Pecan Tree Harvest

Blog, Nuts, Trees

Rent Mother Nature’s pecan grower tells us that the outer hull of your pecans are drying and just now beginning to crack.  They will stay on the tree in that condition until the hull becomes completely dry.  Then, they begin to fall to the ground.  Of course, once they begin to fall, our growers along with the help of the huge machine that shakes the trees violently do their bit.  The nuts rain down with the force of hail!  It’s a sign that the harvest is ready to begin.

By weight, the nuts are 70% oil, but the trees do not begin producing oil until a few weeks before the harvest.  By then, insects and any pertinent diseases have had several weeks to do their damage.  Left uncontrolled, the insects can severely attack the vigor of a healthy tree, resulting in poor tassel development the following spring.  Natural effects come in cycles–causing the trees to produce an admiral crop every two years.  This is a good year.  Good for you and the growers!

An entomologist a while ago discovered that certain small nematodes attack the pecan weevil larvae, killing them.  These worm-like nematodes are one of nature’s methods of controlling a dreadful threat to a successful crop.  Through experiments with their use, all the farmers who grow pecans have reason to be optimistic.  It certainly beats pesticides that contaminate the soil.

Pecans were a major food source for Native Americans and the early settlers.  George Washington who admired the majestic trees in Mt. Vernon was one of the first to have pecan trees planted in 1774.  Although those trees are long gone, they generally live to a good old age–80 and sometimes 100.  The oldest such tree on record was reputed to be 160 years old with a tree trunk 13 feet in diameter.  The girth is not surprising for a pecan tree.  The tree is very rich in nutrients–Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc.

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