Contact 888.969.8733

Diseases Affecting Palm Trees in California

Palms are often susceptible to a number of fungal infections. Some prominent fungal infections are Fusarium Wilt, Bud rot and Ganoderma Butt Rot.

Arborwell Professional Tree Management's arborist services offer you the most complete prevention, control and wellness to program to protect your palm trees from fungus and infestation.

Fungal spores can remain in the soil for many years, even after the plants have died. Planting new palms in soils where an infection has taken place before makes them susceptible to infection as well.

The most common fungal infection afflicting palms is Fusarium Wilt. Fusarium wilt is caused by a soil fungus Fusarium oxysporum. The fungal spores enter the plants and trees through the roots with water into stems and leaves, and colonize the water-conducting vessels of the plant. Over time this gradually closes up water-connecting tissue with the gummy substance produced. New growth in Fusarium-infected plants is thus, often stunted.

Usually Fusarium infection results in the older, lower fronds turning yellow, wilting and dying followed by the upper leaves. The fronds die rapidly so that eventually only a few surviving fronds form a spike at the top of the tree and finally the entire plant dies. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure and the diseased tree may have to be removed. Make sure your palms get seen to by an expert, before the fungus strikes.]

Another frequently seen palm fungus is Bud rot. It is caused by the fungus Phytophthora palmivora which causes the heart fronds of a palm tree to wilt and die.

The first symptom is discoloration of the spear leaf and wilting/discoloration of the next youngest leaf. If severe, the spear leaf will easily pull from the bud. In palms with a canopy above eye level, this first symptom is often missed. Instead, what is observed is a lack of new leaves being produced, and an open-topped crown. Because the bud is dead, no new leaves emerge. Older leaves remain healthy for months after the bud dies. Tree death can occur soon afterward. California and Mexican palms are the most vulnerable. Bud rot is more prevalent in the summer season. Chemical treatment with fungicides can be effective in the early stages of the disease.]

Ganoderma butt rot is a relatively new and lethal disease, mostly seen in Florida palm trees.

It is caused by the fungus Ganoderma zonatum. The fungus most often invades a palm tree by means of a wound at the base of the tree in the lower 4-5 feet of the trunk. It then begins to rapidly work its way through the tree’s butt (base) area essentially rotting the wood. Once the fungus has worked its way through the centre of the tree to the surface, it forms a basidiocarp (conk), a spongy, whitish mushroom-like growth which grows to form a horizontal shelf-like disc extending out from the bark. A palm cannot be diagnosed with Ganoderma butt rot until the basidiocarp (conk) forms on the trunk, or the internal rotting of the trunk is observed after the palm is cut down.]

Keep an eye on the palms on your property to look out for any symptoms of fungal infection. Call Arborwell today at 888-969-8733 and get the trained arborists at Arborwell Professional Tree Management to initiate a Palm Wellness program for your trees. Our technicians will advise you on the best possible prevention, care and treatment to keep your palms lush and healthy.

Request a Complimentary Tree Assessment