Pecan damage

With primary buds killed by the Easter freeze, secondary buds are taking over. The bad news is that they have a much lower flowering rate.

Wheat and corn weren’t the only commodities slapped around by Mother Nature in the Easter freeze.

The extreme temperatures also did severe damage to area pecan crop prospects, according to Bill Reid, Kansas State University Extension nut crops specialist based in Chetopa.

Like the wheat and corn, pecan trees were also way ahead of schedule when the freeze hit.

And like the wheat and corn, the extent of the damage isn’t yet known.

“We know we’ve lost most all of our primary buds in many cases,” Reid explains. “The secondary buds normally flower at a rate of about 20 percent of what the tree normally would.

“So, we’re probably looking at a loss of at least 80 percent in most cases and a lot of the trees that aren’t managed for nut production may have zero crop just because they haven’t had the same care.”

Reid said the further along the trees were developmentally, the worse the damage was. Unfortunately, the vast majority of area pecan trees had broken bud. He did a survey of 55 native trees and found that only two in that group had not broken bud at the time of the frost.

Typically, pecans will break bud around the eighth of April. This year, however, many had by the last half of March.

Black walnuts, on the other hand, were generally not budded out at the time of the freeze so their nut production shouldn’t be affected.

Reid said that freeze damage was extensive in the pecan-growing regions of Kansas and Missouri. In Oklahoma, damage was severe in an area south of a line from northwestern part of the state to the southeast corner.

The really large acreages of pecan production in Texas, Georgia and New Mexico were not affected, however.


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