Pecan nuts with a difference


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    …Pecan nut trees will start bearing from around year five when it is also time to start manipulating the tree through correct pruning regimes. Even a young two-year old tree starts to receive basic pruning attention. As the tree ages so the pruning is intensified. Pecans have a long productive life and in the USA there are orchards that are still producing nuts after 300 years!

    Farm Manager Grant Oates, explained that managing the different cultivars in one orchard requires precision management. To the layman, the trees all look alike but to Grant and his team the colour painted on the stem tells them which cultivar it is. This helps when harvesting and making management decisions affecting each tree and cultivar.

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     South Africa is a water-challenged country but fortunately Schurwedraai Farm lies next to the Vaal River and enjoys pumping rights from the river. To ensure they remain within their allotted quota the entire orchard is under micro-jet irrigation. The water is filtered after being drawn from the river and is then fed into underground pipelines to two micro-jets per tree. The micro-jets are strategically placed to ensure the water covers an area of 12m in diameter to meet the spread of both branches and roots and no further.

    Oates explained that two unusual challenges they face are ants getting into the pipelines and porcupines which dig them up…

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