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UF/IFAS scientists: Sterilize tools before pruning Canary Island date palms to prevent lethal fungal disease

 

Fusarium Wilt Palms 083115

Please see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF/IFAS scientists urge people to sterilize their pruning tools before and after they trim their Canary Island Date Palm trees to avoid spreading a deadly disease.

Monica Elliott, a plant pathology professor, published a study recently in the journal Plant Disease that shows that Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. canariensis, a pathogen that spreads fusarium wilt of Canary Island Date Palm, was discovered on a wild or Senegal date palm in Palm Beach County.

While this pathogen is not new to Florida, this is the first report of it infecting the wild date palm, said Elliott, co-director of the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. Researchers have documented that this type of fusarium wilt pathogen will kill the Canary Island date palm.

The good news is that you can prevent the spread of F. oxysporum f. sp. canariensis

most of the time by sterilizing pruning tools prior to pruning or by using a new pruning tool.

“It is transmitted primarily from palm to palm by infested pruning tools,” Elliott said. “In other words, someone trims infected leaves off of a Canary Island date palm. Infested sawdust remains on the tool and when they trim leaves from the next Canary Island date palm, they ‘inoculate’ that palm with the pathogen.”

For more information, look at these Extension documents: Fusarium Wilt of Canary Island Date Palms:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/PP139; Fusarium Wilt of Queen and Mexican Fan Palms:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pp278.

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Caption: UF/IFAS scientists urge people to sterilize their tools before and after pruning their palm trees to avoid spread a potentially lethal fungus. The recommendations comes after they found Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. canariensis , a pathogen that spreads fusarium wilt of Canary Island Date Palm,on a wild or Senegal date palm in Palm Beach County.

Credit: UF/IFAS

By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Source: Monica Elliott, 954-577-6315, melliott@ufl.edu