IN CANARY ISLAND DATE PALMS
Canary Island date palms, Phoenix canariensis,
majestic palms that symbolize San Diego and the
Southern Californian life-style.
However, they are under attack by a fungus known as
fusarium wilt, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. canariensis.
This fungus is always fatal. It can take a few months
to a few years to kill the tree. There is no cure.
The first sign is dying fronds around mid-canopy which
is above the level they normally die at.
The pinnae or leaflets of the frond
die on one side of the rachis or
main stem while remaining green
on the other as seen in the left and right photos.
The fronds continue to die higher and
higher as seen in the left and right photos.
Until the palm eventually dies.
A fungus entering thru
the root system or,
most commonly, thru pruning cuts.
What can you do to protect your valuable date
It is theorized that the desease
is most likely spread from date palm to date palm by pruning
with infected tools.What you can do to reduce your palms chances
of contracting fusarium wilt is insist that whoever prunes your
- Remove only dead fronds and not green
or yellow fronds. Most customers believe that by taking as many
fronds off as possible they greatly extend the time between
This is a false assumption.
- Do not
use chainsaws to cut green or yellow fronds if you do choose
to remove them.
Use handsaws for these fronds. The debris that gets caught in
the teeth can
easily be removed and the saw sterilized between date palms.
is impossible to sterilize.
In the left photo,
the climber is using a handsaw to cut the
fronds. In the right photo, the climber uses a spade
the old petiole bases and form
the signature "ball" of the
Canary Island Date palm. These tools (when sterilized
between trees) significantly reduce the chance of spreading
wilt from one tree to the next.
- Insist that the handsaws & spades
be sterilized between palms.
- Prune your date palms during July,
August or September. During this time of year the fresh pruning
cuts dry the quickest, reducing the window for spore germination.
- Avoid digging in the pneumatode mat
(the surface roots around the base of the palm).
Damaging these roots opens them up for infection.
- Is your tree service company aware of
the fusarium wilt danger?
A beautiful investment or
an expensive removal?
If you have more questions, contact
us at 619-443-1775
pruning & barriers,
mulch, wood, historical