When it comes to the pecan industry, no two areas are more different than Brunswick and Seguin. The world's largest pecan replica is located in Brunswick, Missouri, while the second largest is in the city of Seguin in Texas.
The first major factor that determines the success of pecan production is tree size control. Trees that are too close together produce fewer nuts per tree and per acre.
Trees must be spaced 60 to 80 feet apart for optimum yield and quality. Newly planted trees that are overcrowded create an inefficient use of land and equipment and reduce cropping potential.
Pecan trees are large plants capable of 70 or more feet in height and 6 feet in trunk diameter. Their leaves are alternate and odd pinnate with up to 15 leaflets. They are unisexual (i.e., male and female flowers are on the same plant) but they cross pollinate successfully to produce fruit.
Training of a pecan tree is crucial early in its life to form a proper tree framework for future growth. Select a vigorous upright shoot as the main leader and remove adjacent shoots to bring roots and shoots into balance.
Lateral branches should not be allowed to form from this central leader until the tree reaches a height of 5 feet, which helps prevent interference with cultural practices such as herbicide spraying and mechanical harvesting.
Many factors influence the performance of a pecan orchard, including tree age, cultivar, and management program. Some precocious cultivars can bear a crop at a young age; others, such as 'Stuart', require 10 years to reach harvestable maturity.