Preparing for Pecan Harvest

In just a short few weeks pecan harvest will begin at Little Eva Plantation.  There are many tasks to be completed prior to the familiar site of our orange Savage pecan harvesters circling around and under the pecan trees.

Picking pecans with pecan harvester.

Picking pecans with pecan harvester.

Our workers are continually picking up limbs throughout the growing season and taking them to what we call “master piles”.  At the beginning of each growing season,  we try and locate an empty area to start a limb pile as we know that this pile will continue to enlarge as limbs that have fell from wind damage, lightning, or pruning practices are added to it throughout the spring and summer months.

"Master" pile of pecan limbs

“Master” pile of pecan limbs

These piles will be burned after the harvesting is done and after the trees have shed all their leaves from fall frosts.  If the piles were burned before the trees have lost their leaves, it would be a high probability that the heat from the burning limb piles could damage the leaves of the surrounding trees.  It is important to maintain healthy foliage well into fall as the trees are storing energy for the next years pecan crop.

After the large limbs are moved, a limb rake is pulled up each row of trees to gather up small limbs and debris.  Guess this is like “sweeping” the floor – the orchard floor.  This completed brings on the mowing with the bush hog.  Once bush hogging is finished the orchard floor looks perfectly clean, neat, and tidy.

Now it’s time for the pecan harvesting equipment to be inspected and serviced so as to try and prevent unnecessary breakdowns as it is very critical that harvest be completed as quickly as possible.  The tractors, pecan harvesters, and the pecan shaker are gone over with a fine tooth comb.  Tires are checked on the pecan wagons and any dry rotted or flat tires are replaced or repaired.

Pecan Shaker maintenance

Pecan Shaker maintenance

Pecan wagon loaded

Pecan wagon loaded

 

On to the warehouse to check out all the dump pits, elevators, dirt machine, stick machine, various electric motors, air compressors, the Savage In-Shell sorter, pecan cracker, and pecan sheller.  As one can see it is much preparation that goes into getting prepared for each year’s pecan harvest.

 

Transplanting Bucket Grown Pecan Trees

Recycled tub acts as water source for transplanted trees.

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In addition to the commercial importance of pecans, pecan trees add much to the beauty of the home or farm.  Pecan trees should be planted in solid blocks for commercial production.  For home use they can be planted along borders, ditch banks, fences, or in the lawn at least forty feet from buildings. Container grown […]

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

 

Start of 2014 Pecan Crop

Time flies as they say and if you are a pecan grower time travels at warp speed!  Our 2013 pecan harvest was very good.  The weather was decent which enabled us to get our pecan crop into the warehouse in a timely manner.  Our walk-in pecan store retail business was very brisk and our mail order business showed a substantial increase in sales.  The first two months of 2014 were very busy as this is the time when I dig out from under my stacks of paperwork, compile figures for the accountant, reflect on the recent business year, and access what our plan for the current year will consist of.

Who would have thought that Little Eva Plantation would see snow on four different occasions within the last six weeks.  It will only be a few short weeks before pecan bud break.  Our orchard crew is busy picking up limbs, cutting down any dead or diseased pecan trees, and burning the piles of limbs.  We will be pruning the young trees that were planted last year and have around 100 new trees that will need to be planted this year…as always lots, lots, and more to do at this Nut Farm!