Gardening With Laurie: It's time to feed, fertilize pecan trees
Feb. 24, 2011 at midnight
Updated Feb. 23, 2011 at 8:24 p.m.
By Laurie Garretson
The recent weather has been ideal for gardening. I suspect the recent run of cold temperatures gave many cabin fever, so let's hope that the really cold weather is behind us and some rain is on its way.
Now is the time to feed pecan trees.
Apply an organic granular fertilizer to the area under the tree and beyond the drip line at the rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
If you feel your trees haven't produced as well for you the past few years or the trees just don't look healthy, here is a feeding schedule suggested by the Dirt Doctor, Howard Garrett:
n Give three feedings a year for the best results. This first feeding for the year is then followed by a feeding again in June and then in September.
n This first feeding includes the granular fertilizer as mentioned plus 80 pounds per 1,000 square feet of some lava or volcanic sand. These will provide energy for the soil and make soil nutrients more available to the tree.
n Also, apply 80 pounds of decomposed granite for every 1,000 square feet, along with 20 pounds each of whole ground cornmeal, dry molasses and zeolite to the 1,000-square-foot area around each tree.
Fruit trees should be sprayed with a liquid, organic fertilizer starting at bud break and can be reapplied every month as needed. Bud break refers to the swelling of the dormant buds that you'll see on the trees branches.
Once the weather warms, sap will again begin to flow in all the above ground tissue of the tree, and the buds begin to swell and grow. Bud break then occurs when the protective scale coating that's on each bud is shed and the tender new growth of a flower bud or leaf are first exposed to air and light.
When fruit trees are dormant, before bud break, is the time to do any pruning on them. When pruning fruit trees, you want to thin the inner limbs to allow for more sunlight on the inner part of the tree. Trim to achieve an open center like the shape of a wine glass.
This is also the time to remove all suckers from the base of fruit trees, citrus and other plants. Then be sure to heavily mulch under the fruit trees to help prevent pest problems.
TIME FOR WASPS, NEMATODES
It won't be long before we'll be putting out beneficial wasps to help control all the pesky worms that attack pecans, oaks, ash, mulberries and many other trees.
Trickogramma wasps are easy to work with and are so much easier than having to mix insecticides and then trying to spray the entire tree.
There is not much time left to apply beneficial nematodes to your yard to help control ticks and thrips. As the weather stays warm, the soil will warm up. The warm soil will then cause the thrips and ticks to migrate out of the soil where the beneficial nematodes could not get to them.
If weeds are a problem in your yard, corn gluten meal will stop any weed seed from growing. I have had lots of good reports on how well the CGM gets rid of all kinds of stickers.
If your lawn grass is dormant and you have existing lawn weeds, you can kill them with a strong vinegar and orange oil solution.
Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.