Developed Management Strategies To Combat Irregular Bearing

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