Pecan kernels fill out their shells during August and September in Central Texas, usually between August 15 and September 15. This is a critical time for the trees to receive DEEP watering, covering an area at least out to the dripline of the tree. Without sufficient rains or irrigation, the kernel does not compress all the packing material tightly to the inside of the shell and some of that packing material adheres to the kernel. Unfortunately, the kernels themselves also suffer, as they will not be filled out as well, and may have air space in the nut “meat”.
We will soon see some nuts coming in to be diagnosed with kernels not filled out, and patches of brown fuzz on the surface of the pecan kernels. This is called “Pecan Fuzz”. The good news is that the pecans are still edible, although not as tasty as a kernel that has had the benefit of late summer rain. (Some do not taste too good at all.) This is a good reminder to save the heavy irrigation for the period that the pecans are filling out the kernels next year, for it is not that uncommon in Central Texas to have a dry August and September!