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?

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
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
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

Leucophyllum Resistant to Verticillium Wilt
March 25, 2015 - I need to know which large shrubs are resistant to verticillium wilt? I believe that a few of our Elaeagnus have succumbed to this disease, but being over 15 years old, I am not positive. I am thinki...
view the full question and answer

Why is my Mountain Laurel in distress?
November 26, 2008 - We have planted our 2nd Texas Mountain Laurel in the same spot (after fresh berm built with sandy loam) and it is not looking good in less than 2 weeks. We have an identical berm on the other end of...
view the full question and answer

Young oak damaged by falling tree from San Diego TX
June 27, 2012 - My neighbor's Palo Blanco tree was struck by lightning and fell over our fence and on to a young oak tree in our yard. We waited a few days to see if the neighbor would offer help, but he never did,...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native St. Augustine lawn from Austin
October 06, 2013 - We have St. Augustine in our front lawn. There are some patches where the grass has entirely died but mixed in with the dead areas are little clumps of living grass. It seems to be spreading througho...
view the full question and answer

Natural lifespan of wild plum trees
May 12, 2008 - We have a small border of Wild Plum Trees in our yard. Every year it seem that one or two of the biggest trees die. Do they have a specific life span? We transplanted the trees/bushes from the panh...
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