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edible plants around pecan trees?

 
Cal Burns
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Am looking to buy a property in zone 8b that has an acre of pecan trees. Interested in planting perennial edibles around these and cover crops & plants for mulch that would benefit the pecans. Have read where they need a good amount of zinc. Is there something that would naturally help with this need?
I'm thinking of a small scale food forest of sorts, realizing of course that pecan limbs routinely break and would damage plants underneath. Looking for methods where it would encourage the pecan trees, yet also not be so in the way that I can't harvest the pecans effectively. Might have to use a perennial cover crop where I get benefit of beans, and they add nitrogen into the soil and extra layers of mulch.
 
Mark Shepard
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From what I read, it doesn't sound like you're interested in managing a "High production" pecan "Orchard", so you can ignore just about everything that extension and the univeristies might say...

Pecans are in the family juglundacae, the same as walnuts... they are frequently found in association with:

Cherries/plum/peach/apricot
Mulberries
Persimmon
Paw Paw
Raspberries/Blackberries < ESPECIALLY in OK!
Gooseberries/currants in the shade
Grapes
Passionfruit

How you lay this out is totally a personal choice... All of these species are happy with one another...

Gee... If you're in OK, you don't have to worry about a cover crop, you probably have bermuda grass!

good luck!


 
joe choi
Posts: 12
Location: Southeast NC coastal plains
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Howdy Cal.
I'm also in zone 8b but on the east coast in mostly acid sandy soils. I'm trying to locate people to have been practicing permaculture in my region so I can develop a plant list for all the various layers from canopy trees all the way down to ground covers. I want to compile a list that favors the sandy acid soil type that I will be growing in.
 
Cal Burns
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Thanks Mark!
Am in Tx, not Ok. If I did get the property I would be interested in becoming an "organic" farmer, at least recognized by the state as such. Will look into those.
Seeing as it's now not likely we'll get the property, will have to keep looking. In the meantime, will continue to grow some on my existing property and read up.
Joe, my soil is mostly alkaliine. I can PM you a spreadsheet though that I gathered off the Internet that has lists of many perennials with notes. Some would apply to you.
 
Emery Mitchamore
Posts: 3
Location: Leander, TX
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An organic Pecan farmer near Georgetown (contact supplied privately on request), has done a lot of work with Elaine Ingham and has repeatedly told me that Horseherb is a desirable ground cover. If you're near Leander, you should come visit my place and talk food forests.
 
Matt Smith
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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Mark Shepard wrote:Pecans are in the family juglundacae, the same as walnuts...


Interesting... do they possess the same allelopathic influence through their root zone that some walnuts (i.e. Black Walnut) does?
 
Cal Burns
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Thanks Emery. Have been to your place. Lots of great plants. If we get this place I'll give you a holler. Would like to get the contact for the organic pecans expert.

Interested to know also if there are plants that would naturally provide the "zinc" component for pecans that they supposedly need so much of.
 
Alice Kaspar
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I am about 140 miles south of Austin, and we have Horse Herb under the oaks and pecans in the yard. Hubby has 300 young pecan trees, and I'm about to launch a campaign to educate him on permaculture. At this time, he's spraying Round Up under his trees. Ugh.
 
David Goodman
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Location: Zone 9a/8b
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Tithonia Diversifolia will find nutrients and makes a decent chop-and-drop mulch plant.
I'd also add some eleagnus for nitrogen, biomass and food (Autumn olive, silverthorn, goumi berry). They're drought-tolerant and reliable, though probably listed as invasive in your area.

 
Alice Kaspar
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Here's an opportunity for my nagging concerns:

1. How are you going to harvest 300 pecan trees if you have any of those planted under them?

2. Why are so many of the plants recommended for food forests not indigenous?
 
Cal Burns
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Alice Tejas wrote:Here's an opportunity for my nagging concerns:

1. How are you going to harvest 300 pecan trees if you have any of those planted under them?

2. Why are so many of the plants recommended for food forests not indigenous?


1. Good point Alice. These will be less than a third of that number. May focus more on cover crops underneath them that die off a few months before the time for harvest. Haven't found a natural source yet for the zinc that they supposedly need. Some of the edibles mentioned I plan to use elsewhere, such as a elaeagnus as a shrub or a shrub-like plant that produces edibles (the more low maintenance the better, don't want to have to cut back like blackberries, and prefer no showy flowers). Thorns would be good, especially in one area near a fence.
2. That's a good question too. I think lack of education on the part of extension services and universities may be part of the reason, as they focus on annual plants and not useful perennials and people don't do research to find options out there.

 
Guy De Pompignac
Posts: 192
Location: SW of France
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I've read in one issue of Agroforestry News the case of one farm doing Garlic in the pecan orchard, changing the location of garlic each year
 
Cal Burns
Posts: 124
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Garlic? Have got some garlic growing. Why would you need to move it every year I wonder?
By the way, I bought the orchard property so looking to do some of these things. Will likely be after harvest before I plant nitrogen fixing cover crops around the pecans.
 
Chris Abdo
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So this is way after the fact, but I'm new here and I was looking at old forums, from what I've read, onions and other Allium family plants tend to be susceptible to diseases if they are planted in the same soil year after year...that being said, I don't what they would do in a permaculture setting, certainly worth a try!
 
Zach Muller
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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Yeah the topic is old, but pecan trees live to be old so i will continue use the discussion.

The pecan tree that is on my property is fully mature and the roots extend beyond the drip line in some places, allowing for things like berry bushes, peach, and mulberry trees to be planted in the root zone without affecting the area where pecans will be harvested. Retrofitting a pecan orchard for permie poly culture plantings may not be ideal since the tree spacing in an orchard was designed for one thing and it was not polyculture. As long as the planting in the nut area can be mowed, things will work out at harvest time. I have mints, onions, parsley, grasses, dandelions, wild lettuce, nettles, wild flowers and a bunch of other stuff growing in my nut harvest area, I will add more as the summer progresses and mow it all down come pecan time.



 
Michael Bush
Posts: 33
Location: Sacramento
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We are starting an urban farm and teaching center on a 1/2 plot in the middle of the urban core of Sacramento. Our property runs N/S and on the west side we have a section with two large pecans and in between and under are a fig and a loquat tree. It is perfect to start creating a food forest in as everything but the fig is thriving and with some judicious trimming the fig will come back with a vengence.

What I find troubling about the majority of plants listed is some are toxic to handle and the russian olive/eleagnus are invasive species. While i am not overly fussy, we already have to watch nutgrass, crabgrass, and texas privet, I don't want to add another headache!

So, what have people who actually HAVE pecans found works?
 
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