Question of the Week Number 2: November 22, 2018

There was a time when you could scoop up pecan hulls for the taking, but that time is long gone. They’re now sold in bags or in bulk by the truckload.

Do pecan hulls make good mulch?

Yes. Outstanding. They look terrific, plus they lay flat. I would rank them as among the prettiest of all garden mulches I know.

Don’t rototill them into the soil, however, or they’ll end up tying up nitrogen. Your plants will develop pale foliage and will grow lethargically.

After a year on top of the ground as a mulch, however, they will have broken down enough that that won’t be a concern. If you have a good source of the hulls, give them a try.

Continued Below


I promised you a funny story…
Many years ago, while we were still living in Farmers Branch and I was still working for the Extension Service, I had an every-Friday TV appearance at 5 P.M. with KXAS NBC-TV in Fort Worth. (I believe it was still WBAP TV.) (Just to drop names, that was with Bobbie Wygant, Chip Moody and Harold Taft! What a treat!)

There was a large pecan company in downtown Fort Worth, and at that time they offered their pecan hulls for the taking. I had a new pickup with a topper cover with a nice Masonite interior. I bought myself a big scoop shovel, and after my TV gig I headed over to gather a load.

I shoveled and shoveled until dark and then some, filling my pickup above its bed and several inches into the topper. Pecan hulls, after all, are very light.

Truck filled, I headed over to Angelo’s for what I still think may be the best barbeque anywhere, and then back to the house.

I was exhausted by the time I got home. I pulled up the very slight hill to our rear-entry garage, hit the showers and passed out for the night.

What I saw the next morning defies description. Eager to start using my newly-found treasure I headed out to the drive. There, to my horror, I saw my truck flat on its rear springs. Dark brown goo was seeping out of the tailgate like ten tons of chaw all over the drive. Have you ever tried to get pecan oil stains out of concrete? That was 45 years ago, and it’s probably still there.

But my fun had only begun. Winter passed. Spring arrived. Weather warmed my topper, and beautiful little mushrooms began to pop out of my Masonite. And pop out they did. For the six years I had that old truck. It was hard to explain when I traded it in.

Oh, and my comment about not mixing pecan hulls into your garden soil because it would tie up nitrogen??? That was a rough lesson personally learned.

However, would I still use pecan hulls as a mulch in my garden? Absolutely, and in a heartbeat. But somebody else is going to have to deliver them.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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