Scorched

Uncovering why leaves die can be a complicated business. Many symptoms are similar, but they can have very different causes. Is the dead tissue a primary or secondary symptom? Are we talking about a disease, insect, nutrient, or even something entirely different? As Dr. Cary Illinois finds out, diagnosing leaf scorch symptoms can sometimes be...

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GM? NO. (But does it matter?)

Sometimes our eyes can betray us. The connection between what we see and what we know is very strong. Each feeds the other – seeing something adds to our catalog of knowledge, whereas having knowledge of something prior to seeing it can sometimes be limiting. An illustration of this occurs in the next case by...

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Case 3: Crowd Control

Most scientists don’t get too personally attached to the plants they work on because sooner or later they will likely be cut down or otherwise destroyed. However, most other humans look at a full grown tree and think, “You want me to do what? Cut it down? Are you crazy?” What’s best is not always...

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Symptoms of Deception

Sometimes the symptoms we see with our eyes do not always provide an obvious link to an answer. And sometimes, what we think we know does not provide the answer because we are limited by our own knowledge. The biological world is a complex environment and often factors interact to bring about a certain result....

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The Pecan Detective Agency

When I was much younger I wanted to be a private detective. I read many of the old detective novels and watched lots of movies, hoping to be just like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Charlie Chan or Inspector Wellman (bonus points if you know the last one). I was intrigued by how the detective was...

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C-hican-ery

While I write this, we are in the midst of an election. Never-ending political ads blur the television screen and radio waves. Ceaseless mud-slinging and overt bashing of opponents is seemingly the only way races are played out in the public these days. It’s enough to make your eyes and ears bleed. Yes, 2014 is...

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The Power of Association

As I write this, the Southeastern Pecan Growers Association annual convention is going on in Biloxi, Mississippi. Unfortunately, I can’t make it but I’m sure it will be a successful event. The opportunity for growers to get together and discuss pecan production practices is always enlightening. The education received is invaluable. Another important aspect is...

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Fire and Pecan Trees

Recently I read about the enormous fires that were burning in Colorado. I’ve visited that area of the state a few times and always found it fascinating. When I was younger I was in Yellowstone National Park when the historic fires burned there. Fire definitely has a way of changing the ecological landscape. It has...

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The Diverse World of Hickory

If you are reading this then I assume you know that pecans (Carya illinoensis) are in the hickory family. Pecans are also the “high point” of the family in terms of economic importance. However, there are several other species that might have some value as well if some time and effort was put into their...

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Rambling on and Pondering Pecan Nuts

As an Extension specialist, I need to be pretty good at observation. I must be able to look at a problem, diagnose it, and file it in my memory for the next opportunity. I also watch people and observe their habits. For example, I listen to what someone talks about, even if it has nothing...

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Know Thine Enemy

In the book, “The Art of War” by Sun-Tzu Wu, a very famous phrase was used – “know thine enemy”. I’m not sure whether this is a direct translation or just paraphrasing (my Chinese translation skills are seriously lacking), but the meaning is that the better one understands an adversary the better chance one has...

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Pecan Graftwood Collection

Have you ever found a native tree that produced great, flavorful nuts every year and wanted to make more of them? Do you have a lot of native pecan trees that produce few or poor nuts and wished you could switch them to another variety? Well, all of that is possible and late winter to...

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