White fungus, as I have come to understand from my years of experience in gardening, is a great source of worry to gardeners and nuisance to plants, palm trees inclusive.
Some of the most common questions I get from my fellow gardeners are:
- How do you get rid of white fungus on palm trees?
- Why is there white stuff on my palm tree?
- Is white fungus dangerous to palm trees?
Which is why I decided to write this article so we can treat this once and for all. So in today’s articles, you’re going to learn how to get rid of white fungus on palm trees.
Let’s get started!
Read Also: How to Remove Powdery Mildew from Plants
Why Is There White Stuff on Your Palm Tree?
Palm trees and other palms like trees are often plagued by the white fungus, which presents as cotton-like white nests under the palm fronds of the trees.
When the fungus is left untreated, and the affected fronds are not trimmed off, the nests spread to the palm tree leaves and prevent the leaves from receiving sunlight.
The most important way of saving your palm tree when it’s plagued by white fungus is to nip it by the bud, by taking out the affected area as soon as you spot its symptoms.
How To Identify White Fungus on Palm Trees
You identify white fungus on palm trees as those ‘white stuff on your palm tree.’ Primarily, the white fungus appears on palm trees as cotton-like soot.
These whitish powdery substances usually appear first on the underside of the palm tree leaves and fronds and progress to the upper side of the leaves. When left untreated, it progresses to the tree stems and down to the roots.
What Causes White Fungus on Palm Trees?
Two non-native insects cause white fungus on palm trees; cycad scale and rugose spiraling whitefly.
Cycad scale does not attack true palm trees, but it will kill infected trees if left untreated. Cycad scales infect the underside of tree fronds first before moving over to the upper side of the fronds.
It also progresses to the plant stems and goes down deeper into the soil, as far as one foot below. By the time you notice a cotton-like nest of white soot on the fronds, there’s a large colony of cycad scale present on the tree.
Rugose spiraling whitefly, on the other hand, attacks true palm plants like coconut trees. Rugose spiraling whitefly attacks palm trees by feeding on the tree juices and excreting honeydews on the tree.
The excreted honeydew, which is a sugary liquid, does more damage by attracting sooty mold to the leaves. Sooty mold fungi like to feed on honeydew.
Unlike the Cycad scale, Rugose spiraling whitefly does not kill host plants, but causes them a great level of stress and blocks the plant’s leaves from receiving sunshine.
Now, let’s attend to the most frequently asked questions about grooming palm trees; ‘how do you get rid of white fungus on palm trees?’
I can tell you have been longing to read this part!
How Do You Get Rid of White Fungus on Palm Trees?
Follow the easy steps below to learn how to get rid of white fungus on palm trees.
Get Rid of Infected Parts From The Onset
The most natural means of getting rid of white fungus on palm trees is to get rid of infected palm tree leaves.
The white fungus attacks palm trees first on the underside of palm leaves before progressing to other palm parts, and it is, therefore, crucial that once you notice the symptoms of white fungus on your palm’s bottom, take out the affected leaves immediately.
This would ensure that it doesn’t spread to other parts of the tree.
Stop Overhead Irrigation
Instead of using sprinklers to water your palm plants, use hoses to water the plant’s base. This will ensure that the palm leaves are dry while getting the necessary water needed to blossom through the roots.
Sprinkling water on your palm plants increases the chances of mold developing on their leaves.
Increase Space between Palm Plants
Avoid overcrowding plants, especially when in a nursery. Good air circulation around the plants lowers humidity and lowers the chances of white fungus developing.
Molds thrive and reproduce in conditions with high humidity. Ensure that the condition around your palm plants is not conducive to them.
Spray Anti-fungal Solutions to Affected Palm Trees
When a palm tree is affected by a white fungus, and the infection has spread across the plant’s parts, it is time to use fungicides on it.
There are organic and inorganic fungicides available for ridding white fungus. Most organic fungicides can be readily made at home.
Some of them include baking soda solution, milk solution, neem oil solution, ginger oil, and apple cider vinegar. Spray the solutions on the affected parts once every week, in the mornings and allow the solution to air dry.
The inorganic fungicides are sold in stores, and you must heed to the manufacturer’s instruction while using on your palm tree, to avoid hurting the trees more than they already are.
Getting rid of white fungus on palm trees is much dependent on the individual’s habit and attitude towards the plant. You must realize that a well laid out nursery or garden is essential to ridding your plants of infections.
Cleanliness is critical as well; you must keep your surroundings neat at all times. Get rid of garden wastes as quickly, and as far away from your garden as possible, this ensures that there is no re-infection of plants.
Alternate the fungicides used on infected plants to prevent the fungi from building resistance to a specific fungicide you may be using. Also, test a portion of the affected plant part to the fungicides before administering it on the entire palm tree.
So if you’ve been wanting to know how to remove white fungus on palm trees, I hope you have the answer now.