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Pecan Limb Breakage during Drought


There's a lot of nuts hanging from the trees these days. Some of them are falling off though, and more than that, there's some limbs breaking off. I guess if the nut falls off, the limbs can break off. People are saying, "What in the world is causing all this."

Well, if you look at your nuts you kind of figure out what's going on with those because you'll see some damage to the shuck. It's called the shuck worm. And some of these nuts are turning powdery white; that's called powdery mildew.

So, what we need to do to control the aphids and some of the insects that are feeding on the pecans at this time of the year is spray with an insecticide such as Zolone or some of those types, and use Abenamil benomyl (product no longer available) with that, a fungicide, to control the powdery mildew.

Now what's causing the limbs to break off?

As you can see, some of these limbs are just breaking right off of the top and what's causing that is drought. That's right, drought. I know you've been watering your grass, but you haven't been watering your tree.

These trees can use as much as one hundred gallons of water a day. So what you need to do is put the sprinkler under the tree and let it run slowly for a long period of time so that your wood won't be quite as brittle. There's really no way to stop it. You can tell that your trees need more water if you'd just look at the leaves. If you look at these leaves, you'll see them scorching on the edges, and that is an indication drought stress. So keep your tree watered, take care of the insects, and you'll only have one type of nut maybe falling out of the tree.

This has been Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.

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