to lay a tarp on the ground before you suspect your nuts will drop. Then you can just pick up the entire tarp and harvest your pecans that way.

Once you have gathered the nuts from the ground, it’s time to go through the nuts and get rid of any nuts that are bad.  Look for nuts with holes in them, or listen to them when you shake them. If you hear a hard rattle inside, the nut is not good for harvest.  Nuts with the green husks still on them are not good, either.

There are several methods for extracting the meat from the pecan shells.  A good investment is to get a nutcracker that is specifically for cracking pecan shells.  Another go to is using a hammer and a nail to crack them open, however, you aren’t as likely to get that perfect nut out of the shell.  

If you have a compost pile in your yard, pecan shells are a perfect addition.  They won’t harm your yard like walnut shells.

Once the nuts are shelled, store them in freezer bags in your freezer up to one whole year!

Believe it or not, it’s fall and that means it’s time to prepare our trees for the colder months ahead.  Follow these tips to make sure that your trees stay healthy through the winter and thrive when spring comes around.

  1. Fertilize.  Summertime can drain your trees of the nutrients they need once the weather gets cooler.  A slow release fertilizer will replenish any nutrients they’ve lost this summer and keep them healthy through the winter.  A good fertilizer will also protect your trees from pests and diseases.
  2. Hydrate.  Summer is hot and dry, and your trees need to get plenty of water to store up for the winter.  Try subsurface watering to quench your tree’s thirst. Subsurface watering works by inserting an injection probe around your tree’s roots to make sure the roots are getting enough moisture.  
  3. Plant new trees.  Fall is the ideal time to plant new trees.  The weather is much cooler and you won’t have to worry about damaging new trees with sun scorch.  It gives the root structure a chance to establish before dormancy.
  4. Prepare you trees for success.  Fall is the perfect time to brace your trees for winter.  Winter is a very stressful time for trees, so cable and brace your trees for extra support.  Make sure your trees are pruned well to avoid breakage from frost and cold weather storms.
  5. Mulch.  Mulching is very important to keep nutrients and water in, and bugs and root eating animals out.  Mulching also protects your trees from fungus growth.
  6. Spray for insects.  Tree trunks make great homes for insects and bugs in the winter, but this can cause damage to your trees.  Be sure to spray your trees with a safe insecticide to protect them.
  7. Wrap your young trees. Since some trees lose their leaves in the winter, it’s a good idea to wrap your trees in a paper wrap to prevent the trunks from getting sun scald.  

For extra assistance with your tree maintenance, hire a professional arborist to make sure your trees are getting the best possible care.