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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Thursday - November 14, 2013

From: Delano, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants, Trees
Title: Can I make my large pecan trees produce larger nuts?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have 2 older large pecan trees about 40' tall but the nuts are very small, only about 1 1/2". What can I do to get larger nuts?

ANSWER:

Carya illinoinensis (Pecan) is a tree native to the Mississippi Valley.  It prefers a deep soil and needs lots of water to produce good nuts.  Perhaps your trees are not situated in an ideal spot for producing large nuts.  However, I believe that your trees are native pecans, which normally produce nuts about the size you mentioned.  Over the years plant breeders have developed pecan varieties with much larger nuts , and these so-called papershell pecans are probably what you were hoping to have.  This description gives you more information about the differences between native and papershell pecan nuts.  In my own opinion and that of many others, the native pecans, though small and hard to crack, have a taste superior to many papershell varieties.

 

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