En Español

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

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.


 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Why did my Prairie Flax plant die in Austin, TX?
April 27, 2012 - Hello, We planted 4 prairie flax last fall in garden. They were all growing nicely until last month when I found that one of them has completely dried up and died. The plants are planted together a...
view the full question and answer

Care for California lilacs from Portland OR
January 16, 2014 - Hi There, We live in the Portland Oregon area, so temps are moderate and winters are wet. We have several California Lilacs that are about 7ft in height and have created the perfect screen. Love th...
view the full question and answer

Esperanza with rust spots in Corpus Christi, TX
November 30, 2009 - I have a young esperanza plant and the leaves have what looks like rust spots all over them. What is the cause of this and what can I do for it? My other larger and older esperanza does not have this....
view the full question and answer

Elimination of dirt dauber insects
August 18, 2006 - Hello - I live in the southeast part of Guadalupe Co. in the post oak savanna area. Do you have any suggestions on how to control dirt dauber dirt/mud nests. I know these critters are beneficial, bu...
view the full question and answer

Texas sage losing inner leaves
May 14, 2015 - I have a Texas Sage bush that on the outside is beautiful with green leaves. The inside branches (the middle) of the bush are bare of any leaves. Why?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center