Looking to next year’s pecan-growing season, Kilby believes aphids will be a major insect problem in pecan orchards. He suggests scouting for the pests in May, and scout often, for the yellow pecan aphid and the black pecan aphid. An early aphid buildup is difficult to manage later on.

Evidence of aphids includes honeydew on the leaves and aphid excrement. Once found, Kilby says check the orchard more frequently, especially during the fall months when aphid populations can increase rapidly.

The grower should consider treatment when the black pecan aphid population threshold is two to three insects per leaf, and the yellow pecan aphid threshold climbs to 25-30 per leaf.

Honeydew plugs the stomata opening in the leaf, resulting in the tree’s reduced photosynthetic ability. The end result can be reduced nut fill and quality. The damage is typically worse in the ‘on year.’

Kilby says approved insecticides are effective against these aphids. If the pecans are targeted for export, Kilby says determine which products are acceptable in specific export markets.

Looking at this fall’s pecan harvest, Kilby predicts an average Arizona pecan yield during this production ‘on year’ with about 2,000 pounds per acre of in-shell nuts. Statewide production could total 20 million pounds statewide.

Harvest began in September and should wrap up in February.

Nut quality should be very good in orchards 2,500-4,000 feet in elevation, and good quality pecans in low desert orchards.

Pecans are grown in southern Arizona in Cochise, Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa counties.

cblake@farmpress.com

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