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Mr. Smarty Plants - Hurricane damage to pecan tree

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Wednesday - November 12, 2008

From: Livingston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Hurricane damage to pecan tree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

The recent hurricane twisted the top out of our pecan tree, leaving a couple still attached but down on the ground. Could we cut all of the damage off and just leave the trunk? Would there be a chance it would sprout again.. with any success? The trunk is about 12 inches across where the fork of the twisted limbs is.

ANSWER:

Livingston really got hit hard in Hurricane Ike, and we're sorry to hear about your tree. While Carya illinoinensis (pecan) is a valuable tree, we don't think there is much chance it will resprout. There is a possibility some suckers will come up from the roots, but it would take a long time for one of them to develop into a decent-sized tree. Our webpage on the pecan says, under "Maintenance": "Remove dead growth, prune to maintain strong branching, prevent complete soil dryness. Maintain mulch layer. Fertilize 3 times a year with lawn fertilizer 3:1:2 ratio. Spray, as required, to control insects & disease." It would seem that if you remove dead growth, you no longer have anything to prune for strong branching. Other comments we found about the pecan tree were that it had brittle branches, which you certainly seem to have seen demonstrated, and was susceptible to a number of insects and diseases.

We would suggest you see this article from the Texas Forest Service Hurricane Ike Response and Recovery. Then go to their Home Page where you will find links to, among others, "Landowners." This Home Page lists contact information, including e-mail. We don't know exactly the extent to which they can help you, but it certainly looks like a good place to start.

Frankly, our opinion is that it is not worth trying to get it to resprout. It probably would be better to remove the tree, or stump, as it were, and replace with another tree.


Carya illinoinensis

Carya illinoinensis

Carya illinoinensis

Carya illinoinensis

 

 

 

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