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Summer Rains Hurt Pecan Crop

6:10 PM, Sep 11, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The excessive rain we saw over the summer was perfect for getting us out of the drought, but it has caused problems for one fall fruit.

No matter how you say the word pecan, the problem is the same for the deciduous tree native to North America.

The showers over the summer is one of the reasons why the pecan trees are losing fruit, littering the ground before harvest time.

"Basically due to the amount of rainfall we received, the Midlands, the Columbia area, and the coastal parts of South Carolina pretty much got the same rainfall from what I have witnessed," said Mark Arena.

Arena is a commercial horticulture agent with Clemson Extension in Berkeley County.

"The rain is the catalyst of the issue, it is a little twofold here, a lot of the trees that homeowners have, the ones we see here in South Carolina are the older varieties," said Arena.

Arena says the older trees have a hard time dealing with some of the newer diseases that have moved into the state over the last decade, a combination that has left a lot of trees empty this year.

According to Arena, "Right now it is too late, for the homeowners and the small pecan orchards."

He said, "The best thing is to keep your trees healthy through proper fertility programs, getting your soil tested, making sure your trees are healthy."

Basic economic supply and demand may cause the price of the fruit to rise, but he says buying local still may be the best option.

Arena said, "I think some of the roadside stands and some of the local markets will probably increase a little, but they are probably the most affordable venue to purchase pecans versus the retail stores."

The pecan is native to North America and it has been harvested commercially since the 1880s.

In 2012, the United States harvested more than 300 million pounds of pecans valued at more than $475 million dollars

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