En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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


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?


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.



More Trees Questions

Landscaping with water garden from Pendleton SC
August 15, 2012 - Searching for native plants in SC. Your results miss some plants listed on your site. I noticed this reading the Mr. Smarty Plants response to "Edible Plants for North GA" We aren't far apart. ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for Phoenix
November 17, 2013 - I need your help. I'm looking for a pretty evergreen tree for my small front yard in Phoenix. One that is not horribly messy and doesn't get wider that 10 - 15 ft. I want to be able to decorate at...
view the full question and answer

Trees for small spaces from San Jose CA
May 09, 2011 - What tree can you plant in a corner of a yard 3ft from a fence? What is the best shade tree for a small yard with a pool?
view the full question and answer

Failure of flameleaf sumacs to produce fruit
January 09, 2013 - Our two flame leaf sumacs produce none to little fruit. Both are about 4 years old, quite large, healthy looking; flowering this year was very good, but no fruit. What keeps them from producing fruit?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a bald cypress from Houston
December 10, 2012 - We would like to transplant a bald cypress from front yard to back. It is about 10 ft tall, 3" trunk diameter, 2-1/2 years old and in good health. Any idea how large the root ball might need to be du...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center