Pecan trees have long been a garden staple across much of the southern United States. While many growers plant these trees as a way to expand their gardens and begin harvesting various types of nuts at home, mature pecan trees are able to withstand even the harshest conditions. Though hardy, not all pecan trees are created equal, as many varieties demonstrate differing degrees of stressors. Maintaining healthy pecan trees is the key to years of successful nut harvests.
One of the most common factors of poor nut production in pecan trees is the result of stressed trees. Pecan trees which become stressed are much more susceptible to many types of fungal disease, as well as increased insect pressure. These stressors not only impact the growth of the tree, but may also cause the quantity and quality of the pecan harvest to suffer. Events such as cold temperatures, high humidity, and even drought are all responsible for the potential loss of pecan harvests. Pecan nematospora is another issue.
What is Nematospora of Pecans?
While many fungal infections may affect the growth of the tree, others such as pecan kernel discoloration will directly impact the quality of the pecan kernels. This fungal infection is caused by the fungal pathogen called nematospora. Most often, the fungus in pecan trees is caused by the damage done by stink bugs.
The most obvious sign of this disease occurs at harvest time. Infected pecan kernels will show distinct blotches of darkening and, in some cases, completely brown pecan kernels. The darkened color most often varies greatly throughout the harvest.
Controlling Nematospora of Pecans
While pecan nemotaspora is difficult to recognize and diagnose throughout the growing season, there are some steps in which gardeners are able to take to help reduce the chances of infection. Above all, proper home orchard maintenance is key. This includes routine sanitation and removal dead or diseased plant materials.
The removal of these materials will discourage the presence of stink bugs, as well as remove any previously infected plant matter. Adherence to a frequent irrigation program will also help to prevent plant stress and result in overall healthier pecan trees.