Profitability of mechanical fruit thinning of 'cape fear' and 'sumner' pecans
Carlson, D. S.
Edwards, R. P.
Wells, M. L.
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A research demonstration on mechanical fruit thinning was conducted on August 1, 2007, in a commercial orchard of ‘Cape Fear’ and ‘Sumner’ pecan trees. Treatments were replicated five times in a randomized-complete block design. Five trees of each variety were fruit thinned by mechanically shaking the trees for 8 seconds to remove approximately 30% to 40 % of the fruit on each tree. The initial crop load for all trees was excessive in 2007 with 85% or more of the terminals bearing fruit on each tree at the time of thinning. The effects of mechanical fruit thinning on pecan yield, nut quality, and profitability were assessed in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, there were slight differences in yield, nut quality, and crop value among the thinned versus non-thinned trees in the trial. In 2008, there were significant differences in yield and crop value, and no significant differences in nut quality. The fruit thinning proved to be effective in encouraging a return crop in both varieties compared. A two-year average of the yield and crop value showed a significant increase in the fruit thinned trees as compared to the non-thinned trees.