Root systems of pecan trees are usually dominated by a single taproot with few lateral roots, which are commonly thought to inhibit successful transplanting. This study aimed to evaluate early growth and root/shoot development of pecan seedlings in response to taproot pruning. Taproots of ‘Shaoxing’ seedling pecan trees were mildly (1/3 of the total length of the radicle removed) and severely (2/3 of the total length of the radicle removed) pruned at different seedling development stages shortly after germination. At the end of the first growing season, top growth was measured and then trees were uprooted so that root system regrowth could be evaluated. The results showed that root pruning had no impact on increases in stem height or stem diameter. However, pruning the taproot could stimulate primary growth in taproot branches. Root weight and the number of taproot branches per tree increased with decreasing taproot length. This study indicated that severe root pruning when three to five leaves had emerged resulted in root systems with more taproot branches and the greatest root dry weight after one growth season, which may increase survival and reduce transplanting shock.
Scion wood of ‘Caddo’ and ‘Desirable’ pecan (Carya illinoinensis) was grafted onto the epicotyl of 1-month-old, open-pollinated ‘Shaoxing’ pecan seedlings for evaluation as a grafting technique to reduce the time to produce grafted trees. The results showed that seedlings grafted with “base scions” had higher survival than those grafted with “terminal scions” for both ‘Caddo’ and ‘Desirable’. Also, grafting with paraffinic tape could achieve greater success rate than that with medical tape. The most ideal time to perform this grafting was late April in Nanjing, China, when pecan seedlings were about 35 days old. This study demonstrated that the technique yielded successful epicotyl grafting of >70%, and it could thus be applied in practice.