Pecan Research

------- Ross R. Wolfe, Stephenville, Texas

My observation of the behavior of pecan varieties has been more extensive than my experience with varieties. My observations have covered a period of about seven years over a district between Dallas and Abilene on the north, and Junction to Austin on the south, a scope of territory lying in the heart of the pecan belt of Central Texas. I have gathered data on the comparative yields of budded varieties for the last three years.

Different Pecan Varieties

My place is at Stephenville, 75 miles southwest of Fort Worth. I think the prolificacy and healthfulness of any variety should be the most important factors in selecting varieties. I have not thought that there is any danger of getting varieties too prolific if we select healthy growing trees. I think the more prolific varieties require more care and attention than less prolific varieties. I doubt very much if we will ever make very much money growing pecans of any variety without care. All varieties pay a good reward for care.

We find a wide diversity of opinion on varieties among the growers. The older growers are more at sea on varieties than those just starting in the pecan business. I reserve the right to change my opinion on any statement made in this paper. It is impossible to outline the territory in which a given variety can be profitably grown. The Stuart, on sandy loam soil with red clay subsoil, with living water five feet below the surface, at Richland Springs, San Saba County, is producing very profitable crops. The Stuarts top-worked at Mason in an adjoining county to San Saba are not producing enough nuts to pay for labor and dynamite it would take to get these trees out of the ground.

The Halbert in Brazos Valley, at Glen Rose, is very profitable and I think free from scab. At Stephenville, in the Paluxy Valley; at San Saba, in San Saba River Valley; at Brownwood, in the Bayou bottom, the Halbert is scabbing so badly as to render it almost worthless. It seems Halbert has scabbed more severely on bottom land in this section having black soil. I would be glad to hear the opinion of other growers regarding their experience with this variety.

It looks as though West Texas varieties are to pay from two to five times as much money as Eastern varieties. Stuart seems more susceptible of rosette than other budded varieties growing on well-drained soil with limited moisture conditions. Schley, Success, and Delmas promise to be the better of the Eastern varieties, The Burkett, Halbert, Kincaid, Texas Prolific, Western Schley, San Saba Improved, and Alexander (Lily), look to be the most promising of the Texas sorts. Burkett grows well all over the district.

Texas Prolific and Halbert are being attacked pretty severely in some instances by "gnat ball" or phyloxera galls on the foliage. Halbert, Texas Prolific and Kincaid seem to behave best in our uplands. Halbert and Alexander (Lily) seem to have more natural protection against nut case-bearer than any other varieties we have, due to the fact that the nuts on each cluster are scattered along a long fruit stem.

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