By Boone Holladay, County Extension Agent-Horticulture
We would like to spend a minute to congratulate local producers for their State awards this summer at the 2014 Texas Pecan Growers Association Conference & Trade Show in San Marcos, Texas. From Fort Bend County, Ray Mehrens placed 3rd for his Mahan variety. Bennie Hundl of Wharton County placed 2nd place for his Caddo variety and 3rd place with his Prilop variety. Great showing gentle-men!
Our pecan outlook continues to be positive. As late summer rains have brought the moisture needed to finish up the kernel fill, we can see huge pecans loaded in trees throughout the county. Some issues do still lurk in our environment that may cause a dent in production.
We are still getting calls on walnut caterpillar and if folks haven’t been control-ling these insects late in the season, they may lose significant value in their fi-nal product. Foliage is key to producing energy for nut production, and when these insects repeatedly remove foliage, you are losing a bunch of energy. Keep an eye out now for signs of young populations and control as necessary.
Green and brown stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs tend to sneak up at the end of the season and usually after commodity row crops in the region have been harvested. If you have fields of millet, milo, sorghum, etc. in your area, you will definitely want to scout for these pests. They can completely ruin a crop within weeks of harvest. Trap crops such as black-eye peas, millet, or okra can pull them out of trees and make it easy to apply a control product.
Squirrels, y’all! These cute little critters can wipe out a whole crop late on. We are noticing that squirrel populations are still up and overall wild food source is low. You guessed it, now they are all in your pecan trees just working you over all day long. Not just eating nuts, but the bark, too. This late in the season they are up high in the trees and hard to trap. The best option for folks in populated areas (urban/sub-urban) is noise. Air horns, cow bells, etc., anything to startle them and at least get them out of your trees for a while, maybe over to your neighbors!
If you can get all these items in check, you should be ready to send in some pretty nice entries for the 2014 Fort Bend County Pecan Show! The Pecan Show will be held on Saturday, December 6th at the Bud O’Shieles Community Center in Rosenberg. Fort Bend County will also host the East Region competition in conjunction with our county show. This event is free of charge, includes a range of pecan-themed snacks, pecan materials for sale, and a great educational pro-gram. So come out hungry and cheer on our local pecan growers as they compete to move onto State in 2015.
For pecan show flier and rules, please visit https://fortbend.agrilife.org or contact Brandy Rader at (281) 342-3034.