Pecan Orchard – Limbs and Pruning

There is always a “To Do” list when you own a pecan orchard  and limbs and pruning are what rises to the top of that list this time of year.  The 2014 Pecan Harvest is complete but there are limbs all over the orchard floor.  As you look across the orchard one can see small piles and some giant piles of limbs left in open areas that were moved from beneath the trees before the pecan harvesters could begin their job of picking the pecans.  Every minute is precious during harvest season to get the crop harvested as quickly as possible so limbs are just piled to the side to be picked up later.  Additionally, one can see some broken limbs that are stuck and or partially hanging from the trees.  These broken limbs and “hangers” need removing prior to the next season.  These limbs are easier viewed when the trees are naked.

Little Eva Plantation

Naked Pecan Trees

February and March is a good time to remove any limbs that may have interfered with the harvesting process also.  That means limbs that hung too low and got in the way of the harvesters as they circled the trees.  Removing these low limbs will allow better spray coverage and better air movement in the lower canopy, thereby improving disease control for the upcoming season.   The correct way to cut a large limb – Make the undercut followed by the overcut, followed by the final cut at the collar to minimize the chance of stripping bark.  Cutting in this manner allows the tree to callous or close the wound until the short piece rots or breaks off.  A properly cut limb will not be cut flush with the trunk surface, but leave a little collar.

Pruning time is also the right time to collect graftwood for whip, four-flap, and inlay-bark grafts.  The parent trees should be vigorous, free of insects, disease, or environmental damage.

It’s time to go find some matches and get started on burning all those piles of limbs…..

Natchitoches Pecans Releases Annual Product Brochure For The Holidays

The gourmet pecan company’s product brochure features their signature gourmet pecans, gift packages, and other pecan products just in time for the holidays.

Cloutierville, LA (PRWEB) November 05, 2014

Fresh Louisiana pecans are a welcome addition to any holiday table, whether for snacking or in homemade dishes. Natchitoches Pecans ships their fresh pecans around the country, and the company has just released their annual product brochure filled with a range of pecan goods and gift items available by mail order and online.

The Natchitoches Pecans catalogue includes a range of fresh Louisiana pecans – in-shell, cracked, halves, and pieces. The popular Burlap Bag of Nuts may be ordered as either in-shell or cracked. Pecan candies, samplers, cookbooks, and more are also available to order. Pecan candies and samplers are popular for gifting or for parties during the holiday season. The popular Cane River Pecan Sampler includes candied and spiced pecans – Natural Pecan Halves, Chocolate Pecans, Old Fashion Cane Pecans, and Cinnamon Spice Pecans – all in a custom tin. New this year is the Ms. Rita’s Baker’s Special – a great gift for cooks and bakers. This package includes fancy pecan halves, pecan pieces, and the family’s “Pecan Favorites Cookbook.”

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, the Natchitoches Pecans “Nuthouse” – as the team fondly calls itself – starts to get busy packing and shipping pecan orders. To guarantee timely delivery of fresh Louisiana pecans, especially for holiday gifting, the company suggests ordering early. Order by December 12 to guarantee delivery before Christmas. Orders received after December 12 will be processed and shipped in the order they are received.

Call 1-800-572-5925 to request a brochure or order Natchitoches Pecans’ fresh pecans and all other pecan items online at Pecan enthusiasts can also visit their unique gift shop located in Cloutierville, LA.

Natchitoches Pecans
Established in 1987, Natchitoches Pecans, Inc. is a family owned and operated pecan orchard. Mark Swanson sees to the everyday operations, his wife, Julie, takes care of Little Eva’s Pecan Store and the mail-order business, and their mothers, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews all help wherever needed. Natchitoches Pecans is proud to provide high-quality, gourmet Louisiana pecans for all of its customers.


From Natchitoches Pecans’ November press release.

Pecan – How Do You Say This Word?


Is it PEE-cans, pih-KAHNS, PO-kahns, or even PECK-ans?  According to askville by Amazon this word may even be pronounced as follows

  • pee-can’
  • pee-con’
  • puh-con’
  • puh-coon’
  • pic-con’
  • pee’-can
  • pic’-cun

Pecans have been a hot topic in the news within the last few years and rightfully so.  This versatile nut ranks highest among all nuts in antioxidant capacity.  Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of nutrient dense pecans provides 10% of the recommended Daily Value for fiber.   From lowering cholesterol to helping fight diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to enjoying pecan pralines, nothing compares to the pecan!

Below is portion of an article from  for you to enjoy.

How do YOU say pecan?  Turns out, it depends on where you’re from.  Joshua Katz, a doctoral student studying statistics at NC State University, recently created interactive dialect maps using data from Bert Vaux at the University of Cambridge. For example, check out the map showing how people pronounce “pecan”:

pecan pronunciation map

It shows that pee-KAHN is dominant nationwide, but in areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi, pick-AHN reigns supreme. PEE-can is popular on the East Coast and in New England, while folks from Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula go with PEE-kahn.

The linguistics department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee just also shared a pecan pronunciation map that gives another option – where people may say pee-KAHN by itself, but then say PEE-can when using a compound word, like pecan pie.

So again – How do YOU say pecan?  Leave us a comment….

Pecan Crop Prediction is 256 Million Pounds

The 2014 Tri-State Pecan Growers Conference was held in Alexandria, Louisiana from June 19-20.  Growers attending were from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.  At the conclusion of the meeting the much anticipated pecan crop guesstimate was given by Ben Littlepage of Colfax, Louisiana.  The 2014 U.S. Pecan Crop estimate by Mr. Littlepage was 256 million pounds.

Following is the state-by-state prediction for the 2014 pecan crop:

Alabama ……………………………9.0 million lbs.

Arizona ……………………………18.0 million lbs.

Arkansas ……………………………3.0 million lbs.

California ……………………………4.0 million lbs.

Florida ……………………………….1.0 million lbs.

Georgia …………………………….65.0 million lbs.

Kansas ……………………………….2.0 million lbs.

Louisiana ………………………….16.0 million lbs.

Mississippi ………………………….1.0 million lbs.

Missouri ……………………………..1.0 million lbs.

New Mexico ……………………….55.0 million lbs.

North Carolina ……………………..0.5 million lbs.

Oklahoma …………………………..15.0 million lbs.

South Carolina ……………………..0.5 million lbs.

Texas ………………………………..65.0 million lbs.

U.S. Total ………………………….256 million lbs.

Participants toured two local pecan orchards over the course of the two days. The Inglewood Orchard and Harvest Barn became a certified organic operation last year, after the required 3-year period of not using synthetic management methods.  This orchard is around 80 acres.  Trey Decker with Inglewood Farm presented the group with information about this farm’s operation.   The second orchard toured was Rosalie Plantation.  This farm is centered around a picturesque antebellum sugarmill and includes approximately 100 acres of improved pecan trees .

Other speakers included Charlie Graham from the LSU Pecan Research Station, Bill Goff retired from Auburn University Horticulture and George Ray McEachern from Texas A&M University.  Information about pecan orchard management, specifically about orchard spacing, thinning and hedging was discussed.  Pest and disease control as well as updates on the future of pecan research in Louisiana were talked about also.

Louisiana pecan growers in particular say that this year’s crop in each pecan orchard looks to be good compared to the last couple of years as it has not been as dry.  However – all wise pecan growers know – Do not count your nuts before they are in the bag!

Pecans in the Bag

Pecans in the Bag

National Pecan Pie Day

National Pecan Pie Day is annually celebrated on July 12.  With that being said everyone needs to be sure they have shelled pecans on hand to make this delicious dessert.

What is pecan pie? defines pecan pie as a pie made primarily with corn syrup and pecan nuts.  Variations may include white or brown sugar, sugar syrup, molasses, maple syrup, or honey.  It is popularly served at holiday meals and is also considered a specialty of  Southern U.S. cuisine. Most pecan recipes for this pie include salt and vanilla as flavorings. Chocolate and bourbon whiskey are other popular additions to the recipe.  Pecan pie is often served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

Pecan pie is actually French in origin.  The first American pecan pies were baked by French immigrants living in New Orleans.  Many years later, the Karo company popularized this creation with recipes that called for the company’s corn syrup as one of the ingredients.  The recipe below is simple to prepare so try it and let us know how it turned out!


Happy Pecan Pie Day

Happy Pecan Pie Day




Pecan Varieties Recommended for the Louisiana Homeowner

Each year as visitors come into our Natchitoches Pecans pecan store at Little Eva Plantation the conversation comes up about what pecan varieties are best to plant for the homeowner in Louisiana.  Not all pecan varieties are suited for the homeowner.

There are important factors to consider before choosing a variety.  The most important factor to consider is scab disease resistance.  Varieties highly susceptible to scab should be avoided.  Schley, Wichita and Desirable are highly susceptible to scab and should not be planted because of their need to be sprayed.  The control of scab is one of the most expensive costs of pecan production.  Commercial managed orchards have access to high-pressure spray equipment necessary for spraying the pecan trees whereas the ordinary homeowner cannot afford this type of equipment.

Another factor to consider when choosing a variety for home plantings is cross-pollination.  Cross-pollination improves the quantity and quality of nuts produced.   Unless there are other pecan plantings within a 1/4-mile radius, varieties of pecan trees with opposite blooming characteristics should be planted near each other to improve cross-pollination.

The following are varieties that we recommend:

CANDY – these are small nuts (~66 nuts/lb.) with thick shells and high-quality kernels  that have a high oil content with good color.  Meat yield can be 45%.  The trees are vigorous and can begin to bear in four to five years, but may tend to alternate bear as the tree ages.

Views of Pecan Nuts and Shell

Candy – Views Pecan of Nuts and Shell

ELLIOTT – these are small teardrop shaped nuts (~67 nuts/lb.) with a thick shell and  bright high quality kernels.  Meat yield can be 53%.  The nuts have excellent cracking characteristics.  This is a very scab-resistant variety and also a favorite root stock cultivar.  Trees bear in six to eight years.

Elliott - Views of Pecan Nuts and Shells

Elliott – Views of Pecan Nuts and Shells

MELROSE – these are medium-large oblong nuts  (~53 nuts/lb.) with a medium shell and bright kernels.  Meat yield can be 55%.  Nuts crack well and the trees bear in six to eight years. This variety has moderate scab resistance.

Melrose - Views of Pecan Nuts and Shells

Melrose – Views of Pecan Nuts and Shells

SUMNER – these are medium-large nuts (~48 nuts/lb.) with a medium shell and  good quality kernels.  Meat yield can be 53%.  Trees can bear at a relatively early age – five to six years.  This variety has excellent scab resistance.

Sumner - Views of Pecan Nuts and Shells

Sumner – Views of Pecan Nuts and Shells


On  average, pecan production adds about $12 million to Louisiana’s economy each year and as everyone knows no holiday is complete without a pecan pie!

About Clementine Hunter

Hidden Hill Plantation, now known as Little Eva Plantation was the birthplace of Louisiana’s famous primitive folk artist Clementine Hunter.  Clementine was born the oldest of seven children to Antoinette Adams and Janvier Reuben.  When she was five, her family moved from Little Eva Plantation into the town of Cloutierville.  Around the age of fifteen, Clementine moved to where she would spend the rest of her life, Melrose Plantation.  It was here at Melrose where she would receive inspiration for the art work that has made her one of America’s most famous folk artists.

The Natchitoches Pecans Gift Shop is proud to offer Clementine Hunter inspired items such as ornaments, magnets, serving pieces of dishware  and gallery quality reproduction canvases by Gitter Gallery.  The book Clementine Hunter: Her Life is also available.  Go to  to view lots of our Clementine inspired items.

The Clementine Hunter Collection by gittergallery

The Clementine Hunter Collection by gittergallery

Pecan Bloom in Pecan Orchard at Natchitoches Pecans Inc

May in the pecan orchard at Little Eva Plantation is abuzz with the orchard in full pecan bloom.  There is nothing quite as beautiful  than looking through the lush green of the pecan trees and the orchard floor this time of year.  The pecan bloom for 2014 looks to be good.  Most of the pecan trees have lots of catkins on them.

Pecan orchard in pecan bloom at Little Eva Plantation

Pecan orchard in pecan bloom at Little Eva Plantation

Pecan trees produce two kinds of flowers.  As a rule, the two types of flowers do not mature at the same time, so a tree usually cannot fertilize itself.  So it is very important to match varieties in an orchard that can pollinate and fertilize each other.  The catkins (male flowers) appear as long strings hanging from the limbs and release pollen.  When the wind blows in gusts we have observed “yellow dust clouds” coming from the tree.

Catkins - the male flowers

Catkins – the male flowers










The pistillate (female flowers) appear at the end of the pecan shoots.  Stigmas on the female flowers are receptive to pollen when they are glossy.  They are past receptivity when they begin to dry and turn brown.  Not all female flowers will become a mature pecan.  They may fall off if not pollinated or be aborted by the tree during stress periods such as  heavy crop load or drought before reaching maturity.

Tiny female flowers past receptivity

Tiny female flowers past receptivity

Receptive female flowers

Receptive female flowers










Stay tuned for updates on the current pecan growing season…another year as a pecan grower and I am still  finding myself becoming ” nuttier than ever”.




Horse Print Socks For Sale In Our Retail Pecan Store Called The Nuthouse

Horse Print Socks For Sale In Our Retail Pecan Store Called The Nuthouse

Cute socks that have a matching night shirts can be seen at the Nuthouse.  The Nuthouse is currently open Thursdays through Saturdays 9am to 5pm. Night shirt that matches these socks says “I need my booty sleep!”  Come into our retail pecan store to check out these and other extremely cute items that make great gifts.  Order our fresh pecans online and have them delivered directly to your house if you can’t wait to come in to our retail shop!

Horse Print Socks For Sale In The Retail Pecan Store Called The Nuthouse

Pecan Budbreak in Central Louisiana

Pecan budbreak is apparent in the pecan orchard here at Little Eva Plantation.  We first began noticing the buds swelling on the tips of the pecan limbs in late March and tiny bits of the green baby leaves started showing their appearance the first couple of days of this month.  Each morning brings a noticeable progression of pecan leaf growth.  Within the next seven to ten days the pecan orchard should be all green and beautiful again.  The grass is already green under the trees as Mark has applied the first application of fertilizer for the 2014 pecan crop.  In just a few days it will be time for the first fungicide application to help control pecan scab.  It will also be important that an insecticide spray be applied at this time also to control pecan phylloxera.  Phylloxera are tiny, aphid like critters that stimulate the formation of galls on the pecan leaves and shoots by feeding on the tender plant tissue early in the season.  These insects are hard to see as they are so small but the damage they cause is easy to see – lots of green balls that can be so bad as to completely defoliate a tree if left untreated.

Louisiana Pecan Budbreak

Louisiana Pecan Budbreak