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Coconut Notes
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We will lose 95% of our CocoPalms to Lethal Yellowing
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Page 1 of 1Total of 2 messages
Posted by:Sep 29th 2003, 03:50:55 pm
H.SinnamonI will be on Harbour Island in October and will be glad to treat any trees with Oxytetracycline (OTC) and to set up a program to try and stop the spread of Lethal Yellowing, I can be reached in Miami at (786) 367-9562.
Thanks,
Hank Sinnamon
Posted by:Sep 21st 2003, 05:59:10 pm
jrollsTO: ALL BRILANDERS

FR: SOUTH BAR CLUB

OXYTETRACYCLINE INJECTIONS WITH MAUGET INJECTORS TO TREAT LETHAL YELOWING IN COCONUT PALMS

SEPTEMBER 16, 2003

South Bar has begun a program to fight the Lethal Yellowing disease that is on the way to killing most of the Coconut Palms on this Island. We have engaged the following experts to help us in this effort.

Timothy K. Broschat, Ph.D.
Professor, Tropical Ornamental Horticulture
University of Florida
Ft. Lauderdale Research & Education Center
3205 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
(954) 577-6330 FAX (954) 475-4125

Dr. Broschat has examined Harbour Island and has issued a report on the disease and what must be done to control it. Also he addresses nutrition of our plants and the need to prevent worse diseases from being imported from FL. The report follows on the Briland website and hard copies will be available at South Bar for all who wish one. A summary of his report follows. Dr. Broschat is available as a consultant

Jeff Farley
Professional Tree Care
Orlando FL 407 647 3335 or 407 808 1747 C.

Mr. Farley is a distributor of the Mauget injection system and professionally treats coconut palms in FL. Mr. Farley is available as a consultant.

David Fishman
Fishman Chemical
Tavernier, FL 305 852 6121
sales@fishchemical.com

Mr. Fishman distributes the antibiotic Oxytetracycline for treatment of coco palms.

Broschat Report Summary

Lethal yellowing is fairly common on Harbour Island, especially in areas where larger concentrations of coconut palms are found. If this disease is not confronted quickly, losses could be high and the practice of replanting with more coconut palms will only keep the disease active in the area for a longer time. Since there are no resistant coconut varieties with which you can replant, injection with tetracycline or oxytetracycline every four months along with prompt removal of late stage infected or expendable palms appears to be the best solution. Replanting with other LY-resistant species of palms or even broadleaf trees is highly recommended.

Potassium deficiency is widespread on palms (and some other plants) throughout Harbour Island. Potassium (K) deficiency is normally no more than a cosmetic problem and palms in nature can live with it indefinitely with mild to moderate symptoms. However, if older, discolored leaves are regularly removed, or if improper fertilizers are used near these palms, K deficiency can kill these palms. Potassium deficiency can be prevented or corrected by using a special controlled release 8-2-12 “palm special” landscape fertilizer.

Deep planting of coconut palms and other species of plants is a widespread practice on Harbour Island and it needs to be stopped. Although plants may survive deep planting, their growth rate and nutritional health will suffer as a result.

Harbour Island does not appear to have any of the other four serious palm diseases that are devastating palms in Florida and I recommend that some type of restrictions be placed on the importation of field-grown palms from Florida to prevent these diseases from becoming established in the Bahamas.

Treatment

Oxytetracycline is a moderately soluble powder. For an average tree about four grams (one level teaspoon) of the powder is mixed in 1/2 oz. of clean (tap) water. The best procedure when treating many trees is to prepare a good supply of the drug mixture, say a quart of water with 60 teaspoons of powder. Judgement is required for dosage. Obviously a large tree would need more and a small tree less. Dr. Broschat says moderate overdosing is not a problem and suggests erring on the side of overdosing. Too little will give a bad outcome,

As 1/4” drill bit is used to drill a 1” hole in the palm trunk about 1-3 feet above ground.
Best to equip the bit with a stop. The Mauget system consists of an aluminum tube that is inserted in the hole and a plastic pump that is connected to the tube and injects the antibiotic. After injecting, the pump is removed. Treatments must be repeated three times a year so it is necessary to tag treated trees and maintain a record of treatment. The holes should be located to minimize cosmetic and structural impact on the tree. Over years of treatment, these holes can weaken the structure of the tree.

It appears that it will cost no more than $10/year to treat a tree. The strategy is to tag those trees to be protected, quickly remove diseased trees that are not to be treated and hope for the rest. This technique requires constant vigilance to identify and remove trees that subsequently contract the disease and are not to be treated. Obviously the more effort we are willing to make and the more trees we treat, the better. If we were willing to treat all of our trees, most would survive. The disease can be stopped by the medication if caught early enough and prevented in trees not yet infected. In this way we can hope to preserve a large number of our best trees. If we do nothing the experts say we will lose over 90% of our coconut palms.

Contrary to popular belief, no coconut palms are resistant and any nursery that tries to sell you a tree as resistant, is taking your money. Also contrary to popular belief it is not necessary to burn or even remove a diseased tree after it is taken down. Within a few days of felling, the tree dries up and the disease dies. So get the hopeless trees down fast, cut the crown off (to accelerate drying) and worry about cleaning up the mess when you can. Dr. Broschat emphasizes the peril in importing trees. There are diseases in Florida worse than Lethal Yellowing that will certainly establish here if trees continue to be imported.

WE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS WILL PROHIBIT PLANT IMPORTS TO SAVE OUR FLORA. AFTER ALL, THE US DOESN’T ALLOW IMPORTS OF BAHAMIAN PLANTS.

Dr. Broschat’s report explains how to diagnose a hopeless case. Many trees that may be yellowing and look sick, merely suffer from malnutrition. Left alone they’ll get by. So it is important to know what to look for before you start cutting. His report discusses the right fertilizer combination for this island. It appears we all are using the wrong stuff, which he says will do more harm than good. Also he discusses proper planting techniques.

South Bar Club has hired Alvin Bullard to be our Tree Warden. His full time job will be to understand and deal with the problem. Time permitting his services will be available
at no charge to all on Harbour Island to examine and advise on your trees.

IT IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION TO CALL THIS AN URGENT CRISIS. IF WE DON’T ACT, THIS ISLAND WILL BECOME A WASTELAND OF PHONE POLES. WE CAN’T SAVE ALL OUR TREES BUT IF WE ARE ALL SMART AND DILIGENT AND WORK TOGETHER WE CAN ASSURE A GOOD OUTCOME FOR HARBOUR ISLAND. PLEASE READ DR. BROSCHAT’S REPORT IN ITS ENTIRETY AND PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

South Bar Club

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