SIKESTON -- If pecan tree growers want to avoid having bitter-tasting pecans this fall, now is the time to act.
"If you have not watered your pecan trees and have access to water, this is the time of year to water," said Anthony Ohmes, regional agronomy specialist for University of Missouri Extension's Mississippi County office in Charleston.
Lack of water during this period of time in a pecan's nut development will not only affect kernel fill, but also, shuck opening, fruit drop and next year's crop.
"Along with our row crops struggling for a drink, our trees, especially the ones that produce not only shade but something to eat are struggling as well," Ohmes said.
Pecans transpire, or lose water, at a much more rapid pace when temperatures increase, and the leaves transpire to stay cool, Ohmes said. As a result, a pecan tree needs about 2 inches of water every week.
There are basically two stages of pecan development which require adequate water: nut growth, which is at the end of July, and kernel fill, begins at the end of August.
"Pecan feeder roots are relatively shallow -- top 12 to 24 inches. Therefore, for nut production and quality reasons, pecans can only tolerate a two-week drought during this critical development period," Ohmes said.
Failing to water adequately can impact the pecan's flavor, Ohmes said.
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