According to Dr. Monica Elliott it will be difficult to distinguish Texas Phoenix Palm Decline (TPPD) from the other problems that affect sabal palms. So far, the primary distinguishing feature about this disease is the premature death of the spear leaf (spear leaf dead/drying while next youngest leaves are green). She has seen many sabal palms in the Fort Lauderdale area (transplanted and natural areas) that have a lot of dead leaves, but they certainly are NOT infected with TPPD phytoplasma. The distinguishing feature is in observing a dead spear leaf.
Rumor has it that the general public is panicking and calling for their palms to be cut down. Let them know that the phytoplasma diseases can be controlled with oxytetracycline (OTC) injections as long as injections start before the spear leaf dies. Also, don’t kill (cut down) the patient just because it may become sick.