The disease-causing bacteria reside in the insect’s gut and are transmitted from tree to tree through their mouthparts.
How Does Lethal Bronzing Kill Palm Trees?
Once inside a tree, the bacteria migrate to its base, multiplying until they clog the circulatory system — much like human arteries getting blocked by fat and cholesterol.
The blockage makes it impossible for the tree’s cells to get sufficient nutrients and sugars, starving them. As an infected tree dies, its fronds and central spear leaf transform from green to a tell-tale shade of bronze as it succumbs in about six months.
Lethal Bronzing Symptoms Include:
Symptoms Include fruit drop, necrosis or inflorescence, bronzing of lower foliage that progresses upward, subsequent spear leaf collapse, and death. Rotting of the plant’s buds, the lower leaves become a distinct red to bronze color, and they decline rapidly. Starting at the crown and moving towards the top spear leaf. The process takes a couple of months to a year, depending on the species and health of the plant at the time of infection.
Identifying Lethal Bronzing Early Is Difficult
Identifying disease is tricky because the symptoms of Lethal Bronzing Disease (LBD) are often confused with potassium deficiency and the natural decline of palm leaves. Both of these conditions cause the fronds to turn yellow or brown in color.
There is no known cure for the disease, but there are things you can do to help researchers and to keep the disease from spreading.
If you suspect your tree has fallen victim to LBD, send a photo to your local county extension office so they can assess whether your tree has indeed been infected.
Usually, they need to take a tissue sample from your palm tree to confirm a positive case. You may also send a sample to the Palm Phytoplasma Diagnostic Clinic at the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, where technicians can process yellow sticky traps to determine the presence of H. crudus and determine if the local population carries the disease. Sample submission forms and instructions can be found at www.bahderlab.com under the “Services” tab.
If an infection is confirmed, it is critical that you remove the tree as soon as possible.
Afterward, it would be wise to test all the remaining palm trees in the given area and follow up with a preventative treatment of oxytetracycline every three months for two years.
This is an antibiotic that is injected into the base of the tree in the hopes of keeping the bacteria from spreading.
Prevention Is The Key To Stopping Lethal Bronzing Disease
There is no known cure for this disease and if an infection is confirmed tree should be removed and taken from your property as soon as possible.
Because this disease is so lethal, the key is to prevent it from spreading to your palms by controlling the insects that spread the disease.
Targeted treatments with ArborJet trunk injections are the most effective way to prevent Lethal Bronzing from infecting your large palms.
By pro-actively treating palms with IMA-jet or AzaSol from Arborjet, the American Palm Cixiid will not be able to survive feeding on your palm trees, and thus the risk of a lethal bronzing infection is greatly reduced.
In fact, studies held in 2017 by Arborjet showed that treating palms with Arborjet every 120 days is an effective treatment for lethal Bronzing of all large palm trees.
Ongoing ArborJet treatments by GreenEdge are on the first line of defense to prevent an outbreak of LBD.
However, If your palm trees begin to look as if they are showing symptoms listed above, GreenEdge can help limit the spread to other palms on your property, and remove the infected trees.
GreenEdge can also install new healthy and treated palms should it be too late to save your existing palms.
Get Started Protecting Your Palms Today
Lethal Bronzing Disease is serious, do not wait until it is already too late to save your palms. Contact GreenEdge Today and we will schedule a treatment plant to protect your valuable palm trees.