By Clint Thompson
Leaf scorching and dieback on some young pecan trees is common this year with high temperatures, according to Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist. But Wells assures growers the problem can be corrected.
“We see that this time of year pretty much every year; young trees where they’re growing so fast that the root system can’t keep up with what the top is trying to produce. This time of year, it turns off hot and soil temperatures warm up some,” Wells said. “Water demand goes up and those young trees with the root system not fully developed yet have a hard time keeping up. They tend to grow out of it. It’s a scary thing for growers to see. But they do tend to grow out of it fine.
“Anytime you have a tree like that, that’s struggling and you start seeing some shoots dying back and stuff like that, it’s a sign that’s something’s going on in the root system. If you prune back some of that top and bring the top of that tree back more in line with what the root system can support, that usually is a big help to it.”
Wells cautions growers to maintain consistent soil moisture or apply water every other day. The longer irrigation is applied, the deeper the water runs. This allows the root system to develop deeper through the soil profile. This also prevents the soil from getting too hot. Soil temperatures that exceed 95 degrees F inhibit root growth.
In the UGA Extension pecan blog, Wells also said that growers will get more vigor and healthy first-year growth if they plant before March.