2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
This collaboration seeks to address alternate bearing associated crop losses by evaluating efficacy of two orchard management strategies for improving commercial-scale pecan production. These include increasing fruit-set of pecan trees and reducing crop loss and alternate bearing caused by leaf scorch.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A registered growth regulator (ReTain) is used in a ‘Desirable’ orchard to prevent excessive fruit-drop. Systemic acquired resistance inducers and micronutrients are used in a ‘Cape Fear’ orchard to overcome canopy and yield loss to leaf scorch and scab. The fruit retention study will use 'Desirable' trees sprayed post-pollination to retain fruit that otherwise drop during the June-drop phase of fruit development. Treatments will be untreated and treated (ReTain). The growth regulator is provided at no charge by Valent BioScience, Memphis, TN. Treatments will be replicated a minimum of 6 times, in large block rows, with yield and quality being assessed in the autumn for treatment effects. Return bloom will be assessed the following spring. The second study will evaluate several treatments (SAR inducers, micronutrients, and combinations) applied to single trees, involving about 50 trees. The study might need to be repeated for an additional one or two years.
This research supports inhouse objective 1: Provide improved horticultural tools for stabilizing pecan nut yields in alternate bearing pecan trees and orchards’ of the Pecan Cultivation and Disease Management Project Plan.
Excessive crop loss due to fruit-drop can greatly reduce profitability of certain orchard operations. A commercialized natural growth regulator product, AVG (ReTain), was found in 2010-2012 to possess potential for reducing nut-drop of ‘Desirable’ pecan; thus, potentially increasing yield in ‘Off’ crop-load years. However, it exhibits unreliable performance on most other primary cultivars, so no further testing was done in 2013, due to uncertainty regarding future use of the product by pecan growers. Additional details of research can be found in the report of parent project 6606-21220-009-00D, Pecan Cultivation and Disease Management.