Lethal Bronzing Confirmed in Marion County
Lethal bronzing, a fatal palm tree disease, has been confirmed in Marion County. This disease was first discovered in Florida in 2006. Up until last year it was confirmed in the majority of south Florida and north into Alachua, Duval, St. Johns, and Jefferson counties. A sample taken from a cabbage palm in Summerfield sent to the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center has now tested positive for lethal bronzing as well.
Formerly called, Texas Phoenix Palm Decline, lethal bronzing (LBD) is caused by a type of bacteria called a phytoplasma. A phytoplasma is also responsible for another introduced disease that wiped out many coconut palms in south Florida called Lethal Yellowing. When sap-sucking insects feed on an infected palm, they carry with them the phytoplasma which is then spread to healthy palms through feeding. At this point in time, there is no known cure for lethal bronzing which has been known to infect 16 different species of palms including our state tree, the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto).
Although LBD was suspected to be in Marion County, with the recent lab confirmation nursery growers and homeowners should look extra diligently for signs of stress in their palms. Homeowners may contact the UF/IFAS Extension Service Marion County at (352) 671-8400 with questions or concerns about lethal bronzing in their landscape. More information, including photos of LBD symptoms are available below: