This often-fatal palm disease is caused by a fungus (Phytophthora palmivora) that enters the palm through wounds or other openings. The spores can also be washed down into the palm bud by heavy rains. Once infected, palms may die within a short time. Most severe bud rot occurs from spring to fall.
Fertilize with a palm plant food. Remove dead palms as soon as possible to prevent infection of nearby healthy palms. Apply a fungicide labeled for this disease, following label directions.
This disease is caused by a fungus (Gliocladium vermoeseni) that infects parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) and some other palms. The fungus produces large numbers of pink spores on infected leaf bases and in an infected bud area. Air currents carry these spores, which will infect other palms if the leaves are wet. The fungus kills the leaves and may invade the central bud and kill it, too. Gliocladium rot is favored by low temperatures.
Remove any leaves that have symptoms. Avoid getting water on the fronds. Keep plants in warm rooms, and give them adequate light, water, and fertilizer.
This serious palm disease is caused by bacteria-like organisms called phytoplasmas, which are carried from palm to palm by a planthopper (Myndus crudus), a tiny sucking insect related to leafhoppers. Planthoppers feed on fronds, especially the newly emerging ones, and are difficult to detect and control. Coconut palms and many other palms are susceptible.
Planthoppers are difficult to detect and control. Lethal yellowing cannot be cured. Avoid planting susceptible palms. Remove infected palms to avoid spreading the disease.
Several species of this common insect feed on palms. Mealybugs damage plants by sucking sap, causing leaf distortion and death. The adult female mealybug may produce live young or may lay eggs in a white, fluffy mass of wax. The immature mealybugs, called nymphs, crawl all over the plant and onto nearby plants. Soon after they begin to feed, they produce white, waxy filaments that cover their bodies, giving them a cottony appearance. As they mature, they become less mobile. Mealybugs cannot digest all the sugar in the sap, and they excrete the excess in a fluid called honeydew, which coats the leaflets and may drop onto surfaces below the plant.
Separate infested plants from those not affected. Apply an insecticide labeled for mealybugs. If only a few bugs are present, wipe them off with a damp cloth or with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol. Inspect new plants thoroughly before putting them in the house.
Rhynchophorus cruentatus This weevil is a Florida native whose primary food is cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), but it will feed on saw palmettos (Serenoa repens), Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis), Mexican washington palms (Washingtonia robusta), royal palms (Roystonea), Bismark palms (Bismarckia noblis) coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) and some other palms as well. It is attracted to damaged or dying palms. The adults are black and red, or all black, beetles up to 11/4 inches long and have long snouts. Their young are legless yellow grubs to 11/2 inches long. They feed on the new leaf tissue around the central bud, killing the leaves and eventually, the entire plant. Adults fly actively, and are most noticeable in late spring and early summer. Palms under stress, including newly planted palms, are at the greatest risk from palmetto weevils.
Once trees begin to show symptoms, they cannot be saved. Cut them down and destroy them to keep the grubs from maturing. Keep trees healthy with regular feeding and watering, and avoid wounding them. Grow palms that are adapted to your climate and not stressed by normal weather.
Several different types of scale insects attack palms. Some types can infest many different plants. Scales hatch from eggs. The young, called crawlers, are small (about 1/10 inch) and soft bodied and move about on the plant and onto other plants. After moving about for a short time, they insert their mouthparts into the plant, feeding on the sap. The legs disappear, and the scales remain in the same place for the rest of their lives. Some develop a soft covering, others a hard covering. Some species of scales are unable to digest all the sugar in the plant sap, and they excrete the excess in a fluid called honeydew, which may cover the fronds or drip onto surfaces below.
Isolate infested plants as soon as scales are discovered. Remove as many scales as possible with a cloth or toothbrush dipped in soapy water. Avoid bringing scale crawlers into the house. Apply an insecticide labeled for these pests, following label directions.
These mites, related to spiders, are major pests of many houseplants, including palms. They cause damage by sucking sap from the undersides of leaflets. As a result of their feeding, chlorophyll disappears, causing the stippled appearance. Spider mite webbing traps cast-off skins and debris, making the plant messy. Under warm, dry conditions, mites can build up to tremendous numbers.
Isolate infested plants from others. Take plants outside or into a shower and wash the mites off the leaves with a strong spray of water. Keep air humid to help prevent infestation and proliferation. Avoid bringing mites into the house. Apply an insecticide labeled for these pests, following label instructions.