How to Identify problems with pecans & pruning grapevines

Master Gardener Rosamarie Maddox asks John White, Doña Ana County Extension Agent, about problems facing her pecans, grapevines, and native shrubs. An unidentified insect found on her pecan tree is identified by John White as a Twice Stabbed Ladybug. This ladybug is a useful insect that often over-winters on the tree and helps takes care of the aphid problems faced by pecans. Pink fuzzy coating on pecan nuts is also brought up. The coating is normal for pecan and contains bitter tannin. Too much of this coating could be caused by nut immaturity or water-stress especially during the critical stage in July/August. A problem facing the Burkett Pecan which has a round shape is that the nut cannot be mechanically processed in halves from its shell. John White suggests that there are different machines that can handle the Burkett Pecan and it may be worthwhile to check with processors in the area, otherwise hand-cracking is the solution. A question brought up was with regards to summer pruning of grapevines to keep them in check as a trimmer plant is easier to net for protection against birds. It is not a problem to cut off runners 8 - 10 feet from the main trunk in summer. Replanting native plants - specifically the deciduous Littleleaf Cordia and the evergreen Chihuahuan Sage is also discussed. Root pruning of the sage is recommended.

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