Lots of pecan shells

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)October 12, 2011

This year there's a good crop of shells, even if a lot of the nuts aren't fully formed due to drought. AND I'm doing a lot more baking so am not extending my usual invitation to people to "come and get 'em." So I've got a LOT, probably the equivalent of 2 lawn-size garbage bags, possibly 3 if they are many more yet to fall.

I've already put some in my compost, as per usual, but am becoming concerned about the proportion of shells to the other stuff. Is the juglone gone when the shells are no longer recognizable? Is there a set amount of time for the juglone from pecan shells to dissipate, or does it "depend on...?" Is there a substance known to negate juglone when composting? Should I make a separate pile to be left alone longer than usual?

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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I cannot answer those questions but I can tell you that here people often use pecan shells as mulch and it is quite lovely.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 7:33PM
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Do you ship to VA? :)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 7:34PM
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I don't think pecans have juglone (that's black walnuts)

Shells take a while to compost, so you may have to leave the pile longer than usual. Or pound them up into bits

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 7:37PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks for the replies.

Pecan definitely has juglone, and all sources I've read say it is mostly concentrated in the nuts, although in much lower concentration than in black walnuts. The Juglandaceae family contains 2 important genera: Hickory/Pecan (Carya) and Walnut (Juglans).

Excerpt from http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-021/430-021.html:
Several related trees such as English walnut, hickories and pecan also produce juglone, but in smaller amounts compared to black walnut. Juglone is one of many plant-produced chemicals that can harm other plants in a process known as allelopathy. (Additional common landscape trees with allelopathic properties: sugar maple, tree-of-heaven, hackberries, southern waxmyrtle, American sycamore, cottonwood, black cherry, red oak, black locust, sassafrass, and American elm.)

The shells are definitely in bits from removing the meat. I would just like to know how long it takes for the juglone to dissipate.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:36AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

"hickories"? OH NO, say it ain't so! I have huge hickories that I shred the leaves and nuts from every year and put them on my garden!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 12:51PM
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I had a pick truck load of pecan shell in my garden.
They made a great mulch & rotted to compost.
One side affect was the FIRE ants moved in to farm the nut meat & heat from decaying shells.
But if you are worried then do not plant near roses or tomatoes,peppers & egg plants.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 7:56PM
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In response to rmontcals post:
Do you really need pecan shells shipped?

We are beginning to harvest our pecans and will have loads of shells. We also sell our in-shell pecans for anyone who might be looking for some to purchase.

Still trying to figure out what to do with all the hickory nuts ... anyone have a need for those?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 10:58PM
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billums_ms_7b(Delta MS 8A)

If you grow plants that the slugs like to eat, then put pecan shells around them as mulch. Slugs do not like the jagged edges, apparently.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 9:32AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks for the replies.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 11:51AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Just wanted to offer an update... We ended up building a new pile when the leaves fell (mid-Dec.) that ended up being chopped grass & leaves with about 20% pecan shells, hulls & unripe nuts. This was in a 5-ft.-across baby pool with holes poked in the bottom, filled to about 4 ft. high. As of this week, the pile was only about 3 ft. tall, the bottom few inches is finished compost, but the rest of the pile was surprisingly dry. The pecan shells & hulls are definitely decomposing but still very recognizable.

So I moved this pile to a new spot where it can be an open pile and mixed it with 5 bags of pine needles from a friend's yard, and a 55-gallon drum of starting-to-smell-funky weeds that I've been pulling the past few weeks. I'm going to leave this alone until next spring I think, probably depending on whether or not we get any rain this summer, and repurpose the baby pool yet again, which has given so much for the $10 investment. Actually did use it as a pool for 2 summers, and the past 4 years it has been my "cart" for gathering sticks before mowing. So easy to drag around. Then it hosted the compost pile this winter. Now I want to use it to mix some soil for repotting containers. It's cracked & parts of the edge are gone, but it keeps helping & helping & I keep REusing it.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 10:58AM
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