The decision on whether to incorporate new cultivars into an orchard system can be one of the most difficult decisions a grower has to make. There are no perfect pecan cultivars, so the advantages and disadvantages of each must be weighed carefully. When a mistake is made in choosing a new cultivar, the grower will be faced with putting up with below par performance, or starting over and replacing trees. These concerns can lead growers to the conclusion that it is safer to replant with the same cultivars that they have always used rather than risk a costly mistake. However, there is also a certain risk in staying in place as the rest of the industry moves forward. Savvy growers will therefore always be on the lookout for potential new cultivars to improve the production and profitability of their orchards. They will also minimize their risk by only planting a small block or a few rows of any new cultivar to determine its worth in their system.
Pecan cultivar evaluation has been an ongoing research project at the UGA Tifton Campus (Coastal Plain Experiment Station) in Tifton, Georgia. New selections and cultivars are planted out in a replicated orchard and studied for many years. Productivity and quality is determined for each tree of each cultivar every year. After a suitable period of time, this data is compiled and presented to growers to use in determining if any of the cultivars warrant trial in their orchards. Our goal is to sort through the large number of potential new cultivars and weed out those that clearly have major flaws and are not suitable for use. Of those remaining, we present the strengths and weaknesses of each to allow the grower to pick those most likely to match the qualifications that they are looking for in their operation.
All of the recommendations are primarily for commercial pecan orchards where cultivars will receive fungicide and insecticide applications.
For growers looking for cultivars for yard tree plantings or low input applications, please visit our Home and Garden pecan cultivars page.
Older cultivars were tested in the Old and Young Variety Test.
Newer cultivars were tested in the Ponder Variety Test.