AUSTIN (KXAN) — Meteorologist Kristen Currie spoke with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist Larry Stein about this season’s expected Texas pecan crop. The projections weren’t as optimistic as we’d hope for.

Early season varieties of pecans are ready for harvest, but unfortunately, it’s been a challenging year for growers. Exceptional drought has made it difficult for pecan growers to keep their trees watered, and the excessive summer heat didn’t help.

Pecan growers came into the season at a disadvantage due to the cyclical nature of pecan trees. Typically, pecan trees have an “up” year with a large crop followed by a “down” year with a small crop. Last year, the crop was fairly big, meaning most of the trees exhausted their resources. The following drought and summer heat only further stressed the trees to produce a much smaller crop this year.

Stein said the pecan tree is the only native tree to Texas, primarily found along rivers and creeks. It is estimated there are 100,000 acres of native pecan trees in our state. Ideal growing conditions include deep soil (approximately 23 feet of soil), 1 inch of water a week and cool temperatures. Pecan trees are also sun-loving crops.

Fun fact: the pecan was declared Texas’ state tree in 1919.