Tropical Storm Hermine moved through South Texas early on Tuesday morning, September 7th. We are very fortunate that the storm passed to the east of the orchard, and the heavy rain and winds did not materialize in either RGO orchard. The original projected path of the storm would have passed right over the Crystal City, Tx area, and the storm could have potentially reeked havoc on the pecan crop. At this time, the trees are already straining under the heavy pecan crop load, and additional weight from the rain, combined with high wind, would have broken many limbs. Once again, we are reminded that there are many risks involved in the production of food, and we certainly can’t control the path of a tropical storm.
These perfect strands of flowers are called catkins. These are the structures that produce the pollen on the pecan tree, and they are the first new growth to appear in the spring. Pecan trees are covered with catkins, and this allows the wind to carry pollen from tree to tree, fertilizing the female flowers. Pecan trees do not depend on bees or other insects to cross pollinate the flowers.
Of course, the recent collapse of so many bee colonies should be a concern to everyone. Our fellow tree nut growers who produce almonds are dependent on bees to carry pollen from tree to tree to produce viable nuts. The flower of the almond tree is self-incompatible, and so it requires a cross pollination that can only be accomplished by bees and other small flying insects.