Submitted to: Australian Nutgrower
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2005
Publication Date: 5/30/2005
Citation: Wood, B.W., Stahmann, D. 2005. Australian research shows hedge pruning can reduce alternate bearing in pecans. Australian Nutgrower. 19(1):8-13. Interpretive Summary: Alternate bearing is the economically most important biological problem of pecan producers. Extreme fluctuations in yield greatly reduce potential revenue. Hedge pruning was shown to be a viable horticultural tool for reducing alternate bearing of pecan in commercial farming operations. Use of hedge pruning methods has the potential for greatly enhancing profitability and nut quality at geographic locations possessing high sunlight levels.
Technical Abstract: The diminishing profitability of pecan farming is driving a search for alternate husbandry strategies. Wood and Stahmann demonstrated that mechanical hedge pruning and topping are effective strategies suitable for nearly all cultivars. Trees consistently produced high nut yields while being pruned in ways previously thought incompatible with nut production. Both discrete and continuous canopy pruning strategies produced high nut yields while also reducing alternate bearing. Depending upon cultivar, average annual in-shell nut yields of 2,200 to 3,626 lb/acre (2,465.8 to 4,064.1 kg/ha) were achieved. North-south hedgerows were demonstrated to be more productive than east-west hedgerows. These findings present pecan farmers with an attractive alternative to the conventional husbandry paradigm.