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Table 1. Yield and quality of 'Zinner' over 15 years (2002-2016).

Cultivar Yield #Nuts/lb. %Kernal Cluster Size 50% shuck split
Zinner 33 48 56% 2.5 Oct. 5
Desirable 25 46 51% 2.3 Oct. 10
Stuart 32 48 46% 2.6 Oct. 9

Figure 1. Individual tree yield of ‘Zinner’ over 15 years (2002-2016).  Each line indicates the yield of a separate tree.

Table 2. Average pest resistance of test cultivars in a sprayed orcahrd 2002-2016.

Cultivar Leaf ScabZ Nut ScabY Nut ScabX Black Aphid DamageW
  Avg. Avg. Worst Avg.
Zinner 1.2 1.1 2.8 2.7
Desirable 2.8 3.4 4.5 1.5
Stuart 1.1 1.1 2.8 2.5
  • z1 = no scab lesions, 2 = a few isolated lesions with restricted growth, 3 = multiple lesions with expanding growth, 4 = stem scab lesions or defoliation.
  • y1 = no scab lesions, 2 = a few lesions with restricted growth, 3 = multiple lesions, 0% to 10% coverage, 4 = 11% to 50% coverage, 5 = 51% to 100% coverage or nut drop. Average damage seen on nuts over the tree.
  • x1 = no scab lesions, 2 = a few lesions with restricted growth, 3 = multiple lesions, 0% to 10% coverage, 4 = 11% to 50% coverage, 5 = 51% to 100% coverage or nut drop. Maximum damage seen on any nut.
  • w1 = no damage, 2 = light chlorotic spotting, 0% to 25% leaves affected, 3 = moderate chlorotic spotting, 26% to 75% chlorotic spotting, 4 = heavy chlorotic spotting, 76% to 100% leaves affected.


Seedling from Baldwin County, Alabama.


'Zinner' was planted in our orchards in 2002 and bore its first crop in 2005. Young trees were very vigorous, but took a little while to come into production.  This is not a precocious variety, but later yields made up for the slower start.  We have tested this cultivar for 15 years now, and are no longer recording yields.  In the last few years this cultivar has become my favorites for overall nut quality and consistency in production.  Yields of ‘Zinner’ were higher than ‘Desirable’ and similar to ‘Stuart’ (Table 1).  The biggest advantage of ‘Zinner’ in terms of nut production is its year to year consistency.   Looking at individual tree yields (Fig. 1) there is very little irregularity to production.  None of these trees were ever crop thinned, and you can’t really see any serious “OFF” years, although there was the normal up and down production you will see in any pecan cultivar.  Cluster size of ‘Zinner’ is 2.5, and this is the number I like to see in a cultivar that will not be crop thinned.  When cluster size is 3 or greater, the cultivar will often load up too much in one year and have a substantial “OFF” year the next.  If you are looking for a cultivar with stable production without crop thinning, then ‘Zinner’, like ‘Desirable’, is going to be one of your better bets.

Quality of the ‘Zinner’ nut is excellent.  Our trees averaged 56% kernel, and the kernel had a very light color that held well in storage.  Nut size in terms of weight was 48 nuts / lb., the same as Stuart, but the nut is physically smaller than ‘Stuart’.  In addition, ‘Zinner’ is less round than ‘Stuart’ and will grade out smaller.  When we physically sized our ‘Zinner’ nuts we saw 33% graded as 14, 49% as 15, and 17% as 16.  In comparison, ‘Stuart’ graded as 12% 14, 37% as 15, and 50% as 16.  The shell is thin, but not so much so that suture split is a problem as in 'Cherryle'.  It was usually pretty easy to shell ‘Zinner’ out into complete halves.

Zinner' has a medium level of scab resistance (Table 2), and I would rate it as similar to cultivars such as 'Caddo' and 'Oconee'. In our sprayed orchard we would usually see some slight scab on ‘Zinner’, but it was never bad or very common.  I would expect with a good spray program scab will be controlled easily.  However, when we trialed it in our no spray orchard, scab was severe, similar to ‘Stuart’, so you should not attempt to grow ‘Zinner’ in high pressure situations or without fungicide applications.  ‘Zinner’ is a preferred cultivar for black aphids.  Like other susceptible cultivars ('Sumner', 'Oconee', 'Caddo') this cultivar will need to be monitored and treated for this pest.

Every cultivar, it seems, must have at least one issue, and ‘Zinner’ is no different.  We have had reports from some locations of ‘Zinner’ shucks not opening, despite a fully filled nut.  We have seen a little of this in our orchards, but it never has been a major issue and yields have been good.  However, in at the Fairhope Station in Alabama they report this being a serious problem.  It seems that the kernel is fully developed, but the shucks don’t open.  Lack of water does not seem to be the issue.  Right now, I think we need to see ‘Zinner’ in more locations to know if this is going to be the exception or the rule.  ‘Zinner’ is being planted more widely and we should know more about the problem in the next few years.

'Zinner' is a type II (protogynous) cultivar, it would be pollinated by 'Caddo', 'Cape Fear', 'Creek', 'Desirable', 'Gafford', 'Mandan', 'Pawnee', and 'Oconee'.  Tree growth is upright, similar to ‘Stuart’, which may facilitate more close spacing in orchard design.  We saw very little limb breakage in ‘Zinner’ trees.

Right now I recommend this cultivar for trial until we know a little more about the shuck opening issue.  Most aspects of this cultivar look very good, stable production, high quality, sufficient scab resistance, especially as a possible replacement for ‘Desirable’.  If this cultivar performs around the state similar to how it has performed in Tifton, I think it has the potential to become very popular.  Several nurseries have small plantings of Zinner and it should be available for planting if you give advance notice.