By Andy Sherrod, Orchard Manager
I like to use this space to tell you what’s happening in the orchard. After all, that’s the title of this blog. My goal is that you take the information and apply it to your own pecan tree(s). So last month, I emphasized the importance of late summer water and nothing has changed in that regard. If you think you’ve watered enough, go back and water some more unless you received six inches of rain in August like we did, in which case you can stop for a while.
If you have healthy pecans on your trees by September, congratulations! But you’re not done yet. Watch for these three late season pests (four if you live in central or north Texas):
Black Pecan Aphids
This is a common late season insect here a Royalty Pecan Farms, and we are constantly on the lookout for them. Their leaf-feeding causes angular yellow blotches on the leaflets and will defoliate the trees if left untreated.
These guys are tiny and barely noticeable with the naked eye. Their damage causes the leaflets to turn a bronze color along the midrib first then spreading outward. With the aid of a magnifying glass, you can spot them crawling around on the upper side of the leaves. They look like tiny crabs. They, too, can cause defoliation.
There are many species of stink bugs, but they all feed on the soft kernel of the almost-ripe nuts. In some cases, they cause the nut to fall early. If the nuts remain on the tree, the kernel will most likely be damaged enough to make them inedible or unsalable.
Counties along the coast don’t have pecan weevil (nobody knows why), but central and north Texas pecan trees are a prime target for weevil every year. They will most certainly render the nuts inedible.
How to Manage Pests
There are different methods for controlling each of these four pests. For weevil control, precise timing is critical.
An important part of maintaining a sustainable farming system is managing pests as naturally as possible without damaging the land, wildlife, or beneficial insects. We use Integrated Pest Management, which involves a combination of methods that are economical, environmentally sensitive, and safe for our workers.
Visit Pecan ipm PIPE for all the information you need about pecan insect control.