Palm Trees Insects – False Smut

False smut or Graphiola leaf spot is caused by Graphiola species. This disease is most common in areas of high humidity. Small, black, wart-like bodies are seen, often with yellow filaments protruding from the middle of the raised spots. Both sides of the leaf are affected. A high incidence of the fungus on leaves can lead to premature death of older leaves. There are usually no symptoms on the youngest leaves.This is a common disease of date palms in south Texas, but chemical control is seldom required.

Palm Trees Treatment

Properly space palms so that there is plenty of air circulation to reduce humidity. Avoid wetting fronds during irrigation. Removal and destruction of severely infected palm fronds will help minimize disease spread. However, removal of too many fronds may be more damaging to the palm tree than the disease. Palm trees are sensitive to nutritional deficiencies and frond removal can worsen existing problems and weaken the tree.

Fungicides are usually not necessary but can be applied as a preventative treatment during the spring. Select a fungicide containing copper hydroxide or copper salts of fatty acids. I use Bonide Products Liquid Copper Fungicide. It is very effective against False Smut. If palm trees are used for food purposes, copper fungicides are the only approved fungicides.