Location: Fruit and Nut Research
Project Number: 6042-21220-012-00
Start Date: Nov 01, 2013
End Date: Oct 31, 2018
This research aims to provide pecan farmers improved and sustainable crop-load and disease management practices enabling mitigation of alternate (AB) bearing by pecan orchards. The goal of this research project is to provide U.S pecan (Carya illinoinensis) farmers with horticultural and disease management tools and strategies that enable them to mitigate alternate bearing (AB). The industry considers AB to be its most important biological problem. AB is an economically harmful, typically biennial, trait that causes excessive year-to-year fluctuation in nut yield and kernel quality. Many biotic and abiotic factors, and the stresses caused by reproduction, interact with innate reproductive physiology to either induce or increase the amplitude of this cyclical pattern. There are many important knowledge gaps pertaining to the biology and management of AB. This project targets whether fruiting in ‘Off’ (low crop load) years can be increased by appropriate and timely use of cytokinin (CK) and/or ammonium (NH4+) in the previous ‘On’ year to enhance production of female (pistillate) flowers the following year. It also targets whether reducing previous ‘On’ (high crop load) year tree stress caused by fungal diseases, particularly pecan scab (Fusicladium effusum), but also other stressrelated pathogens, can increase subsequent ‘Off’ year flowering. A series of field and laboratory studies over the next five years will address these key knowledge gaps and develop greater understanding and horticultural tools and strategies required for mitigation of AB.