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How to Tell If Palm Trees In Your Florida Panhandle Landscape Are Suffering

by Emily Durgan | Sat, Dec 14, 2013

palm trees in your Florida panhandle landscape

Palm trees in your Florida panhandle landscape are a beautiful investment, but because of their cost, it's even more important to take great care of them. These tropical beauties are at risk of a number of maladies.

Here's a look at three of them, how to spot the symptoms, and what you can do to address the problem before it escalates too far.

Palm tree problem #1: water stress or overwatering

Did you know that you're actually more likely to overwater your palm trees than to underwater them? That being said, one of the palm tree's many unique qualities is that it reacts about the same to overwatering and underwatering. This tree diva obviously thrives best under perfect watering conditions.

Water stress first appears in the browning edges of older fronds, and then it usually appears on palms as reduced growth and a browning of leaflet tips that spreads as the condition worsens. The bud could also die without enough water.

Overwatering, on the other hand, could cause the entire tree to wilt and become discolored. Too much water can also make palm trees susceptible to diseases like the ones mentioned above, as well as pests and nutrient deficiencies.

If the palm trees in your Florida panhandle landscape go through alternating periods of not enough water and too much water, the entire trunk could split or crack.

You can tell a palm needs to be watered by this "rule of thumb": If you stick your thumb in the surrounding soil and it's dry to the touch, it's time to water! Younger palm trees need an inch of rainfall (or the same amount through hand watering) every week to become established.

Palm tree problem #2: bud rot

There are a few different factors that can cause bud rot, including phytophthera and thielaviopsis, but whether it's caused by a common disease or simple bacteria, the ways of detecting bud rot are the same — and so is how to treat it!

Bud rot shows first in the wilting and discoloration of a palm's fronds; after that, new frond growth will slow to a stop. If your palm trees are well established, you may not notice that the disease has set in until the crown seems to shrink or flattens out. This means growth has stopped entirely.

If the disease has progressed that far, your palm trees in your landscape are probably done for, which is why preventive care (including fungicide applications) against bud rot is your best bet.

Palm tree problem #3: fusarium wilt

Fusarium wilt is caused by a fungus in the soil and infects a palm tree's roots and trunk through the soil and water supply. It produces a gummy residue that clogs the nutrient pathways of your palm trees in your Florida panhandle landscape, and eventually kills the tree.

You'll be able to notice fusarium wilt much more quickly, as the lower fronds actually start to wilt and discolor first. The upper leaves follow, and finally, the whole tree dies.

Symptoms include yellowing and stunting of plants. First, the lower leaves turn yellow, wilt and die. The upper leaves turn yellow and finally the entire plant dies.

A major killer of expensive palm trees, fusarium wilt will cause a general decline in the tree’s vigor, frond wilting and loss of luster, and finally kill the palm.

Taking care of your palm trees in your Florida panhandle landscape is an important task, and it requires more than a little know-how to do correctly. If you need a little help, contact the tree care professionals at GreenEarth Landscape Services. We can help you create a comprehensive palm tree care plan to protect your investment for years to come.

If you're in Panama City Beach, call (850) 236-1959, or call (850) 267-0010 from Santa Rosa Beach. Or, fill out the web form to the right and we'll get in touch with you to arrange a free consultation.

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