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Homeowners should be familiar with insect pests and diseases, their life cycles, and their damage. Problems must be identified and proper control methods selected. The situation is often complex because problems vary from one area of Texas to another and from one year to the next. Plant diseases are most severe during periods of frequent rain or dew and mild temperatures. Early-maturing peach varieties are more likely to have brown rot than late-maturing varieties, but late varieties are often damaged more by peach scab. Healthy plants are more able to survive some insect and disease damage than plants already stressed by cultural problems. Optimum tree growth is maintained by following a well-balanced fertility program, selecting adapted disease-resistant varieties, and irrigating and pruning as needed. Clean-up and residue disposal are important in reducing plum curculio, hickory shuckworm, brown rot of peach and pecan scab. Diseased material that is properly composted can be recycled as mulch or organic material.

Pesticide Safety

Mix pesticides in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. Avoid chemical contact with the skin and do not breathe chemical vapors. Apply pesticides at the proper rate. Using less chemical then prescribed may result in poor control, while using more than recommended may result in excessive residue on the fruit or in plant damage. Store chemicals in a secure area away from pets and children. Prepare only the amount required for one application. Properly dispose of any unused, diluted sprays and empty pesticide containers. A number of different sprayers can be used to apply insecticides and fungicides. Compressed air sprayers range in size from 1 to 10 gallons; because of cost and handling ease, most homeowners prefer the 2 1/2- to 3-gallon sizes. Hose-on sprayers are less expensive but require a high volume of water, moderate pressure and a convenient water outlet. Once a sprayer has been used, it is considered a used pesticide container and requires proper handling and storage. Proper cleaning prolongs its life. Do not apply insecticides and fungicides with a sprayer previously used to apply herbicides; this may cause plant damage.

Suggested pesticides are registered and labeled for use by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Department of Agriculture. The status of pesticide label clearances is subject to change, and may have changed since this publication was printed.County Extension agents and appropriate specialists are advised of changes as they occur. The USER always is responsible for the effects of pesticide residues on livestock and crops, as well as for problems that arise from drift or movement of the pesticide from one’s property to that of others.

ALWAYS READ AND CAREFULLY FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE CONTAINER LABEL.

Table. 1 Homeowner’s spray schedule for pecans.

Timing Pest Pesticide Rate/
1 gal.
water1
Remarks
Dormant season (winter)
97% oil emulsion 1/4 – 1/3 pt. Spray tree trunks and branches thoroughly.
Budbreak (just as the buds begin to split and show color) terminal bud growth should be 2 inches long. Nutritional Rosette Zinc Sulfate, WP, zinc nitrate liquid 2 tsps Zinc sprays are essential for early season pecan growth. Early, frequent applications will give the best response. Elemental zinc is toxic to most plants other than pecans and grapes. Don’t use andy zinc product more than instructed to avoid foliage burn. When applying more than once zinc spray in 2 weeks reduce the rate by .5, Never spray young trees that are not actively growing.
Insects
Phylloxera Malathion 2 tsps. If dormant oil was not used, then
50% EC treat trees where a history of
(several phylloxera damage indicates a need
formulations) for control.
Budbreak Diseases
Scab and Benomyl 1/2 – 1 Tbs.
other foliage (Benlate
and nut 50%WP)
diseases or
Thiophanate- 1/2 – 1 Tbs.
methyl (Topsin-
M® 70% WP)
Timing Pest Pesticide Rate/
1 gal.
water1
Remarks
Prepollination (when leaves Nutritional
are one-third grown and Rosette Same as for
before pollen is shed)– budbreak
mid-April
Diseases
Scab and Same as for
other foliage budbreak
and nut
diseases
Insects
Fall webworm Bacillus Refer to Repeat sprays as pest problem recurs.
thuringiensis label.
Walnut (several
caterpillar formulations)
or
Diazinon® 25% Refer to
EC (several label.
formulations)
or
Malathion® 50% 2 tsps.
EC (several
formulations)
or
Carbaryl Refer to
(Sevin® liquid, label.
several
formulations)
Pollination (when case- Nutritional
bearer eggs appear on Rosette Same as for
tips of nutlets)–May budbreak
Insects
Pecan nut Same as for Apply during egg hatch. (Consult your
casebearer prepollination county Extension agent for precise
local timing.)
Diseases
Scab and Same as for
other foliage budbreak
and nut
diseases
Timing Pest Pesticide Rate/
1 gal.
water1
Remarks
Second generation Insects
casebearer (42 days after Pecan nut Same as for
first casebearer spray) casebearer prepollination
Aphids Diazinon® 25% Refer to Treat yellow aphids when an average
EC (several label. of 25 per compound leaf are found
formulations) or when excessive honey dew is
or produced. Repeated use of insecti-
Malathion® 2 tsps. cides can result in strains of aphids
50% EC that are resistant to insecticides.
(several This can result in increased losses.
formulations)
or
Cygon® 2 EC Refer to
label.
Diseases
Scab and Same as for Additional sprays at 10- to 14- day
other foliage budbreak intervals may be required during
and nut extended periods of rainfall or high
diseases humidity.
Diseases
Cover sprays Scab Same as for Number of cover sprays is based
budbreak on weather conditions, variety and
presence of scab fungus. Maintain
spray applications as long as weather
conditions favor disease development.
Water stage (when inside of the nut begins to fill
with liquid)– mid- to late July
Diseases
Scab and other Same as for Treat where there is a history of
foliage and nut budbreak disease or during periods of rainfall
diseases or dew.
Half-shell hardening Insects
–mid- to late August Aphids Same as for Treat yellow aphids when an average
aphids listed of 25 per compound leaf are found
above or when excessive honeydew is
produced and aphid populations persist
Hickory Diazinon® 25% Refer to
shuckworm EC label.
or
Carbaryl Refer to
(Sevin® liquid, label.
several
formulations)
Timing Pest Pesticide Rate/
1 gal.
water1
Remarks
Dormant season Insects
Scale insects 97% dormant 1/4 pt. Apply when temperature is between
oil 40 and 70 degrees F. Use only once.
Apply only if scale are observed.
Late dormant Diseases
Peach leaf Chlorothalonil Refer to Apply if fall applications of copper
curl (several label for fungicide were not made.
formulations) specific rate.
Petal-fall (when flower Insects
petals begin to fall)– Plum Malathion 2 1/2 tsps. Apply when 75 percent of petals
5 days after bloom curculio 50% EC (several have fallen, and there is a history of
formulations) insect damage.
or
Cabaryl Refer to
(Sevin® liquid, label.
several
formulations)
or
Peach twig Diazinon® 25% Refer to The peach twig borer usually is a
borer EC (several label. problem only in the West Cross
formulations) Timbers area.
Lesser peach Endosulfan 2 Tbs. Make two applications approximately
tree borer (Thiodan 9.7% 3 weeks apart. Thoroughly wet tree
EC) limbs with spray.
Timing Pest Pesticide Rate/
1 gal.
water1
Remarks
Half-shell hardening Insects
(continued) Pecan weevil Carbaryl Refer to Treat areas with a history of pecan
(Sevin® liquid, label. weevil infestation.One to three
several treatments at 10- to 14- day intervals
formulations) are needed for heavy weevil
infestations.
Diseases
Scab and other Same as for
foliage and budbreak
nut diseases
Timing Pest Pesticide Rate/
1 gal.
water1
Remarks
Dormant season Insects
Scale insects 97% dormant 1/4 pt. Apply when temperature is between
oil 40 and 70 degrees F. Use only once.
Apply only if scale are observed.
Late dormant Diseases
Peach leaf Chlorothalonil Refer to Apply if fall applications of copper
curl (several label for fungicide were not made.
formulations) specific rate.
Petal-fall (when flower Insects
petals begin to fall)– Plum Malathion 2 1/2 tsps. Apply when 75 percent of petals
5 days after bloom curculio 50% EC (several have fallen, and there is a history of
formulations) insect damage.
or
Cabaryl Refer to
(Sevin® liquid, label.
several
formulations)
or
Peach twig Diazinon® 25% Refer to The peach twig borer usually is a
borer EC (several label. problem only in the West Cross
formulations) Timbers area.
Lesser peach Endosulfan 2 Tbs. Make two applications approximately
tree borer (Thiodan 9.7% 3 weeks apart. Thoroughly wet tree
EC) limbs with spray.
Timing Pest Pesticide Rate/
1 gal.
water1
Remarks
Pre-harvest Insects
(For early-maturing varieties June beetles Carbaryl Refer
and during periods of (Sevin® liquid, to label.
frequent rain or dew–spray several
3 weeks, 2 weeks and 3 formulations)
days prior to picking. For
mid- to late-maturing Diseases
varieties–spray at 2 weeks Brown rot Benomyl 1.5-2.3 Tbs. Do not apply within 3 days of
and at 3 days prior to (Benlate®) harvest.
picking.) 50%DF
or
Thiophanate- 1.5 -2.3 Tbs. Can be applied on day of harvest.
methyl (Topsin Wash all of fruit before eating.
M® 80% WP)
or
Funginex® Refer to Not approved on plums in preharvest
(several label. period.
formulations)
Post harvest–mid-to late Insects
August Peach tree Chlorpyrifos 2 Tbs. Thoroughly wet from base of tree up
borer (Lorsban® to first scaffold limbs.
12.9%)
or
Lindane 1 Tbs.
(Lindane® 20%
EC)
or
Endosulfan 2 Tbs.
(Thiodan® 9.7%
EC)
Diseases
Peach rust Chlorothalonil Refer to Begin applications at first sign of rust
label. in the summer and continue at 2- to
3-week intervals until early October.
Rust is a problem in counties south
of a line from Houston to Hallettsville
and Rio Grande City.
October 15 to December 1 Diseases
Peach leaf Copper Refer to Spray to run-off. Apply during
curl hydroxide label. dormant season.
(several
formulations)
or
Chlorothalonil Refer to
(several label.
formulations)

*Due to variation in the concentration of pesticides in different products, refer to the label for the specific rate per 1 gallon spray solution.

WP = wettable powder
EC = emulsifiable concentrate
DF = dry flowable

Peaches, Plums, Nectarines, and Apricots – Use sulfur fungicides throughout the spray program. Decrease application interval to shortest interval allowed. Shortened intervals are important during the late bloom, shuck split and first cover period and again during the preharvest period. These are periods when fruit diseases are most damaging.

Pecans – Copper sulfate is considered an organic fungicide and some formulations are approved for use on pecans to control pecan scab and other foliage diseases. Copper sulfate is highly toxic to fruit trees such as peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines, and to some ornamental plants. Be careful when using this product around sensitive plants if there is a possibility of drift.

General Considerations – Most plant diseases require that the leaf, fruit or nut remain wet for a certain length of time for infection to occur. The following precautions should be taken to reduce the length of time the plant is wet following dew or rainfall: (1) prune trees to allow sunlight to penetrate the leaf canopy; (2) space trees to allow for air circulation; (3) plant trees in an area that will receive early morning sun and where air circulation will not be blocked by buildings or other plants; and (4) avoid wetting the tree during irrigation.

Select varieties that have natural resistance to the major diseases of your area. Resistance does not mean immunity to infections, but fungicide applications are usually more effective on plants with some resistance.

Diseases Caused By Fungi:

  • Pecan Scab
  • Sticky Shuck
  • Downy Spot
  • Vein Spot
  • Brown Leaf Spot

Insects:

  • Pecan Phylloxera
    • Causes Galls On Leaves, Trigs And Nuts
  • Pecan Nut Casebearer
    • Fees On Nutlets, Or Later In Season, In The Chucks
  • Hickory Shuckworm
    • Tunnels In And Feeds On Shucks
  • Pecan Aphid
    • Honeydew-Producing Insects
  • Walnut Caterpillar
    • Feeds On Leaves, Does Not Produce Web
  • Fall Webworm
    • Caterpillar Encased In A Large Web, Occasionally Encasing Entire Branches
  • Obscure Scale
    • Sucking Insect Found On Trunk And Limbs. Color Much Like That Of The Bark. Difficult To See Except On Close Examination
    • There Are Other Pests That Do Not Occur As Frequently As Those Listed, But Are Usually Controlled By Spray Procedures For The Most Common Pests

Spray Schedule

MID-JANUARY – DORMANT OIL SPRAY for control of obscure scale and phylloxera. Temperature must be 40-70 F.

LATE FEBRUARY – (before buds break) – DORMANT OIL SPRAY for control of phylloxera. Spray all limb surfaces, paying particular attention to the tree trunk. This is where the phylloxera like to overwinter.

MARCH (or when leaves are half-grown, pre-pollination) – Insecticide like X-Ecute (or other suggestions on product information list below). Fungicides like Benelate 50WP or BENOMYL and Zinc Sulphate to feed leaves and control rosette.

LATE APRIL (pre-pollination) – repeat March

MAY (post-pollination when pecan nutlets turn brown and bloom ends) – Repeat March/April applications.

JUNE-SEPTEMBER – Your spray schedule now falls into 15-day cycles (10-day cycle during heavy rain). During periods of rain showers, inspect pecan leaves, nuts and bark for insects, insect egg deposits and indications of fungi.

AUGUST – Regardless of what day your spray application is due, BE SURE to apply insecticide and fungicide along with zinc sulphate on Aug. 15 or as close to this date as possible. This application is necessary to control the hickory shuckworm.

Do not spray any application after pecan shucks splits or during harvest. After harvest, spray schedule may be resumed to control walnut caterpillar, fall webworm and fall foliage diseases. It is important to try to keep your trees disease- and insect-free in order to keep the foliage on the tree as long as possible. Remember, between harvest and normal leaf drop and dormancy, the foliage is manufacturing food for next year’s nut production.

PRODUCT INFORMATION:

DORMANT OIL (97% oil emulsion) – Ready available at most nuseries, garden centers and feed stores.

X-ECUTE (dimethoate) – A liquid insecticide made by Pro Tech. Made specifically for pecan trees. Avoid contact with any other vegetation around pecan tree. Also found at most full-service nurseries, solutions stores and feed stores. Other options for insecticide are Cygon 2 EC, Malathion 50%EC, Green Light Double Dursban 12.6%, and Green Light Neem Oil Concentrate for Fruit and Nut Trees.

ZINC SULPHATE – A unique combination of liquid zinc, nitrogen and other compounds. Significantly increases yield and quality and promotes even maturity. More importantly, controls the disease rosette.

DUTER (Triphenyl Tin Hydroxide) – A fungicide that has been effective in controlling certain diseases which have developed resistance to Benomyl.

BENLATE 50 WP (BENOMYL) – Getting harder to find, but still available at feed stores and solution stores. Other options include Benomyl and Green Light Neem Oil. Effective in controlling certain diseases like leaf spot, leaf curl, kernel rot and scab.

*Please Note: We do not spray anything above 15 ft.