Soil fun­gus blamed for spate of palm tree deaths

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Tom Zaun­mayr

A soil fun­gus out­break is be­lieved to be the cul­prit be­hind a large num­ber of golden cane palms dy­ing across the Pil­bara re­gion.

The out­break has led to a short­age of treat­ment sup­plies, with Handy Hands Kar­ratha working through a wait­ing list of about 40 cus­tomers.

In a let­ter sent out to cus­tomers, Handy Hands Kar­ratha man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Si­mon Bow­man said the out­break tended to oc­cur af­ter hav­ing a few wet years fol­lowed by a dry sum­mer.

“Golden Cane palms seem to be the worst hit but it can af­fect other palms and plants in ex­treme cases,” Mr Bow­man said.

“There are a few fac­tors that can in­crease the likely hood of the fun­gus tak­ing hold in a gar­den. It lies dor­mant in the soil and when the right con­di­tions oc­cur can run rampant, killing palms in seven to 10 days.

“Prop­er­ties that are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a loss of palms in their gar­dens (should be) treated with a sys­temic fungi­cide that tar­gets Pythium and Phy­toph­thora fun­gus in the soil.”

Mr Bow­man said a good way to en­sure un­der-wa­ter­ing was not the cul­prit was to note the con­di­tion of other plants nearby.

He said a good retic­u­la­tion sys­tem, yearly fungi­cide treat­ment, good or­ganic ma­te­ri­als in gar­den beds and not mulching the base of plants would help re­duce the like­li­hood of the plants catch­ing the dis­ease.

For palms al­ready in­fected, Mr Bow­man said over wa­ter­ing would help the dis­ease spread even quicker.

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