Nursery trees are usually available from mid-January to the end of March. But it’simportant to pick up trees early and plant them right away. This enables the roots tobecome established before tap growth occurs in late March or early April. This meansbetter survival.If the trees can’t be planted immediately, then heel them in. This requires digging aditch or trench, placing the trees at a 45-degree angle and covering the roots with dampsoil or mulch. Heeling-in prevents drying and cold damage to the small roots.When you plant, dig the holes large enough to accommodate all the roots withoutcrowding. This is usually a hole 24 inches across and 36 inches deep.Make sure you plant the tree at the same depth it grew in the nursery. Planting treestoo deep is a common problem and results in rot and poor root development.Trees planted too deep will blow over in six to 10 years because of poor root support.It’s usually better to plant a little shallow than too deep.Place the tree in the hole at the proper depth, then fill in layers and firm the soilaround the roots. Water the tree thoroughly to settle the soil, and get all the airpockets from around the roots. Leave a mound around the hole to hold water.Don’t place fertilizer in the hole. It will burn the root system.Fertilizer can be used after the tree starts active growth in the spring.When fertilizing, use no more than one pound of 10-10-10 per year of the tree’s age,and spread it in a 25-square-foot area around the tree. Never put fertilizer in theplanting hole.Cut the tree back by one-half to bring the top in balance with the root system. Thisensures good top growth and survival.Watering during the first two years is more important for good line and survival. Pecantrees need at least 10 gallons of water per week.Watering is most important during the growing season, along with weed control. Keep thearea around the tree free from weeds by cultivation, mulching or herbicides. February is the best month to plant pecan trees in Georgia.
University of Georgia Extension’s new peanut agronomist says Georgia’s crop shows potential despite a prolonged drought.“The crop has looked good, up until the last three weeks. We’re dealing with very dry conditions, and we really, really need a rain,” said Scott Monfort, who arrived on the UGA Tifton Campus on Aug. 1. Monfort says this year’s peanut crop is also experiencing insect issues as well, including lesser cornstalk borer and spider mites, which are related to the dry conditions. Despite the weeks of little to no precipitation, chances of a productive peanut season are still good, providing it rains during the last half of the growing season.“Right now the crop looks good and has the potential of yielding very well, maybe just a little bit under that from last year,” Monfort said. “If the rains will come, we can look at a very, very good year.”He estimates 590,000 acres of peanuts are planted this year with about half being irrigated.Monfort’s role as Extension peanut agronomist is to work closely with UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ research agronomist Scott Tubbs to help implement new technology into peanut production statewide. He will also assist Georgia peanut farmers and keep them apprised of the latest developments regarding one of Georgia’s top row crops. “I think this is one of the most important positions, just for the fact this position really works and coordinates with all the other peanut specialists. I will hopefully make the program run more efficiently and try to promote everything that’s being done in peanuts,” Monfort said. “I think it is a very out-front position that is here to promote everything that we do in the university.”Georgia is the country’s leading producer of peanuts. According to UGA’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, the farm gate value generated from Georgia’s 2012 peanut crop was $891.8 million. Joe West, assistant dean on the UGA Tifton Campus, says the Extension peanut agronomist position plays a big role for that success.“The peanut industry is huge here. In Georgia, we produce almost 50 percent of the peanuts that are consumed in the United States,” West said. “There are always challenges in crop production so having scientists who are tuned in to the latest advances is essential. And the Extension peanut agronomist will translate technical data to the growers.”UGA Extension specialists like Monfort transfer highly technical data to farmers who in turn become more effective, more sustainable and more profitable, West said. “Given the nature of the industry here, especially in south Georgia, this is a really critical position, and we’re pleased that Dr. Monfort is here to support the peanut industry,” he said.Monfort replaces longtime UGA Extension peanut agronomist John Beasley who now heads the agronomy department at Auburn University.For more information about Georgia’s peanut crop, go to extension.uga.edu.