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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Saturday - August 02, 2014

From: Forest Park, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Pecan tree dropping dead leaves
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Eric Beckers

QUESTION:

I have a very old, tall pecan tree in my yard that has been dropping dead leaves for the last three weeks. My back yard looks like it is the Fall season. Do you have any insight on this?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants contacted Eric Beckers of the Texas Forest Service to help answer your question about your pecan tree.  Here is what he said:

"Pecans are often dropping something whether it's dead twigs and limbs or dried up leaves.  If the leaf fall wasn't weather related, the greatest suspect would be the neighborhood population of squirrels.  They seem to remain constantly busy high up in the canopies and can do a fair amount of damage to pecans and other shade trees.  If the leaves are stunted or deformed then there could be an issue with pecan scab which can also damage the nut crop.  Other diseases, like bacterial leaf scorch and downy spot can also cause early defoliation."

You can read about various diseases affecting pecans and how to prevent and treat them from Clemson Cooperative Extension and the Georgia Pecan Information page.

You might also contract the Clayton County Extension Office to learn if there are reports of others about problems with their pecan trees.

 

 

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