Thriving in the southern United States and in zones with long growing seasons, pecan trees are an excellent choice for home nut production. Requiring a comparatively large amount of space to mature and produce usable harvests, the trees are relatively carefree. However, as with most fruit and nut trees, there are some fungal issues that may affect plantings, like twig dieback of pecan. Awareness of these issues will help to not only manage their symptoms but also encourage better overall tree health.
What is Pecan Twig Dieback Disease?
Twig dieback of pecan trees is caused by a fungus called Botryosphaeria berengeriana. This disease most often occurs in plants that are already stressed or under attack of other pathogens. Environmental factors may also come into play, as trees affected by low moisture and shaded limbs are often more likely to show signs of damage.
Pecan Twig Dieback Symptoms
The most common symptoms of pecans with twig dieback is the presence of black pustules on the extremities of branches. These limbs then experience “dieback” in which the branch no longer produces new growth. In most cases, branch dieback is minimal and usually does not extend further than a few feet (0.5 to 1 m.) from the end of the limb.
How to Treat Pecan Twig Dieback
One of the most important aspects in fighting against twig dieback is ensure that the trees receive proper irrigation and maintenance routines. Reducing stress in pecan trees will help prevent the presence and progression of dieback, as well as contribute to the overall health of the trees. In most cases, twig dieback is a secondary issue that does not require control or chemical management.
If pecan trees have been damaged by an already established fungal infection, it is important to remove any dead branch segments from the pecan trees. Due to the nature of the infection, any wood that has been removed should be destroyed or taken away from other pecan plantings, as not to promote the spread or recurrence of infection.