Pecan Tree Fertilizing - good or bad for other plants?

Discussion in 'Organic Gardening' started by cherylad, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    My brother is preparing to fertilize the pecan trees. I have one right in the middle of my garden. Although I want the tree to live and produce, I'm concerned about the grass and my flowers and the fertilizing plan.

    The tree in question has a trunk size of at least 10-12 inches and the tree canopy is at least 15-20 foot. It's probably 15 years old and is pretty healthy.
    I don't have anything planted near the trunk but there probably will be something planted under the canopy one day. And there lots of stuff already planted just outside it's canopy.

    Here's some snippets of the info he got from the extension service.

    NITROGEN (ammonium sulfate)
    For mature trees: Apply Nitrogen of 21-0-0 or 33-0-0 for each trunk diameter. Apply on the surface starting 3 to 5 feet from the trunk and extend out a few feet past the tree canopy.

    The nitrogen doesn't concern me as much as the following:

    ZINC
    Frequent zinc sprays for the foliage are essential for rapid tree growth. Recommended: Zinc nitrate and Zinc Sulfate. Can cause leaf burn on other trees especially peaches and other stone fruits. Has minimal hazard to man and animals.

    I told him NOT to do anything to that tree until I found out more about his plan.
    I know absolutely nothing about this and could really use some input.
    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    That info sounds like it would be aimed at a Pecan Grove, not a tree in a home garden. I would think that a nitrogen level that high would cause way more green leaf growth on the other plants in the immediate vicinity than you want and would adversely affect their blooms ...like no or very, very few, blooms but enough leaves to make your own hula skirt.

    Zinc....minimal affect to humans or animals??...what happens if you eat the plants that are in the line of spray, will the Zinc levels accumulate in your body? After hearing of the problems that recently surfaced concerning denture adhesives containing Zinc and the neurological problems it caused from being absorbed by the body....I think that suggestion is worth a lot of investigation and consideration.
    What is the purpose of 'rapid tree growth'? Does the Zinc caused rapid growth also shorten the life of the tree?

    Maybe the suggestion of Zinc also mainly applies to Pecan growers who are hoping to speed along the tree growth to increase nut production to make money.

    Just my thoughts, personally I would do a whole lot more investigating before letting him feed and spray. ;)
     
  3. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    He's been given very strict instructions NOT to put anything in my area... but there's 2 more pecan trees just across the fence. And then there's the other 3 or 4 on the other side of the property.
    It's really got me concerned... not only for my flowers but for all the other trees and vegetation... not to mention the wildlife.
    I think it's time that I talked to my other brother and get his opinion/help.
    I just don't know enough about it to make a stand all by myself.
     
  4. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    Cheryl,
    I called Danny who has a pecan farm near here, and Toni is absolutely right. Those fertilizing instructions are for commercial growers, he says.
    I asked Danny about residential pecan trees, and he said that after the first 6 or 7 years, the trees wouldn't require any special fertilization unless stressed by drought or damage. Danny has been at this for about 40 years, so I trust his judgement. He especially cautioned about the use of zinc on a residential tree. He said, "That's strong stuff, and you ought to be trained to handle it."
     



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  5. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    Thanks Jane for asking a "pro" for me.
    I copied and sent your message to BOTH of my brothers and ASKED him not to use any chemicals around the house until we do much more research.
    I can understand him wanting the trees to produce more... but at what risk? Not on my watch!
     
  6. Coppice

    Coppice In Flower

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    Pecan doesn't make much juglone, but it is mildly allopathic. Meaning it does make growth inhibitors. So I guess what I'm telling you is there will be a year when not much grows underneath your pecan.

    That said as long as you are not utterly desperate to wring the last possible nut from your tree, I might refrain from the zinc and very high nitrogen fertilizer applications.

    If it was my back yard I would just mulch with shredded bark out to the trees drip line every spring.

    Bark mulch will help retain water, and does break down and fertilize slowly.
     
  7. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    Thanks for the responses. There will be NO zinc sprayed on any of the trees. And my brother started fertilizing each one with Nitrogen. I can't recall what the namebrand or "strength" it is right off the top of my head.
    It was funny... Hubby asked him if he was going to fertilize the tree in my part of the yard and he said "I ain't going in there!" :D
    I had to tell him twice that it was okay to fertilize.
    I will add some mulch too.
     
  8. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    Cheryl,
    Glad to see you tamed the dragon (your brother)! If he "ain't goin' in there" your garden should be safe from well-intentioned mistakes.
     
  9. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    New name for Cheryl- Mrs. McPherson dragon tamer! :)

    Jerry
     
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  10. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

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    If you all could have just heard the tone in his voice. PRICELESS! :D
     
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