Submitted to: Agricultural Experiment Station Publication
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/2007
Publication Date: 1/31/2007
Citation: Grauke, L.J. 2007. Pecan Site Evaluations. In: Stein, L.J., McEachern, G.R., editors. Texas Pecan Handbook. Volume 1. College Station, TX: Texas Cooperative Extension/Horticulture. p. 27-35.
Interpretive Summary: The productivity and profitability of an orchard are closely linked to the quality of its site. Most sites have features that limit production if neglected. The challenge of site evaluation is to address those features that can be overcome with management and to recognize those that cannot. This allows for the design of an efficient orchard system and a more accurate prediction of production from that system. Under some conditions, the expense of necessary management cannot be justified using the best estimates of that site's potential productivity. Only the individual making the investment in time and money can determine whether to take the risk. Even the best sites may need extensive preparation prior to the planting of an orchard. Many advantageous cultural practices can be easily performed prior to planting but are difficult afterward. This chapter provides general information useful in the selection and pre-plant preparation of orchard sites. Since the County Soil Survey Reports are valuable sources of detailed information on local soils, they will be used as a point of reference, along with suggestions for obtaining and interpreting them.
Technical Abstract: Guidance is provided to help pecan growers obtain copies of their County Soil Survey Reports and interpret information concerning climatic, topographic and edaphic variables of pecan orchard sites. As media for plant growth, soils must provide anchorage, water, air, and nutrients. Their ability to perform those functions is determined largely by soil physical properties (depth, texture, and structure). This chapter approaches the evaluation of a prospective pecan orchard site with these functions in mind, providing the information necessary to identify optimum and limiting conditions. Suggestions are made for the designation of management areas, and for sampling within those areas to determine pre-plant nutrient amendments.