The Q&A Archives: Web Worms

Question: What can I spray on my pecan trees to rid them of webworms when they arrive that won't kill off the tree or me when I eat the pecans. Also, can you suggest a fertilizer for pecan trees and White Pine trees? Thanks, sorry to hit you with so many questions at one time but what else is there for a gardener to do during winter except ask questions and order seeds?

Answer: You can spray the organic pesticide Bt (often sold under the trade names Dipel or Thuricide) on the trees. This bacteria kills the webworms (and a lot of other gross critters), but will not harm you, the birds, bees, animals and other insects in the garden. It is very safe. Check local garden centers for Bt. It's widely available. For fertilizing your trees, you can use just about any fertilizer designed for trees. I like the types that are slow release. With the pecan, look for a fertilizer specific to nut trees. Differences from brand to brand are minimal. Remember also that all of your plant life, trees included, benefit from regular additions of organic matter such as compost, leaf mould or composted cow manure. Organic matter helps to gently and naturally feed the plants and improves soil composition. One thing to keep in mind with pecans is the zinc level of your soil. Low zinc levels can stunt the growth of your tree and cause malformed nuts. The only way to tell what type of zinc level you have is with an accurate soil test. Contact your local County Extension Office or Agriculture section of a state university for details. Be sure to mention you are specifically interested in growing pecans when you submit the soil sample.

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