February is an excellent time to fertilize established, bearing pecan trees. Clemson’s Home and Garden Information Center recommends that the best fertilization is done based on a recent soil test. If you have not completed a soil test, the next best option is to apply four pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each one inch of pecan tree trunk diameter (measured 54 inches above the ground). For instance, if your pecan tree trunk diameter is 8 inches, you should apply (8 x 4 =) 32 pounds of 10-10-10 for that tree. Broadcast the fertilizer on the ground in the tree canopy area.
There are fertilizers made for pecan trees that have zinc added to prevent rosette (indicated by mottled leaves, abnormally small nuts, etc.). Zinc should only be added if a soil test or a leaf tissue analysis (taken in late July) indicates a zinc deficiency. Zinc is an excellent addition for pecan trees when needed, but is somewhat hard on turf grasses. If you plan to use a fertilizer with zinc, the best option is to dig many shallow post holes (about 6 inches deep) along the drip line edge of the tree and distribute the fertilizer evenly between the holes. Fill the holes with the removed soil. This will provide fertilizer with zinc for the tree, and will also prevent possible turf grass injury.
More information on growing pecan planting and fertilization may be found at https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/pecan-planting-fertilization/ .
Bryan Smith, County Coordinator
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