Sunday, March 9, 2014

Kanza Pecans: WOW!

Kanza on top.  My pride and joy, my "bragging sized" northern pecan on bottom.
The Sage of Chetopa delivered.  A flat-rate USPS box showed up in my garage with about eight pounds of open pollinated Kanza pecans in it.  Mrs ERJ taste tested one.  She told me it was a very good pecan, and her voice was not the polite, "I am humoring my man" voice.

I was just going to plant out a third of these nuts and spread them out over the next three years.  I changed my plan.  I started stratifying three quarters of them.  Many seeds have a biological delay built into them so they do not germinate in the fall only to be obliterated by winter's icy gales.  Stratification is the act of providing the seeds with the cues they need to convince them that they experienced "winter" and that it is now safe for them to germinate.

Another look at those big honkers.  The nuts are shiny because they are soaking in water.

I subscribe to a 24 hour soak, especially for seeds of plants that grow in flood plains or would typically pass through an animal's gut.  Some seeds have growth inhibitors in them that are removed when soaked.  Some growers make a big deal of soaking in nonchlorinated water.  We have well water so that is something I get for free.

Then the seeds require between 60 days and 120 days of damp (as if buried in moist soil by a squirrel), 40 degree F storage.  The Sage of Chetopa advised me to stratify my pecans for 120 days...which would put me into July.

One reason that pecans thrive in extremely hostile growing environments (very continental climate) is that they are very shy about breaking dormancy.  They want lots of degree days before they start to break bud and get on with the business of growing.  They avoid many late frosts that way.

That is a problem with Michigan.  Our climate is moderated by the Great Lakes and we do not accumulate degree days quickly. 

There is some research that seeds that break dormancy more quickly (require less stratification) will also break dormancy earlier in the spring.  That would be a good thing for pecans in Michigan.  So I am going to plant these pecans around June first which will be about 85 days of stratification.  Not as much as the 120 days advised by Bill, but hopefully enough to get most of them to germinate.

God willing, I will have a boatload of pecan seedlings to share with my friends.

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