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  • Author or Editor: Michael W. Smith x
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Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) nuts with cracked shells reduce market grade and are usually removed during pecan cleaning. One type of crack is the shell suture that splits on certain cultivars with thin shells and high kernel percentages. ‘Schley’ nuts with diverse kernel moisture concentrations were dislodged from trees on cloudy and sunny days and exposed to ambient environmental conditions for 1 day on the ground. Samples were collected immediately after dislodging and after 1 day’s exposure, sealed in a plastic bag that was placed in a cooler, and then transported to the laboratory where they were assessed for kernel moisture and split sutures. The number of nuts with split sutures was unaffected by kernel moisture percentage or sunlight exposure when samples were collected immediately after dislodging. However, after 1 day, nuts with high kernel moisture percentages with high solar radiant exposure (sunny day) had substantially more nuts with suture splits than those with low solar radiant exposure (cloudy day). At the lowest kernel moisture percentages, the number of nuts with split sutures was insensitive to solar radiant exposure. During the first harvest, ‘Schley’ trees should be shaken to dislodge nuts on cloudy days and harvested before exposure to bright sunshine to minimize suture split. This probably extends to other cultivars with a history of suture split. An alternative to shaking on cloudy days, though not tested, might be to shake trees in the evening and harvest the next morning before exposure to high light conditions. Later, during the harvest season when kernel moisture was lower, sunlight exposure has little, if any, effect on suture splits.

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Patch budding is a common propagation technique for pecan (Carya illinoinensis) commonly used in the central and western United States, but seldom used in the southeastern United States. Success rates vary, but 75% is normally an acceptable survival rate. Selected budwood and rootstock treatments were evaluated to improve budding success. Additional studies were conducted to evaluate bud forcing techniques that would leave the rootstock intact, allowing a second bud to be inserted if the first patch bud failed. Girdling exceptionally vigorous shoots at the base used for budwood improved success, but neither tip pruning shoots used for budwood or rootstock affected patch bud survival. Patch budding was more successful using budwood from 1-year-old branches than from current season shoots, a finding that greatly extends the window available for propagation using patch buds. The age of rootstock wood at the budding site did not affect patch bud survival. Girdling the rootstock immediately above the dormant patch bud was less effective than top removal for forcing the patch bud in the spring. Application of a lanolin paste of 0% to 5% 2,3,5-triodobenzoic acid (TIBA) or 0.02% 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) to a girdle immediately above the patch bud was positively related to the percentage of patch buds forcing when tree tops were left intact. The combination of girdling, 5% TIBA, and 0.02% BAP resulted in 76% of the buds forcing compared with 73% forced using top removal. This approach damages trees less and enables a second chance for patch budding on a stronger tree.

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Typical damage, cleanup, and recovery from four ice storms beginning in Dec. 2000, with the latest in Dec. 2007, are reported for pecan (Carya illinoinensis). Damage levels were amplified as radial ice accretion increased. Cultivar affected the amount of damage incurred. Trees less than 15 ft tall typically had the least damage. Trees 15 to 30 ft tall incurred as much or more damage than larger trees and cleanup costs were greater. Production potential was directly related to canopy loss during the first growing season. The time to recover full production potential varied with the severity of canopy loss. Cleanup costs depended upon the amount of canopy damage incurred, tree spacing, tree size, and the amount of pruning needed to remove hanging and damaged limbs from the tree.

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Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) leaf elemental concentrations are the industry standard to guide fertility programs. To provide meaningful information, a standard index tissue collected at a specific development stage is required along with established elemental sufficiency ranges. We report pecan leaf elemental sufficiency ranges used in Oklahoma that were developed based on research in Oklahoma and elsewhere. In addition, fertilizer recommendations, based on various leaf elemental concentrations, are included.

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Field studies were conducted in North Carolina in 2019 and 2020 to determine the effect of a reduced-tillage, high-residue rye (Secale cereal) cover crop system on soil health, and growth and storage root yield of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) cultivars having upright (NC04-0531 or NC15-650) or prostrate (Covington or Bayou Belle) vining characteristics. Sweetpotato canopy width expanded quicker in the conventional tillage system than the reduced-tillage rye system. Prostrate sweetpotato cultivars had greater late-season canopy widths than upright cultivars. Soil bulk density of raised beds was greatest in the reduced-tillage rye system, but both systems remained within the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommended range for soil bulk density. The conventional-tillage system resulted in 17% more marketable roots; however, no differences were observed in total marketable root weight between systems. ‘Covington’ and ‘NC15-650’ had greater marketable yield than ‘NC04-0531’ but less marketable yield than ‘Bayou Belle’.

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