How This Summer’s Hurricanes Impacted Pecan Crops in Texas and Beyond

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Many would argue that it’s hardly Thanksgiving without pecan pie for dessert. But, before you begin making your grocery lists for Thanksgiving, you might want to consider the impact that Hurricane Harvey had on Texas’ pecan crops. How did this summer’s storms affect pecan production in Texas and beyond and how might it change your Thanksgiving meal planning?

Pecan Growers Hit Hard by Harvey


Photo: Pixabay/Joshua_Willson

According to the San Antonio Express-News, early estimates are that about three million of Texas’ typical 50 million pound harvest were lost to Harvey. “It’s not a huge amount of pecan production along the coast, but growers that were affected were hit really hard,” said Blair Krebs, executive director of the Texas Pecan Growers Association. “It’s going to be a tough rehabilitation for them to get those orchards back. They lost trees and all, not just crops.”

Thankfully, New Mexico On-Track For Record Year

Texas pecan

Photo: Pixabay/Separatus

Growers in Georgia, the nation’s largest pecan-producing state, got walloped by Hurricane Irma, losing as much as 35 percent of a harvest that has grown in recent years to more than 90 million pounds. But, New Mexico, which usually ranks just above Texas as the nation’s second-largest producer with about 72 million pounds, is still on track for record production. Despite substantial damages from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, consumers should still be able to find plenty of pecans, even in Texas.

“Texas is so varied, it’s hard to sum up a Texas crop,” said Krebs. “I mean honestly, if one area is hit hard a lot of times other areas still have production.”

The Only Commercially Grown Nut in Texas

Pecan tree

Photo: Pixabay/PublicDomainPictures

According to the Texas State Historical Association, the pecan is the only commercially grown nut in Texas and is native to most of the state’s river valleys. The tree, one of the most widely distributed trees in the state, is native to 152 counties and is grown commercially in some thirty additional counties.

It is also widely used as a dual-purpose yard tree. The size and quality of pecans are influenced by the number of leaves per nut. More leaves are needed for large nuts. Pecan trees begin growing in early spring and continue in early fall; deep, loose, and well-watered soil is conducive to growth. Peccan is Algonquian for “hard-shelled nut.” In 1919 the Thirty-sixth Legislature declared the pecan the state tree, and eight years later the Fortieth Legislature reaffirmed the decision.