Weed Control Increases Yield and Economic Returns from Young `Desirable' Pecan Trees

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University, AL 36849
  • | 2 Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology and Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University, AL 36849
  • | 3 Department of Agronomy and Soils and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University, AL 36849
  • | 4 Department of Horticulture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University, AL 36849
  • | 5 Department of Horticulture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University, AL 36849

Yields and economic returns above treatment variable costs were determined for young `Desirable' pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] trees grown for nine seasons under ten combinations of orchard floor management practice and irrigation. Orchard floor management practices were 1) no weed control, 2) mowed, 3) total weed control with herbicides, 4) grass control only with herbicides, or 5) disking, and trees were either irrigated or nonirrigated. Total weed control with herbicides increased cumulative yield through the ninth growing season by 358% compared to no weed control. In the humid environment where this experiment was conducted, irrigation did not increase crop value obtained from the young trees, except for 1 year. At the end of the ninth season, total weed control with herbicides was the only treatment to have a positive net present value. These data indicate that establishment costs for young `Desirable' pecan trees can be recovered as early as the eighth growing season if competition from weeds is totally eliminated.

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