The giddy, grateful feeling following the rain of week before last is finally fleeting, somewhat. Although the dry, rub-board County roads received a long needed maintaining, they are beginning to show some dust trails following the bumpy, bouncy vehicles. At this writing, there seems to be a bit more humid touch in the air, and the forecast for the next couple of days gives us a chance of rain. Hopefully, by the time you get to read this, It will be wet out on the porch. I think that the view off the front porch might well be our best weather forecast in light of recent predictions from Rusty, Waco, ol’ baldy of Austin, & the “Angelo Std. Times”. I’m also reminded that we seem to have made it past the Ides of March with little mishap.
The recent rainfall around our fair valley of the Pecan has allowed us to forego irrigation for a couple of weeks, thus giving the producers more time for normal orchard chores with the advent of Spring, grass & weeds starting to green up, & some of the Pecan trees busting bud. Bud break is the optimum period for the 1st Zinc application that is so vital for new growth of Pecan trees. During the major portion of my Pecan managing & consulting experience, the 1st application of Zinc happened around what we termed the pre-pollination period, about the time the new leaves reached one-half to two-thirds normal length. However, the past 10-12 years, the Horticulturists & A&M specialists have been saying that we should get the 1st application on at bud-break. Not only does it seem a bit early, but they allow that it happens to be the time that the trees get the most receptivity from the Zinc application. One advantage I can clearly see from the earlier application is that it surely won’t take as much spray as there is little to no leaf surface to wet. I prefer to use the liquid Zinc as it is a lot easier to mix and not as likely to burn young tender growth, as is sometimes the case with the WP Zinc Sulfate. The Mayor uses both types of material in his spray mix and has been proven to obtain more absorption by the trees. Newly planted trees should not be sprayed with Zinc until they have obtained at least 6” of new growth. Total coverage of the tree is essential as there is no movement from leaf to leaf in the tree. Therefore, the application of Zinc should be put out by ground equipment, as aerial application does not apply enough material, as well as covering only the tops of the trees. Soil application of Zinc is totally useless out here in the western half of the State as our pH is too high to allow uptake by the tree. There is also different opinions as to using a spreader-sticker when the application contain only Zinc. Suit yourself!
Unfortunately, Pecan trees can stay alive for years without zinc sprays, or at least, semi-productive. This leads some folks to believe that they can get by without spraying Zinc. Dr. Geo. Ray McEachern, Texas A&M, stated flatly, “This is not correct.” Dr. McEachern has long been known for being a bit blunt at times. I will add that Pecan trees do need Zinc applications each year, if you want to keep them in optimum production. He also adds, “there is no carryover of Zinc, no absorption of Zinc from the soil, & there is no translocation of Zinc.” Whether you might use NZN or Zinc Sulfate or both is up to the producer. If you need additional info. on the subject as well as mixing rates, you can go by the label on the material, ask your Ag supplier where you purchase the spray material, or contact the local County Extension office. They also have a copy of a “fact sheet” that is a reprint of an article taken from “Pecan South” relating to the importance of Zinc.
Other than that I imagine that the Mayor & yrs. truly will be getting our sprayers cleaned out, primed, & tuned for the up-coming season out around————Harkeyville!!!!!!!!!!!