Insect Management in Pecans

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Disease and insects are often the limiting factors in the production of pecans in Florida. The crop requires about 7 months to develop and during that time is subject to attack by a variety of pests. A good disease and insect control program is important, not only in protecting the maturing crop, but it is essential to the production of high yields year after year. Trees, which are prematurely defoliated by insects, mites, and diseases, frequently produce nuts of low quality and set a light crop the following year. Pecan varieties differ in resistance to scab and other diseases. Scab susceptible varieties will require more fungicide sprays than resistant varieties. Check with your county extension director to determine the most suitable varieties for local conditions. Although today's pecan grower is fortunate to have effective fungicides, insecticides, and improved spray equipment available to him, spraying for pest control is not an easy job. It requires attention to many details that on the surface may seem unimportant. Even the best spray program can be improved if the following cultural and sanitary practices are followed:

  1. Provide better air circulation in orchard; mow or disc weeds, and prune low hanging limbs. Keeping the tree row weed-free by use of herbicides is recommended.

  2. Maintain tree vigor by following recommended fertility practices. 

Perhaps the three most important factors in a spray program are timing, coverage and rate

Russell F. Mizell, III
University of Florida, IFAS Extension