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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - September 04, 2012

From: Grand Prairie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Pecan tree dropping limbs in Grand Prairie, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Our 15 year old pecan tree is losing it's limbs. The tree and its leaves look healthy with no signs of bugs or mites, but all the limbs are drooping and breaking off. The tree did have a bumper crop of pecans and the weight of the green pecans may have been a factor. We have lost half of the tree and are wondering if it's a lost cause at this point.

ANSWER:


That sounds like significant limb loss, so before you read the rest of this, you might want to contact some one in the area who is knowledgeable about pecan trees to take a look at your tree and diagnose the problem. Mr Smarty Plants is a fan of Texas Agrilife Extension, and since Grand Prairie is in three counties, it would seem that you have three Extension Offices to choose from; Dallas County, Ellis County, and Tarrant County.

Limb loss can be attributed to several causes including insects, squirrels, and water stress.  An insect culprit is the twig girdler,  whose damage is mostly restricted to twigs and smaller limbs. Squirrels also concentrate mostly on smaller limbs. It sounds as if you are loosing larger limbs which could be a problem of water stress. The drought and the bumper crop of pecans have strained the tree’s water supply which in turn causes the limbs to become dry and brittle.

The links below address these three contingencies.

Aggie-Horticulture

North Carolina State University

Texas Pecan 

This link to Colorada State University give good advice about tree pruning which you will need to do to shape up your tree.


 

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