Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk [Signs, Treatment & Prevention]


Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk

Fungus on palm tree trunks not only destroys the aesthetics of the palm trees but also is deadly to the plants. If you do not discard the infected trunk, it can damage other vegetation too. But unfortunately, the symptoms of fungal attacks are not much significant on palm trees. So you might delay noticing them.

Well, the major symptoms can be visible mostly around the stump. You will notice a brownish fruity body, conk, and yellow spots on the base. But is it possible to treat fungus on palm trees? Let’s explore!

What Fungus Mainly Infects the Palm Tree Trunk?

The Ganoderma Zonatum fungus infects the palm tree trunk, especially its lower 4 to 5 feet base. Basically, it is a soil-based fungus. To date, researchers are not sure what triggers the pathogen to attack the trunk. 

Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk 

However, they believe that wounds in the lower base make it easier for the fungal pathogen to enter. And within a few days, the trunk starts to rot. Listen to how the fungus spread through the trunk:

What Are the Symptoms of Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk? 

Once the fungal pathogen Ganoderma enters the palm trunk, it spreads throughout the tree. And the following symptoms become visible –

Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk
  • The leaves or fronds of the tree appear dull. In some cases, they wilt and fall off prematurely.

  • Sometimes, a conk or fruiting body appears on the lower part of the palm tree. It may look like white mold on a palm tree trunk initially.
  • The bark from the trunk may come off.

  • Black or yellow spots appear on the trunk, and it looks like stem bleeding.

How to Treat Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk?

There is no effective way to kill the fungus on palm tree trunks. Hence, you will need to kill the trunk to prevent the infection’s spread. Here I have listed the natural methods to do so –

Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk 

Method-1: Use Rock Salt 

Rock salt is an essential nutrient for all trees but in limited quantity. If you use it in extreme amounts, it can kill tree trunks. So, to decompose the infected palm trunk, here is what to do:

  • Drill holes in the lower base of the tree in a circumference. 
  • Add 1:1 water and rock salt, then fill the holes with the mix. 
  • Cover the drills or trunk with mulch. 

  • Refill the drills every few weeks. 
  • Then, use a stump grinder or contact a professional to remove the trunk.
  • Avoid keeping the removed trunk nearby other plants. It is better to burn it down. 

Method-2: Plastic Bag or Tarp 

The most labor-efficient way to get rid of the fungus-infected palm trunk is to cover it with a tarp. Without enough sunlight, the roots will not be able to transfer nutrients to different parts of the tree. And without a healthy tree trunk, the fungus will not thrive. So, let me help you out with the steps:

Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk
  • Expose as much as root possible near the affected tree trunk.
  • Then, with a tarp cover the roots and palm tree trunk. 
  • Over the tarp, add a thick layer of mulch.

In a few weeks, the base will decay, then you can dig it out easily to discard it.

How to Get Rid of Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk Faster?

The natural methods to get rid of the palm tree trunk are time-consuming. But if you do not have a few months to spare, you will need to use chemicals to speed up the stump decomposition. To follow this method, all you have to do is:

Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk

Step 1: Expose the Root 

Using a chainsaw and shovel, try to remove as much soil around the infected trunk as possible. Thus, it will expose the palm tree roots. While doing so, wear safety gear. 

Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk

Step 2: Make Drills

On the exposed roots, ensure to make holes with a few inches of gap between them. Then, drill downward holes in the trunk so that they can hold chemical solutions in them.  

Fungus on Palm Tree Trunk

Step 3: Fill the Drills 

Let’s fill the holes with water. Before incorporating chemicals, add a plastic cover on the ground, especially if you have other healthy palm trees or other vegetation around. 

Take potassium nitrate and mix it properly as per the user manual. If you cannot find the fertilizer, buy any other compost enriched in Nitrogen. And add the fertilizer to the drills. 

Step 4: Water the Trunk 

As the title suggests, water the trunk and the roots every few days. In this way, it will help the solutions to penetrate faster to decompose the trunk. If necessary, add more fertilizers around the stump. 

Step 5: Remove the Trunk 

Once the trunk appears spongy, it is time to dig it out. Before that, you need to fall/cut the tree. So, make enough space so that the felled tree can fall on the ground without damaging any structure around it.  

Then, with an ax or stump grinder, dig out the stump. Dispose of the fungus-infected parts of the tree away from other plants. 

Conclusion 

Wounds and injuries on palm trees mainly attract the fungus on palm tree trunk. Sometimes, while pruning the young palm, chances are you accidentally make a slit into the trunk. Over time, the slit can become the entrance for fungal pathogens. 

So, I’d highly suggest not trimming and cutting the young palm tree with sharp tools. Because you never know when a deep cut can become a threat to your healthy palm tree!

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

Is it possible to prevent fungus attacks on palm tree trunks?

It is not possible to prevent fungus infections on palm trees, especially on its trunk. Even after the trunk starts showing the symptoms of a fungal attack, you cannot prevent the disease without killing the trunk.  

What causes yellow fungus on palm tree trunks?

Ganoderma fungus creates spores in the palm tree trunk. And once the fungus spreads to the upper trunk, it develops yellow spots on the base of the tree. 

Can palm trunk fungal diseases spread to other plants nearby?

Yes, fungal infections can spread to other plants from the infected palm tree. Birds, air, and rain can spread the fungal spores to other vegetation. Also, through the soil, it can reach other trees. 

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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