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The Center for Agroforestry


Matching Pecan Cultivars with Soil Zones for Optimum Nut Maturity

Project Team: Ken Hunt, Bill Reid (Kansas State University)


Pecan research at the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, conducted primarily at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC), New Franklin, MO, is another opportunity for the Center to assist Missouri landowners with profitable nut crops. Native pecans grown in Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois (Upper South) tend to have a higher oil content compared to pecans grown in the Southwest and Southeast United States. The higher oil content gives Missouri's pecans a richer, sweeter flavor than Southern pecans, potentially commanding a higher price at grocers, specialty retail vendor or wholesale outlets.

Since 1995, a large collection of pecan cultivars have been planted at HARC to catalog several descriptors, including date of nut maturity, nut size, percent kernel and nut yield. Drawing from collaborative pecan research efforts conducted at Kansas State University and the Pecan Experiment Field in Chetopa, KS, nut tree specialists have developed initial recommendations based on growing season climatic zones of the tri-state region. The recommended climatic zone was chosen for each cultivar based primarily on length of growing season required to mature the nuts, but modified by such variables as relative winter hardiness for each cultivar. This will assist pecan growers in choosing proven cultivars that will provide consistently profitable nut yields. Following is a sample of data from 2005 showing a selection cultivars and appropriate zones for Missouri, Kansas and Illinois, as indicated by the map.

Pecan Tree

Note: Recommendations may change as trees mature and come into full commercial production.

Research Publications:

Reid, W. 2006. A fresh look at native tree spacing. Pecan South 38(12):4-6.

Reid, W. 2005. Be prepared for success. Pecan South 38(9):9-10.

Reid, W. 2005. Blame it on the weather. Pecan South 38(4):4,10.

Reid, W. 2005. Focusing on natives. Pecan South 37(12):4-8.

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