Palm Diseases

Informational table showing disease name, symptoms, pathogen/cause, and management of Palm diseases.
Palm Diseases - Articles


Cold InjuryReddish dead areas form on leaves within five days of exposure.Temperatures below 40° F.Do not place plants near air conditioners. Maintain temperatures above 45° F.
Fluoride InjuryChamaedorea palms' leaf tips turn dark brown and die. On areca palms, small dead spots form in chains between leaf veins.Excessive fluoride in soil.Maintain soil pH between 6 and 6.5. Avoid using perlite and super-phosphate. Do not irrigate with water containing 1 ppm fluoride.
Helminthosporium Leaf spotReddish-brown to black oval spots less than 1/4 inch in diameter merge to become irregular in shape.Drechslera setariae, Exerohilum rostratum, Phaeotrichoconis crotalariaeAvoid overhead watering. Apply a fungicide to protect plants.
Iron or Copper ToxicityOval dead leaf spots have yellow halos and may be confused with Helminthosporium leaf spot.Excessive iron fertilization or copper fungicide useDo not use copper fungicides. Do not use iron sequestrene under low light, high nutrient conditions.
Leaf BurnTips of lower leaves turn brown and die.Excessive fertilizationMaintain moderate levels of fertilizer.

For more detailed information, see Compendium of Ornamental Palm Diseases and Disorders. 2004. Ed. by M. L. Elliott, T. K. Broschat, J. Y. Uchida, and G. W. Simone. APS Press. 69 pp. with many color photos (1-800-328-7560). A CD of palm diseases and disorders can also be purchased at that site alone or in combination with the compedium.

Prepared by Gary W. Moorman, Professor of Plant Pathology