Pecan defoliation

Asked April 24, 2017, 10:30 AM EDT

I have three pecan trees about 10 to 12 feet tall. They put out new growth about two weeks ago. In the past three nights, they have been all but defoliated. The shoots are black along the stem and base and base like some kind of hard shelled black crust, but not alive or moving. This happened to one tree last year. It recovered and put out new leaves. One of these trees is showing signs of putting out it's first nuts and I'd hate to lose them. I sprayed with bt last year and have just done the same this a.m. Don't know what else to do. Thank you,

Dorchester County Maryland

3 Responses

First do not spray unless you have identified the pest or disease and know what you are spraying for. This does not sound like an insect or disease issue. Is it possible that this may be cold damage? Let us know what the temperatures were like. We would like to see photos of the whole tree, around the base of the tree, and affected branches/stems so we can see what you may be dealing with.

Here are the pictures you requested. Notice that there are some lower side branches that seem to be unaffected. When I look very closely at the petiole of the compound leaf it has some tiny black concave legions. At first I thought it was brown scale but the black dots are sunken so I am not sure of the cause. These trees (3) are in a field where several Engish Walnuts are planted and these are Ok. Thanks for your help!

We viewed your photos. It looks like cold damage. The lesions you are referring to may have occurred as damage while in bud. The trees are starting to push new growth. All you can do is monitor the growth this growing season. In general, these trees are marginally hardy here. It is possible you may not get nuts this year.