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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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Whole fruit clusters of `Pawnee' pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wang.) C. Koch.] were collected from three shoot types: terminal and lateral shoots without a secondary growth flush and shoots that had an early-season secondary growth flush. Fruit per cluster were counted and nuts were individually harvested, weighed, shelled and graded. Bloom the following year was determined for the same shoots where clusters were collected. Wafers (cotyledons that failed to develop) were not associated with cluster size or shoot type. When wafers were included in the data, nut weight, kernel percentage and return bloom were not affected by cluster size or shoot type. However, when wafers were excluded from the data there were significant relationships of cluster size and shoot type with the dependent variables. Cluster size on lateral shoots was negatively related to nut weight and kernel percentage. Cluster size on terminal shoots without a secondary growth flush was inversely related to kernel percentage, but not related to nut weight. When shoots had a secondary growth flush, cluster size was not related to kernel percentage or nut weight. There was a positive linear relationship between cluster size and total kernel weight for the three shoot types. Return bloom of terminal shoots without a secondary growth flush was negatively related to cluster size, but cluster size did not affect return bloom of the other shoot types. The number of shoots that developed the following year was positively related to cluster size for terminal and lateral shoots, but not for shoots with a secondary growth flush. Shoots with a secondary growth flush produced substantially more shoots with larger fruit clusters the next year than the other shoot types.

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Pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] fruit were thinned from `Mohawk' trees in Oklahoma and `Giles' trees in Kansas with a mechanical trunk shaker. All trees bore an excessive crop load before shaking. Fruit thinning improved the kernel percentage, individual nut weight, and kernel grade of `Mohawk', but nut characteristics of `Giles' were not affected by fruit thinning. Cold injury, caused by a sudden temperature drop in November, was positively related to the percentage of fruiting shoots in both cultivars. Fruit set in 1992 was negatively related to the percentage of fruiting shoots in 1991 in both cultivars. Consistent annual fruit set could be induced in `Giles' by fruit thinning, but return fruit set in `Mohawk', even at high levels of thinning, was low. Fruit thinning reduced yield the year of thinning in both cultivars. Thus, `Mohawk' trees should be thinned so that 50% to 60% of shoots bearing fruit at mid-canopy height would remain, and `Giles' trees should be thinned similarly to 65% to 70%.

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`Giles' pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] seedlings were either not mulched or mulched with wood chips arranged in a 1- or 2-m-wide square that was 30 cm deep. Mulch treatments were in factorial combination with two N rates applied as either a single application at budbreak or as a split application at budbreak and 3 weeks later. Tree height was positively related to mulch width each year of the 3-year study, and trunk diameter was positively related to mulch width during the second and third years of the experiment. Leaf P and K concentration during 2 years and leaf N during 1 year of the study were positively related to mulch width. Trees receiving the higher N rate were taller during 2 of 3 years, but leaf N concentration was not affected by N rate. No differences in the parameters measured were observed whether N was applied as a single or as a split application.

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A low leaf Mn concentration was detected in bearing pecan (Carya illinoinensis Wangenh. C. Koch) trees growing in an alluvial soil with an alkaline pH. Trees lacked vigor and leaves were pale in color, but there was no discernible leaf chlorosis or necrosis. Three foliar applications of MnSO4 beginning at budbreak, then twice more at 3-week intervals at rates of 0 to 3.3 kg·ha-1 of Mn increased leaf Mn concentration curvilinearly, and alleviated leaf symptoms. Results indicated that three foliar applications of MnSO4 at 2.15 kg·ha-1 of Mn plus a surfactant were adequate to correct the deficiency.

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Newly planted pecan (Carya illinoinensis Wangenh. C. Koch) trees were grown for 3 years in a tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Shreb. CV. Kentucky 31) sod with vegetation-free circles 0, 0.91, 1.83, 3.66, or 7.32 m in diameter. Trees were irrigated to minimize growth differences associated with water competition from fescue. There were no differences among treatments in total shoot growth after 1 year, but trunk growth was increased by vegetation-free areas. During the second year, trees with a 0.91-m-wide vegetation-free area had twice as much shoot growth, and trunks were twice the size of those without a vegetation-free zone. The third year, trees with a 0.91-m-wide vegetation-free circle had 403% more new shoot growth, and trunks were 202% larger than those without a vegetation-free zone. Cumulative shoot growth was up to 559% greater with vegetation control. Tree growth was similar with a 1.83- or 3.66-m-wide vegetation-free circle, and trees in both treatments were larger than trees with 0- or 0.91-m-wide vegetation-free zones. Extending the vegetation-free zone to 7.32 m wide was not advantageous.

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A 4-year field study on pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] provided indirect support of the supposition held by some U.S. pecan growers that air-blast foliar sprays of potassium nitrate (KNO3) plus surfactant enhances nut yield. While these treatments did not measurably influence yield components, foliar K nutrition, or net photosynthesis, they did suppress “yellow-type” aphid populations. While air-blast sprays of water alone suppressed aphid populations, the inclusion of KNO3 plus surfactant provided an additional level of suppression.

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Nitrogen was applied between 1996 and 2002 to grafted `Mohawk' pecan (Carya illinoinensis Wangenh. C. Koch.) trees at 75 or 150 kg·ha-1 either as a single application in March or as a split application with 60% applied in March and 40% the first week of June. In 1997 and 2001, a spring freeze damaged developing shoots and buds, resulting in a small, noncommercial crop and the June portion of the N application was withheld. Nitrogen was also applied during the first week in October at 0 or 50 kg·ha-1 N if the crop load before fruit thinning in August was ≥40% fruiting shoots. There were few differences in the percentage of fruiting shoots or cluster size associated with N rate or applying N as a single or split application. Leaf N concentrations were either not affected by treatment or the results were inconsistent. Omitting the June application when a crop failure occurred did not affect the percentage of fruiting shoots the following year. October N application either did not affect or reduced the percentage of fruiting shoots the following year, and had no influence on leaf N concentration in July or October. These results indicate that the only advantage of a split N application is the option of withholding the second portion in the event of a crop failure. However, the added expense associated with splitting the N application versus the risk of crop failure must be assessed for each situation to determine if this is a sound economic practice. These data do not support an October N application when the crop is ≥40% fruiting shoots to reduce irregular bearing.

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