“Looking for the Perfect Pecan”
by Marilyn Odneal, Horticulture Adviser
John Avery, fruit grower adviser at the Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station at Mountain Grove, has been interested in selecting the perfect pecans for the home gardeners and growers he advises. He grafted several northern pecan varieties – the ones that do best in Missouri – in and began planting them in 2003 and has been grafting and adding more varieties ever since. “I decided to work on this ongoing trial so I would have a variety of pecan varieties at the station to show interested folks what they can expect. I now have some reliable on-site information that will be useful to home growers who would like to raise some pecans.”
John grafted and/or planted Peruque, Mandan, Giles, Dooley, Kanza, Lakota, Yates 68, Pawnee, and Posey pecan varieties in his demonstration orchard. With the exception of Lakota, which is new, all varieties are recommended to Missouri.
John explains that, “Pecans have two flowering types – Type I (Protoandrous) and Type 2 (Protogynous).” Pecans are monoecious, bearing separate male and female flowers on a single plant. A Type I protandrous variety, such as Giles, has catkins (male flower) which mature first and release their pollen, followed by the nutlet (female flower) becoming receptive to pollen after pollen shed of the Giles trees is past. A protogynous variety such as Lakota has female flowers which mature and become receptive before the catkins mature and release their pollen.” He advises to “plant at least one cultivar from each group for cross pollination. (For example, you if you plant three Type I varieties, you need to plant at least one Type II to insure adequate pollination for nut production.
“So far,” says Avery, “I like the performance of Giles at Mountain Grove as well as Peruque and Pawnee, all of which are Type I. If you planted these three varieties, you would need to plant at least one Type II – like Mandan, Kanza or Posey, to insure good pollination and nut production.
John also mentions, “The two newer additions to the trial, Mandan (Type I) and Lakota (Type II), have begun to bear nuts and both of them look very promising. I plan to plant these varieties on my own farm.”
If you are interested in grafting your own pecans, check our website for information on John Avery’s upcoming grafting workshop in March. To find out more about the pecan varieties that do best in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois, have a look at the “Pecan Cultivar Review 2002” by William Reid at the Pecan Experiment Field of Kansas State University (not a direct link, but search for Kansas Pecan Cultivar Review and you will find it). For information on planting and care of pecan trees in our area, check out the Missouri Agroforestry in Action Series “Growing Pecans in Missouri” at http://extension.missouri.edu/p/AF1002. Also, learn where to buy and how to use Missouri pecans at the Missouri Northern Pecan Growers website http://www.mopecans.com/
For more information, comments or questions concerning this column, contact Marilyn Odneal via email at MarilynOdneal@missouristate.edu; write to Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station, 9740 Red Spring Road, Mountain Grove, Mo. 65711; or call (417) 547-7500. Visit our Web site at http://mtngrv.missouristate.edu.