Fertility Management for Pecans

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Pecan trees will respond favorably to fertilization if key nutrients are lacking in the soil. Conversely, fertilizing unnecessarily can be a waste of money in addition to causing possible environmental problems with excess nutrient runoff. The best way to find out exactly what fertilizer your trees may need is to conduct a pecan leaf analysis. For this information to be of value, the sample must be collected in July. The process is a bit tedious but it is essential to follow these steps to get a proper sample:

  • Each variety of trees should be sampled separately. Natives in an area can all be sampled as one unit.
  • Samples should be taken from uniform appearing trees.
  • Collect 100 leaflets for each sample. Select the middle pair of leaflets located on the middle leaf of the current season’s growth. Choose healthy leaflets only.
  • Collect samples from different parts of the tree. Do not sample from suckers or limbs not receiving any sunlight.
  • Do not place the samples in galvanized containers or wear rubber gloves when sampling.
  • Rinse leaflets by dipping in fresh water for one minute. Spread leaflets out (not in direct sunlight) until they are dry enough to crumble.
  • Deliver them to the Payne County Extension Office in a paper bag.

The cost of this service is $18.00 and generally takes about 2 weeks for the results to be received.

For more information of this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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