Soil fungus blamed for spate of palm tree deaths
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.