Size of Vegetation Free Area Affects Nonbearing Pecan Tree Growth

in HortScience
Authors:
Michael W. SmithDepartment of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078

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Becky S. ChearyDepartment of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078

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Becky L. CarrollDepartment of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078

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Newly planted pecan (Carya illinoinensis Wangenh. C. Koch cv. Kanza) trees were grown for 5 years in a bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] sod with vegetation-free circles 0, 0.91, 1.83, 3.66, or 7.32 m in diameter. Trees were irrigated and fertilized to minimize growth differences associated with competition from the bermudagrass. There were no differences in trunk diameter among treatments the first 2 years of the study. During the next 3 years, trunk diameter increased curvilinearly as the vegetation-free circle increased. A vegetation-free circle diameter of 1.83 m produced near maximum tree growth. Although trunk diameter improved slightly as the vegetation-free diameter was increased up to 7.32 m, it was not sufficient to justify the additional expense for herbicides nor exposure of unprotected soil to erosion.

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