As I am writing this in April, most pecan shoots around the western pecan production regions are expanding their leaves as flowering begins. Soon, now in May, the tiny promiscuous flowers will emerge and become receptive to the pollen floating in the wind.
I have always been interested in how male and female flowers form on the same pecan tree—the placement of the male flowers from the female flowers; the absence of synchronicity between the male and female flowers’ development time and maturity. The differences between cultivars also interest me—the various shapes, sizes, colors, and characteristics of the flowers. These phenomena all occur very early during the tree’s first development stage (the nut sizing stage). Historically, researchers, horticulturists, and botanists have studied pecan flowers. I cannot say for sure of the dates when focus originated before Darwin’s hypotheses on outcrossing. Still, performing a light search, some we know who have done extensive work in this area are L.J. Grauke, Tommy Thompson, Bruce Wood, Morris Smith, Ray Worley, and George Ray McEachern.
Pecan flowering has been given relatively more attention in the past few decades. There is still vast information to be gained from studying these developments across cultivars and regions. What we do know from research and previous observation and experimentation is:
- The pecan tree is monoecious with a dichogamous flowering habit that exhibits heterodichogamy.
- For maximum pollination, two (or even three to four) types of pecan cultivars should be planted.
- It takes a certain number of pollinators and distance to pollinate others effectively.
- The flowers are wind-pollinated (no bees required).
Click here to be directed to full article in the Pecan South magazine.
Pruning Pecan Beneficial