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About Queen Palm Tree Disease

Image by, courtesy of alex de carvalho

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) is a stately tree with a single trunk and a drooping canopy. Bright orange ornamental dates shine against lush green fronds in the winter. The tree grows 25 to 50 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. It is frequently used in commercial areas and along streets in Zones 9 to 11, where it is hardy.

Diseases and Maintenance

Queen Palms are resistant to most diseases. Proper maintenance increases the ability of the palms to resist diseases, as well as pests. Queen Palms should be planted in the sun in acidic, well-drained soil. They need regular irrigation and fertilization. The trees are weakened by injuries to the trunks and by the removal of too many fronds at one time.

Fusarium Decline

There is no chemical treatment for Fusarium Decline. Trees have to be removed and destroyed. The symptoms of Fusarium Decline on Queen Palms begin on the lowest or oldest fronds, which turn yellow. As the first set of fronds turns brown, the set of fronds above it begin to turn yellow. This cycle continues until the whole canopy turns brown. Eventually the tree will die.

Ganoderma Butt Rot

Overall symptoms of a Queen Palm affected by Ganoderma Butt Rot include discolored fronds, wilting and general decline. The lower 4 to 5 feet of the trunk begins to rot, followed by the growth of basidiocarps on the trunks. Basidiocarps, also called conks, are shelf-like protrusions where the fungus has grown out of the tree trunk.

There is no cultural or chemical control for Butt Rot. The tree, its stump and all its roots should be removed and destroyed. Another palm should not be planted in the same area, since the fungus remains in the soil.

Pink Rot

Stressed or weakened Queen Palms may be affected by Pink Rot. Spots appear on the rachis and leaves of the fronds, followed by rot. The rot spreads along the leaf tips, leaf bases and the trunks. New growth appears stunted and distorted. Fungicides for pink spot on Queen Palms may help the tree resist the disease until growing conditions are improved. Fungicides should be applied at the rate recommended by the manufacturer. If left untreated, pink rot will cause the affected trees to decline and die.

Texas Phoenix Palm Decline

The symptoms of Texas Phoenix Palm Decline on Queen Palms are flower necrosis (death) or premature fruit drop, and discoloration of the oldest fronds. The disease is caused by a bacterium, which is spread by sap-feeding insects. It quickly kills affected trees. If more than two-thirds of the canopy is affected or if the spear leaf is dead, the tree should be removed and destroyed. Queen Palms with Texas Phoenix Palm Decline can be treated with antibiotic injections every 4 months for the life of the tree.

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