Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Sunday - October 11, 2009

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Transplants, Trees
Title: Failure to thrive of pecan trees in Las Vegas NV
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

In April this year I purchased two 8-foot tall pecan trees in 3-foot square boxes from a local nursery and planted them here in Southern Nevada. I'm sure I dug a large enough hole to provide plenty of room for roots to spread. The soil is somewhat alkaline. I mixed some root stimulant and organic compost into the soil at planting. Through the hot summer, I've gone to great effort to assure the trees were frequently and deeply watered and I used drain pipe buried around the trees to be sure the soil was getting deep saturation. The trees seemed to do very well at first, including many branches of new growth. Unfortunately, as the hot weather set in around June, the leaves started turning brown at the edges until completely brown, dead and brittle, although they did not fall off the tree. The browning of the trees progressed from the top downward. The upper branches also appear to be dead or dying. One of the larger branches broke off in a recent wind storm, showing both brittleness and a sort of dry rot with tinges of powder at the break. There also appears to be some cankers with reddish brown dust in the bark on the main trunk. Now in October, one tree has only some sprouts of leaves at the base of the trunk near the ground. It looks like it is certainly a goner and the other may soon follow. I've had pecan trees grow successfully on other properties in Southern Nevada before, so I know it's possible. Any suggestions for my current Pecan tree problems?

ANSWER:

We are so sorry to hear about your trees. Carya illinoinensis (pecan) is not native to Nevada; in fact, the nearest state where it is native is Texas. Here are the Growing Conditions for this tree from our Native Plant Database:

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, moist, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: The sweet, edible nut, makes pecan the best hickory for fruit production. The tree does not bear liberal quantities of fruit in the northern part of its range, but makes an interesting ornamental there. Susceptible to galls, twig girdlers, aphids, borers, weevils, pecan scab, tent caterpillars, and webworms. Slow-growing. Difficult to transplant because of a large taproot.

Some of the things that occur to us from these Growing Conditions are that it is a difficult tree to transplant because of the taproot. Also, it is susceptible to many pests and diseases. There is always the possibility that there were already some problems with the trees that had not become apparent when they were purchased.  It sounds like you did everything you could to protect the trees from the conditions in your area. We are not plant pathologists, and could not begin to diagnose the problem from a distance. We suggest you contact the University of Nevada Extension Office for Clark County. They may, in turn, recommend you have a trained, licensed arborist look at the trees, as do we. If there was pre-existent damage or disease, you might be able to get your money back from the retailer where you purchased the trees.

 

 

More Transplants Questions

Moving Century plants in Norwalk CA
September 15, 2009 - I have two large Century plants that are each 10 1/2 years old. One is 4'x5' tall and wide with about 8-10 small shoots. The smaller in about 3 1/2'x 5' with about 6 shoots. They've grown too l...
view the full question and answer

Planting Mountain Laurel grown from seeds in Argentina
April 09, 2014 - Hello, I was transferred to Cordoba, Argentina 2 years ago from San Antonio, the climate hereis similar to S. TX, anyway I brought some mountain laurel seeds with me and they have been in 2 gallon pot...
view the full question and answer

B1 for transplant shock in non-native bamboo?
January 24, 2009 - I am wondering about the details as I wish to transplant some bamboo. I do not know the actual variety, as I have at least 2 types, but will take a cutting to a high end nursery.Some of this is about ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming prairie coneflower for lower height when blooming in Hampshire IL
August 16, 2009 - Can the prairie coneflower, Ratibida Columnifera, be cut by half or some amount before setting flower buds to force the plant to bloom at a shorter height? If not, when is the best time to dig and tra...
view the full question and answer

Rescue of roadside plants in Ashe Co.
October 27, 2011 - I live in a wooded area off of a dirt road that is going to be widened and paved by the state. There are many native plants and shrubs growing on the side of the road in areas that will soon be pavem...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.