GARDENING: Go nuts with pecan treesFloyd is a horticulturist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service. He can be reached at 498-4071 in Ector County or 686-4700 in Midland County or by email at

Although pecan trees prefer riverbanks, they can be tamed to endure the searing West Texas heat and drought, at least for a little while.
In fact, Permian Basin orchards have boasted some of the most productive, disease-free trees in Texas helping to push the state’s national ranking in nut production second only to Georgia’s. To get the best from your tree, you’ll want to apply irrigation, nutrient, and pest control strategies at critical times.
A mature pecan tree can guzzle one to two inches of water per week during the growing season. Make sure it’s high quality. They’ll shed nuts in September if they don’t get enough. During May through August, water deeply but infrequently.
Nutrient availability is essential. Pecans can’t take up zinc from soil. Spray zinc nitrate on the foliage as soon as the buds break and again every seven days until three treatments have been made. Fourth and fifth treatments should follow on fourteen and twenty-one day intervals, respectively, for mature trees. Broadcast nitrogen in June. In years with a heavy crop of pecans, additional applications of nitrogen in July and August are beneficial.
If you plan on keeping the pecan nut casebearer at bay this year order taps now and install them in your trees as soon as they arrive. Start searching for eggs on nutlets within a week of trapping adult moths. The larvae are voracious when they emerge in early to mid-May. Spray with a pesticide labeled for casebearer approximately ten days after finding eggs on about five percent of the nut clusters.
In mid-August, be on the lookout for pecan weevils. Once an adult weevil is spotted, begin treatment on ten day intervals with an approved insecticide. Follow label directions. Certain formulations of the “organic” pesticide spinosad are labeled for control of both pecan weevils and pecan nut casebearers.
For a complete pecan maintenance schedule, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office at 498-4071.