Pecan Trees-Zinc Deficiency

Q: I have a twenty-foot-tall ‘Candy’ pecan. There’s a large ‘Stuart’ nearby. Last year the branch tips died back and there were no pecans. They all turned black when small. Does this sound like scab or maybe a zinc deficiency?

A: A deficiency of zinc in the soil and in the leaves can certainly cause tip die-back but scab disease could cause nut drop too. Lack of zinc also causes rosettes of thin twigs at branch tips. Low zinc levels are not always a problem with pecans but you could treat the leaves with zinc sulfate solution now. It would be great to have the soil tested by the University of Georgia ( before you apply anything. It’s hard to find zinc sulfate at local nurseries so you may have to go online. Be sure to spray when the leaves are young: that’s the best time for zinc absorption. You can also apply zinc fertilizer to the soil for a longer term solution.

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