Average nut quality of test trees 2002-2013.
|Cultivar||Avg. Yield||#Nuts/lb.||%Kernal||Cluster Size||50% Shuck Split|
Average pest resistance of test cultivars in a sprayed orchard 2009-2019.
|Cultivar||Leaf ScabZ||Nut ScabY||Nut ScabX||Black Aphid DamageW|
- z1 = no scab lesions, 2 = a few isolated lesions with restricted growth, 3 = multiple lesions with expanding growth, 4 = stem scab lesions or defoliation.
- y1 = no scab lesions, 2 = a few lesions with restricted growth, 3 = multiple lesions, 0% to 10% coverage, 4 = 11% to 50% coverage, 5 = 51% to 100% coverage or nut drop. Average damage seen on nuts over the tree.
- x1 = no scab lesions, 2 = a few lesions with restricted growth, 3 = multiple lesions, 0% to 10% coverage, 4 = 11% to 50% coverage, 5 = 51% to 100% coverage or nut drop. Maximum damage seen on any nut.
- w1 = no damage, 2 = light chlorotic spotting, 0% to 25% leaves affected, 3 = moderate chlorotic spotting, 26% to 75% chlorotic spotting, 4 = heavy chlorotic spotting, 76% to 100% leaves affected.
‘Avalon’ was the first release of the Tifton-based UGA breeding program. ‘Avalon’ was selected as Ga. 00-7-75 from a cross of ‘Gloria Grande’ x ‘Caddo’. ‘Avalon’ was selected for its high levels of scab resistance, even bearing, and commercially acceptable nut size and quality. ‘Avalon’ is patented by UGA and is being sold by licensed nurseries in the southeastern U.S. More information can be found in the HortScience release paper: ‘Avalon’, a New Pecan Cultivar with High Levels of Resistance to Pecan Scab.
‘Avalon’ was released to give growers a pecan tree that produces commercial size and quality of nuts with excellent scab resistance. I have tested ‘Avalon’ for several years in unsprayed orchards in Tifton and Albany and have only detected scab one time on a single nut cluster. Currently ‘Avalon’ is among the most resistant of cultivars you can plant. We use the term “currently” because the pecan scab fungus is constantly adapting to resistant cultivars, and many once resistant cultivars have become susceptible, so we cannot guarantee resistance will remain this high.
Yields of ‘Avalon’ have been among the best of the cultivars I have tested. As you can see from the chart above, taken from trees at a 40 foot spacing, ‘Avalon’ has the ability to produce large crops and come back with strong bloom the following year. These trees have never been fruit thinned, and with an average cluster size of 2.4, it is doubtful that trees will need crop thinning most years. Nursery-grafted trees planted in a separate test orchard grew quickly and came into production fairly early with much higher yields than ‘Desirable’ planted at the same time. ‘Avalon’ was selected from a cross of ‘Caddo’ and ‘Gloria Grande’, two cultivars that had consistent and good production in our yield tests, and ‘Avalon’ appears to have inherited this good yielding trait.
Nut size and quality of ‘Avalon’ is good, but not exceptional. It average 48 nuts/lb on mature trees, but was closer to 54 nuts/lb on young trees first coming into production. ‘Avalon’ will not size as large as this because it has an oblong nut shape that allows it to fall through the sizer easier than a rounder nut like ‘Stuart’. Like its parent ‘Caddo’, ‘Avalon’ kernels tend to shrink down into solid kernels that shell out well. Color is medium, not quite as light as ‘Desirable’. Quality is consistent, with percent kernel ranging over all years and trees from a minimum of 50.5% to a maximum of 57.8%.
While ‘Avalon’ has excellent scab resistance, black aphids do find it to be a preferred cultivar and will need to be monitored and controlled. I find it to be similar to ‘Caddo’ in its preference by this pest. Leaf break is fairly late in the spring, about 5 days after ‘Desirable’, suggesting it will not have issues with late spring frosts. Harvest is about one week ahead of ‘Desirable’, making it early, but not as early as cultivars like ‘Pawnee’, ‘Byrd’, and ‘Lakota’.
‘Avalon’ is a type II, protogynous, cultivar. Pollen shed and receptivity in ‘Avalon’ is very similar to ‘Elliott’, so cultivars that are a good match for ‘Elliott’ should be a good match for ‘Avalon’. Currently I am especially recommending ‘Whiddon’, ‘Huffman’ and ‘Creek’ as pollinators, although other Type I cultivars will also work. I chose these because they all appear to have good levels of scab resistance and are Type I cultivars. I particularly like ‘Whiddon’ and it would be my first choice as a pollinator because it appears fairly even-bearing like ‘Avalon’ whereas ‘Creek’ will need crop thinning to prevent alternate bearing.
Overall I really like ‘Avalon’, especially for growers in the more scab prone southern Georgia regions. Aside from the excellent scab resistance, this cultivar appears to be a very high-yielding and easy keeping tree.
Click here for a youtube video from the Georgia Pecan Grower’s Association Virtual Field Day showing and discussion ‘Avalon’ and some other cultivars.