IPM Pest Control Blog

Canary Island Date Palms

Many Associations choose Canary Island Date Palms to line their entranceways as no other palm provides a more majestic, formal, tropical appearance to a landscape. Although subject to all the major diseases and insect problems in our area, they are generally considered a low maintenance palm. Recent failures however have led to the discussion as to whether or not the costs of these palms are worth the investment. The following items concerning the care of these palms should be adhered to in order to ensure their long term survival.

18 Month Warranty: When a palm is transplanted onto your property it must become established to survive. A palm is considered established when its roots that were cut in the nursery have regenerated and grown out of their rootball into the soil. The appearance of new leaves indicate that establishment has been successful. For Canary Island Date Palms this may take more than a year to occur. Since establishment may take more than a year, a contractor’s standard warranty of only 12 months may expire before you know whether or not the palm will survive. Purchase an 18 month warranty.

Maintenance: Drenching the soil with fungicides and treating the canopy with insecticides may be performed every other month during the warranty period, but once the palm is established routine maintenance can be reduced to fertilization. Applying a slow release, palm special fertilizer along with supplemental nutrients to correct deficiencies at three month intervals will ensure the palm has the nutrients needed to thrive.

Pruning: The fungus fusarium oxysporum is a worldwide, fatal and untreatable disease of Canary Island Date Palms. Palms usually die within one year of becoming symptomatic. Palms become infected by pruning saws that transport the spores of the fungus from palm to palm. Although highly infectious, because the disease results from human activity, it can be avoided. The solution is simply to use a handsaw that has been disinfected prior to using it to prune a palm. The process takes five minutes. Chainsaws cannot be used because it is impossible to sterilize them. Besides using sterilized, handsaws to prune your Canary Island Date Palms you should limit your pruning cycle to once a year and remove only their dead, lower fronds.

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