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
2 ratings

Tuesday - May 05, 2009

From: Cooper, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Ring of small holes around pecan tree branches
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I live outside Cooper, TX and I have a pecan tree about 15 years old, which I just noticed has little round holes (about the size of a pencil) going around the branches. It branches out about 3 feet from the ground and each branch has these holes that are about 5 1/2 to 6 feet off the ground. What are they and how do I treat the tree?


Mr. Smarty Plants looked at the article by George Ray McEachern, Evaluating Pecan Problems, from Texas A&M Horticulture in which there is an extensive list called "A Guide for Evaluating Pecan Problems."  One of the entries on the list—"Perfect Ring or Rings of Small Holes Around the Trunk.....No Problem, Sapsucker Woodpecker"—pretty well fits your problem. Here's a little more information about the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  Not everyone is as sanguine about the sapsucker's work.  The US Forest Service considers the sapsucker a pest and offers some control measures, although they acknowledge that control can be difficult.  Among their suggestons for control are: 1) wrapping the trunk with burlap or some other material; 2) using tree-wound paint on damaged areas; 3) applying a commercial repellent to the tree; 4) spraying the tree with soapy water and 5) discouraging or removing the offending bird.

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Beautyberry Dying Back
August 06, 2015 - I've got an American Beautyberry which I planted in the spring. It's now about 2-3 feet tall and has 3 trunks (or limbs). It's in an area which gets about 5 hours of direct sun per day and I've be...
view the full question and answer

Brush cleaning fluid used under non- native Loropetalum in Roswell GA
September 25, 2010 - My painter cleaned their brushes under one of my Black Diamond Lorpetulum and it is wilting "BAD." Is there anything I can do?
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Tex-ash in Tucson AZ
December 02, 2011 - I planted a mature (15') Tex-Ash about a year ago. Lately more and more leaves seem to be browning and it has never filled out. I am concerned I am going to lose it if I don't get it something befor...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Chinaberry tree from Tucson AZ
September 05, 2013 - I have a 30+ year old Chinaberry tree and this year the branches are much sparser with leaves and there are a lot of small dead branches. Should I fertilize and what should I use? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Disease-resistant squash varieties for Central Texas
February 03, 2008 - Can you give me names of some disease-resistant summer squash varieties available in Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center