Researcher: Michael Smith, Regents Professor Emeritus
This projected focused on developed management strategies to combat irregular bearing and elucidated certain fundamental physiological processes associated with irregular bearing.
Developed methodology to thin excessive fruit crops using a tree shaker
Identified the time fruit should be thinned to gain the greatest benefit
Defined fruit thinning goals based on fruit size
Identified the effects of flooding or water saturated soils at various phenological stages of tree development on the current season crop and on return bloom.
Identified pecan rootstocks that imparted greater cold hardiness to the scion cultivar
Elucidated the effect of rootstock on tree yield and production consistency
Compared growth rates of trees on various rootstocks
Demonstrated the feasibility of orchard renewal to replace less desirable cultivars while maintaining production of the existing orchard
Outlined management strategies for young orchards
Developed recommendations for successful orchard establishment including root and top pruning of transplants, irrigation, mulching, pest control, fertility, planting depth, etc.
Identified the negative effects of competing ground cover vegetation on production and production consistency. Also evaluated several pre- and post-applied herbicides for vegetation control in a pecan orchard
Evaluated cultivar performance including cold hardiness, productivity, budbreak and fruit ripening dates, and other important characteristics
Identified a problem with kernel quality of ‘Pawnee’ dubbed “kernel necrosis”
Identified the extent of the malady – encompassing Oklahoma to the west coast with crop loss of ‘Pawnee’ ranging from less than 1% to greater than 50%depending on location and year
Conducted numerous studies to identify the cause of kernel necrosis on ‘Pawnee’ without a positive conclusion
Established the first trickle irrigation trial in Oklahoma