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
1 rating

Tuesday - November 02, 2010

From: utopia, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Why are branches falling from my pecan trees?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have tree branches falling that appear to have been cut, not broken,off the tree. Seen most on the pecan trees but had a young red bud die with what appears a clean cut of the trunk approx. 2 feet off the ground. Is this a disease or insect? Can I do something to prevent it?

ANSWER:

From your description, it sounds like your trees have some unwanted guests; twig girdlers. These are a type  of wood boring longhorn beetles that girdle twigs and branches and cause them to fall from the tree. Common hosts of the twig girdler include persimmon, pecan, elm, hickory, oak, honeylocust, hackberry, poplar, linden, redbud, basswood, dogwood and various fruit trees.

This Bulletin from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service describes the biology of the girdlers.

This field guide on Twig Girdlers from Texas AgriLife Extension should also be useful.

This link from Forestry Images illustrates the kind of damage the beetles cause.

Have you examined the ends of the fallen branches? There should be some tell-tale signs if the beetles are the cause.

My suggestion is that you get in touch with the Uvalde County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension, and show them the branches. They should be able to help you with this problem by identifying the culprit and suggesting treatment.

 

More Trees Questions

Effect of unusual wet weather on desert willows
July 23, 2007 - I live in North Central Texas and have 3 beautiful Desert willow trees that are usually in full bloom. I've kept them pruned to form a nice full tree shape but now they are losing leaves and looking ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen trees for California that are non-toxic for dogs
February 19, 2014 - Hi, we live in California, San Bernardino County and would like to know what evergreen trees are safe to plant in our backyard with 2 little dogs being around. I did quite some search online but ever...
view the full question and answer

Wasps on live oaks from Sinton TX
August 20, 2012 - Wasps on my live oak trees. What is attracting them? Does this hurt the tree?
view the full question and answer

Screening Suggestions in Brooklyn, NY
March 08, 2013 - My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
view the full question and answer

Large, fast-growing shade tree for Val Verde County, Texas
April 03, 2016 - What is an overall good shade tree, very large & fast growing, to plant in Central South Texas, Val Verde County region? I am told that virtually nothing but Live Oaks or some other type of Oak will ...
view the full question and answer

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