Monday, February 23, 2015

Pecan Tree

Since the bitter cold of yesterday was suppose to break today and actually climb up into the 20's it was a perfect day to get out to some of the standing dead wood I have earmarked for cutting and burning while the ground was nice and frozen. What I really need is some nice dry wood that flames a bit easier than the dense Oak I been burning and I had the perfect candidates all picked out over at the old homestead.

We actually get a lot of wild Pecan trees around here especially as one gets down closer to the rivers but the two I had picked out happen to have grown up closer to a field edge. Actually they were about 20 yards down over a slight hill but I have other motives for wanting to get into that particular spot anyway and these old Pecan trees gave me the excuse I needed to clear an area to back into.

Pecans are sometimes hard to notice in the Missouri woods as the squirrels keep the nuts pretty picked before the leaves fall and people can see the trees for what they are. The leaves also look a lot like Walnut during the Summer months, also I am pretty sure many of our wild Pecans do not actually bear nuts, I think it has something to do with having a non-related tree near enough for cross pollination.  During the dry periods the Pecan trees that produce will throw out huge amounts of nuts and they tend to break a number of their limbs off from the weight too. That's what happened to the two trees I was cutting today during the drought of 2012 they lost most of their main limbs and never recovered. Pecans around here also seem to have issues with becoming hollow before they get really large. Not sure if that is a regional problem or not.



Another interesting thing that very rarely happens with Pecan trees is when you cut one down and find it is hollow and completely stuffed with nuts. I have seen this happen a time or two over the years where some critter has made a stash in the hollow trunk and never got around to eating it.

The wood burns well however after it has dried for a year or more. It also seems to lose a lot more weight when dried than other trees I cut normally such as Oak and even it's cousin Hickory.  I think technically a Pecan is rated as a hardwood but honestly after allowed to dry a while the wood becomes so light it almost feels like a softer wood.

I have heard that some people will cut and sell Pecan wood for use in smokers but I have never looked into anything like that although it is suppose to be an excellent choice for smoking meats. Other than that I know of no other use the wood was ever put to.

In grid down situation having a bead on a couple of good producing Pecan trees would be invaluable. The nut meat is suppose to be so high in nutritional value that fort he effort harvesting and preparing the nuts pays off better than hunting or even most agriculture endeavors. Pecan nuts are also wonderful tasting too.

Sadly the two trees I cut today died after they lost their limbs. There are also four nice straight Red Cedars that appear to have very thin sapwood that should be perfect for fence post use and a couple of other standing dead trees in there I want to get. First though I needed to get these two Pecans out and a couple of small sized live trees that will need to be removed as well and added to next years supply. For today though I just cut and loaded the Pecans. I will try and wait a few more weeks before cutting the live trees.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!



14 comments:

  1. I have seen pecan trees around here but it isn't something that flourishes to where people plant them for the nuts. You might end up eating more squirrels than nuts by the sound of it. That is probably what will happen with the chinese chestnuts that I have started around the place.

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    1. Sf - Well like the walnuts and hickory around here you can be sure to be able to bag a squirrel or three if you hunt near a Pecan tree.

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  2. At least in my neck of the woods, they are also great water hogs. They probably truly would only work as a reliable food source if you had a reasonable source of irrigation.

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    1. TB - Prolly in some regions I would suspect. I guess that's why I see em more closer to the rivers and in the wet valleys than higher up the hills.

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  3. We have one pecan tree here on the estate, and the squirrles pretty much rape it every fall. Our neighbor did bring down a nice load of dried pecan wood to use in our smoker...We did a boston butt with it a couple of weeks back, and oh boy! Very good

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    1. JuGM - Ya I have read and heard many times how great the wood is for smoking. Right now I am only worried about smoking myself though :)

      The squirrels really do go nuts over them :)

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  4. They call the wild pecan trees in my neck of the woods ... volunteers. We have 2 or 3 along the fence line that produce almost every year. And, I happen to love pecans. That actually reminds me that I have a bag full that need to be cracked & shelled. Ugg, not my favorite job.But they do keep very well in the freezer.

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    1. DFW - I am not sure we have enough of them to have volunteers per se but we do get some growing wild as I said. Not sure if the ones we have growing wild are the same as the professionally planted varieties though.

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  5. I looked at planting a couple of those here but I need to find a supplier before I can (well one that is cheap enough. Trouble is we have hundreds of squirrels so I'd need to take care of them first! I never have a hazel nut either! Really informative post though - thanks.

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    1. Kev - LOL ya and if I remember right at least the squirrels on the continent over there were usually much larger than the tree rats we get here. They would prolly eat more :)

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    2. I thought that what we had was all from America anyway as they killed most of our native squirrels through competition. I sometimes feel like tring to bargain with them, saying "if we wait until they're ripe we'll share them." but every year they steal the lot!

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  6. saw a documentary about old estates in England.
    said the very old trees have nothing inside but it makes them stronger.

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    1. Deborah - Interesting. Most of the ones I end up cutting are always hollow. Many of them blow over because of that but maybe the ones in England are a different variety or don't get the winds like we do here.

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  7. Just finished having a few out of the freezer. :) We have seven very old trees and they seldom don't produce well.

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