En Español

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?

Share

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 18, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Trees
Title: Repair of broken branch stump on pecan tree
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, big fan. Recently one of my pecan trees had a large branch break off, about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. The strange part was there was no clear sign of what caused the damage, i.e. no heavy winds or rain that night. With thunder storms forecasted, we went ahead and removed the damaged branches. However, now we are wondering what additional maintenance might be needed. Any advice?

ANSWER:

Carya illinoinensis (pecan) is notorious for its brittle limbs. It is never a good idea to situate houses or other crushable objects of value beneath them. With the copious rainfall in your area (Central Texas) this year, the pecans have put on more lush, heavy growth than normal. Combine that with developing nuts, and some limbs are bound to break -- even in the absence of wind and rain. It is possible there could have been some kind of damage on the limb which also hastened its demise.

If you haven't already done so, you will want to properly prune the broken branch stump back to the limb collar. The use of pruning paint to seal the cut is unnecessary and not advised for pecans. Other than removing dead and diseased limbs, there isn't a lot of other top maintenance that should be done to pecans by homeowners. If in doubt about your tree, contact a local ISA certified arborist for advice and service.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Care of Ecuadorian penco century plant
December 17, 2007 - I was recently given a Penco, Century plant from Ecuador. It doesn't seem to be doing well. Two of the leaves have turned dark, then yellow, and died completely. Five remain, one seems to be dying as...
view the full question and answer

Reason for decline of Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) in Virginia
March 30, 2007 - We have Wax Myrtle bushes in our back yard. They were about 2 feet tall when planted 2 years ago and now are about 7-8 feet tall. The leaves have turned brown and are dropping essentially denuding the...
view the full question and answer

Discouraging Poison Ivy
June 27, 2015 - Is there a fern that discourages poison ivy from growing?
view the full question and answer

Diseased cypress trees in Connecticut
June 09, 2009 - Cypress trees in Connecticut browning on interior. Tips of longer limbs completely brown, single limbs dying one at a time, sap oozing out of mainstem underneath dying limb. I do not see any canker...
view the full question and answer

Decline in willow tree in West Virginia
June 15, 2008 - I planted a willow tree about three years ago and it was progressing just beautifully with full leaves this spring in a nice green color. We staked it back about three weeks so it would grow straight...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center