Florida Cracker’s recent offer to share his mother’s pineapple nut home made ice cream recipe once my pecan trees start producing nuts jolted me into remembering a troubling bit of advice I received about a year ago.
L and I went on a Farm Tour in nearby rural Kansas. Local farmers, with an eye to increasing sales no doubt, organized a tour of their various boutique farms, complete with maps, activities, products to sell, and plenty of free advice. L especially enjoyed the alpaca farm, where she could pet the adorable South American ruminants, and where we managed to spend nearly a hundred dollars on socks. (They’re great socks!) Among the destinations I was eager to visit was a pecan farm. Being something of a pecan farmer myself — pause for laughter to subside — I wanted to see how it was done.
My, what a fine operation this man had. And boy, did he love to talk. Unfortunately, he wasn’t devoting his garrulousness to only me, but on with the story.
I described to him my plantation, and he remarked that in a couple years, it would be time to begin grafting my trees. Why, he’d sell me the grafts to use. I’d get nut production within five years rather than the 15 to 20 years it would take to get natural production. Tell me more, I said.
It works like this. I simply walk up to a healthy, if young, pecan tree, one I have been laboring over for nearly four years now to keep alive and thriving. Then I cut it off several inches up the trunk. I throw away the leafy top that I have been fondly watching appear each spring. I split the trunk (maybe a half inch in diameter) and graft on the new top he would sell me. And then I hope that the graft takes and the new, blended tree survives.
Well, this may be the kind of thing Wayne or Glenn could do, but AIN’T NO WAY PABLO’S GONNA CUT DOWN HIS PECANS!
The idea is that a cutting from a more mature tree will continue to think it is a more mature tree (despite being rooted to a young tree) and begin bringing out nuts on the mature tree’s timeline. All well and good, but AIN’T NO WAY . . .
If I had an entire plantation of 50 pecan trees thriving, I might take this risk on one or two to see if it worked. But with only 23 trees managing to hang on (according to my last census), I’m not going to do it.
Honestly, I don’t mind if it takes 20 years for the pecans to begin bringing forth nuts. I plan to be around that long. And I don’t even really want the nuts for myself. I planted these trees because the dam builder recommended them, and I always believed the critters would get to the nuts long before I could.
It still makes me shiver when I think about it.