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Bruce W. Wood and Charles C. Reilly

Water stage fruit split (WS) is an erratic and complex problem often causing major crop losses to susceptible pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] cultivars. This study identified two episodes of WS for `Wichita' pecan—a highly susceptible cultivar. The previously recognized precipitation-induced fruit splitting is the major episode; however, a previously unrecognized precipitation-independent, minor episode can also occured before the major episode. This minor episode was associated with the low solar irradiance and high relative humidity—conditions commonly associated with August rains. The crop characteristics of affected trees also influenced WS in that WS increased as crop load per tree increased. Fruits were also more likely to exhibit WS if located within the lower tree canopy. Treatment of foliage with an antitranspirant immediately before split-inducing conditions increased WS. Maintenance of moist soils for ≈2 weeks before WS-inducing conditions substantially reduced WS-related crop losses. These findings help to explain the erratic nature of WS and indicate that maintenance of trees in a well-watered state for ≈2 weeks before the initiation of shell hardening may substantially reduce WS-related crop losses in certain years.

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Bruce W. Wood and Charles C. Reilly

This study reports on sudden death (or decline) of mature and apparently healthy pecan trees [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch]. Observations suggest that death and damage is due to winter cold injury (although the season's low was only -5 °C). The severity of this cold injury-like form of sudden death is closely associated with nut crop load (i.e., grams of kernels per square centimeter of trunk cross-sectional area) and premature defoliation. Both dead and declining trees not only produced relatively heavy crops, but also exhibited substantial premature pest-induced defoliation the previous autumn. The near absence of sugars and starch in roots and shoots of dead or declining trees at budbreak and the relatively high levels in healthy trees indicates that diminished assimilate reserves during the dormant season were the key factor causing death or decline. The diminished assimilate reserves prevented the accumulation of assimilate reserves necessary for maintaining live roots throughout the dormancy and prevented proper cold acclimation of shoot tissues. Distinct symptoms of sudden tree death or decline compared to typical cold damage are: a) a distinct top-to-bottom gradation of tree damage, with an increased proportion of dead shoots and shoots supporting abnormally small foliage being near the base of the canopy; b) dessicated and tan appearance of inner bark and phloem of the main trunk rather than brown coloration so typical of classical cold injury; c) death of roots by time of budbreak; and d) absence of resprouting from the trunk or root collar. These observations indicate that pecan trees can suddenly die due to being overly stressed for assimilates and that economic losses previously attributed to injury by severe winter cold sometimes may be due to depleted assimilate reserves during the dormant season as a result of overcropping and premature defoliation.

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Bruce W. Wood and Charles C. Reilly

Foliar feeding by the black pecan aphid [Melanocallis caryaefoliae (Davis)] can cause tremendous economic losses. Evaluations of black aphids on pecan genotypes indicates that both antixenosis and antibiosis-like resistance mechanisms exists. Tests for antixenosis indicated that aphids possess clear preferences for certain genotypes over others and that this preference can be dependent on a water-soluble chemical component of the leaf surface. Aphids also exhibited a “conditioning preference,” in which they preferentially feed on genotypes from which they originated. Antibiosis tests indicated that pecan genotypes influence the reproductive success of aphids already possessing a feeding adaptation to those same pecan genotypes; therefore, an evaluation of 30 cultivars for antibiosis indicated that populations developed only 20% as fast on `Choctaw' and `Alley' as on `Desirable' and `Success'. No cultivar was observed to essentially prevent aphid reproduction.

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Charles C. Reilly and Bruce W. Wood

Propiconazole, a fungicide, suppressed leaf area of a wide variety of young pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] seedling genotypes but did not reduce leaf area of orchard trees. Leaf area declined linearly as dosage increased from 0.16 to 1.25 mL·L–1. Suppression of leaf area by propiconazole was inversely proportional to leaf age. No reduction of leaf area was detected in orchards where `Cheyenne', `Desirable', and `Pawnee' were treated with three applications (14-day intervals) of fungicide (either propiconazole, fentin hydroxide, or fenbuconazole) from budbreak to early May. Spring application of the three fungicides alone or in combination with zinc sulfate did not influence fruit set. Control of pecan scab [Cladosporium caryigenum (Ell. et Lang) Gottwald] was achieved with either fentin hydroxide or fenbuconazole for the full season, or with early season use of dodine, then propiconazole, and then followed by fentin hydroxide for late-season disease control. Fungicide treatments had no effect on nut weight. These data indicate that fungicides applied to pecan during pollination at commercially recommended dosages and intervals, with or without zinc sulfate, do not adversely influence leaf area or fruit set of orchard trees. Chemical names used: n-dodecylguanidine acetate (dodine); triphenyltin hydroxide (fentin hydroxide); 1-[[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-propyl-1,3-dioxolan-2-yl] methyl]-1H-1,2,4-triazole (propiconazole); α-[2-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]-α-phenyl-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-propanenitrile (fenbuconazole).

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Bruce W. Wood and Charles C. Reilly

Bearing pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] trees overly stressed by crop load and premature autumn defoliation either died or were severely damaged by -3°C in mid-November. Orchard damage was associated with death of tree roots during the dormant season. Exposure of stressed trees to -5°C in mid-March produced an atypical, but distinct, bottom-to-top-of-canopy gradient in bud death and reduced growth of shoots and foliage that was consistent with the pattern of reduced carbohydrate reserves of associated support shoots. Additionally, the foliage of damaged trees contained higher concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, and B. Trees did not exhibit traditional symptoms of cold damage, thus these findings extend cold injury diagnostic criteria to include both root and tree death during the dormant season and also a distinct gradient in shoot death during early spring. Damage by cold appears to be preventable by avoiding excessive tree stress due to overcropping and premature defoliation.

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Bruce W. Wood and Charles C. Reilly

Orchard trees of pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] were subjected to combinations of cultural practices inducing differential physiological states so as to assess the potential for culture-related impact on damage to trees by key arthropod pests. Leaf N concentration, leaf water status, and crop load all affected foliar damage by black pecan aphids [BPA; Melanocallis caryaefoliae (Davis)] and pecan leaf scorch mite [PLSM; Eotetranychus hicoriae (McGregor)], as well as second-flush shoot growth. Damage to first-flush foliage in the late season by BPA generally diminished as leaf water status and leaf N concentration increased, but intensified with a reduction in crop load. Conversely, foliage damage by PLSM increased with elevated leaf water status and N concentration, but was unaffected by crop load. First- and second-order interactions for all combinations of cultural treatments conferring differential physiological states affected damage by pests and induction of second-flush shoot growth. Arthropod-induced defoliation on trees receiving highly favorable cultural practices—those producing high leaf N, high leaf water availability, and low crop load—was greater than on trees receiving minimal or lesser cultural inputs. Thus, cultural practices influencing leaf water status, N status, or crop load potentially act and interact to produce both desirable and undesirable side-effects on damage incurred by certain arthropod pests and therefore merit consideration in efforts to develop improved integrated pest management strategies.

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Bruce W. Wood and Charles C. Reilly

The host-parasite interaction between the black pecan aphid (BPA) [Melanocallis caryaefoliae (Davis)] and pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] was investigated. Three years of field observations of the ability of BPA populations to induce chlorotic blotches, or visual damage, on 32 pecan cultivars revealed considerable variation in cultivar susceptibility to BPA damage. Among the most commonly grown cultivars, `Sioux', `Cape Fear', `Farley', `Cowley', `Grabohls', and `Barton' exhibited the least damage, whereas `Choctaw', `Oconee', and `Sumner' exhibited the greatest, with `Sioux' and `Choctaw' exhibiting the greatest extremes in susceptibility. Subsequent evaluation indicated that the foliage of pecan genotypes can exhibit an antibiotic-like effect, resulting in the suppression of resident BPA populations. However, the relationship between the degree of this antibiotic effect and the degree of damage exhibited by trees, or field tolerance, was negligible (r = -0.10). For example, while `Choctaw' foliage greatly suppressed BPA population growth, this population was able to inflict relatively severe damage to leaves. An evaluation of feeding preference indicated that BPA alate viviparae (winged females) preferentially feed upon host cultivars on which they have been previously feeding. This feeding preference was eliminated by rinsing leaves with distilled water; hence, a water soluble factor(s) appears to be involved in host preference.

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Charles C. Reilly, Michael W. Hotchkiss and Kathryn C. Taylor

Pesticide application in peach (Prunus persica) orchards with a commercial airblast sprayer was compared to that of an air assisted rotary atomizer (AARA), low-volume sprayer during the 2000 through 2003 seasons. The two technologies were employed during early season petal fall applications, shuck split applications and standard cover sprays using phosmet, sulfur, propiconazole, chlorothalonil, azoxystrobin and captan. Ripe fruit, picked 1 day prior to first harvest each season were rated for peach scab (Cladosporium carpophilum), brown rot (Monilinia fructicola), insect (Hemipteran) damage (cat facing), and blemishes. Differences in brown rot, insect damage, and blemish ratings were not detected between the treatments for each of the four seasons. Differences were detected during the 2000 and 2001 seasons for peach scab, with the AARA sprayer plots having a higher incidence. Spray coverage was quantitatively evaluated with Rhodamine B dye by leaf rinses that indicated there was equivalent coverage for each application method. Phosmet residue detection on trees of the treated rows was also equivalent from each method. Phosmet off-target spray movement (drift) was reduced 59% one row away from the treated row and 93% in the fifth row from the treated row by the AARA sprayer compared to airblast sprayer drift.

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Cheng Bai, Charles C. Reilly and Bruce W. Wood

While nickel (Ni) deficiency occurs in certain agricultural crops, little is known regarding the influence of deficiency on metabolic or physiological processes. We studied the influence of Ni deficiency on the reduced-nitrogen (N) composition of early spring xylem sap of pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch]. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of sap composition found the presence of ureido-, amide-, and amino-N substances and that they are quantitatively influenced by tree Ni nutritional status. Ureido-N forms quantitatively dominated amide-N forms with respect to both molar concentration and the forms in which reduced N atoms are present; thus, pecan appears to be predominately a ureide-transporting species. The primary ureido-N substances in sap of Ni-sufficient trees are citrulline ≈ asparagine ≈ xanthine > ureidoglycolate > allantoic acid > allantoin ≈ uric acid ≈ urea. Asparagine is the primary amide-N form, while only traces of amino-N forms (e.g., tryptamine and β-phenylethylamine) are found in xylem sap. Nickel deficiency substantially increased citrulline and allantoic acid in xylem sap while decreasing the asparagine, xanthine, and β-phenylethylamine concentrations. These Ni-linked quantitative shifts in reduced-N forms indicate that Ni nutrition potentially affects intermediates of both the ureide catabolic pathway and the urea cycle as well as the nitrogen/carbon (N/C) economy of the tree. Xylem sap-associated urease-specific activity was also reduced as a consequence of Ni deficiency. These results indicate that Ni deficiency potentially disrupts normal N-cycling via disruption of ureide metabolism.

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Bruce W. Wood, Charles C. Reilly and W. Louis Tedders

Two years of observations on water availability, black aphids and leaf scorch provides evidence of substantial interaction among these factors. Foliage of irrigated trees of `Desirable', `Cheyenne', and `Wichita' cvs. exhibited much less leaf scorch, black aphid damage, free nitrogenous substances, and sugars than did nonirrigated trees.

Water stress appears to predispose foliage in such a way so as to greatly increase the ability of black aphids, and certain fungal pathogens to grow and/or reproduce on/in the affected foliage.

This appears to be associated with the organisms ability to induce biochemical changes that increase levels of free nitrogenous substances and sugars. The level and degree of chlorosis and area of foliar damage by black pecan aphids was much greater on nonirrigated trees.

Two years of observations on the relative resistance of about 50 cultivars resulted in genotype related differences in susceptibility to leaf scorch.