One of the most popular palms we have in our landscapes is the Adonidia. Also called the Christmas Palm due to its showing display of red fruit during the holiday season, it is a small palm with a neat and formal appearance. Although a single stemmed palm, many nurseries grow three in a single container and sell them as multiple stem species.
During the spring of the year many of us have awakened to find a previous healthy palm with broken fronds hanging down around its trunk. In some cases the damage continues nightly until only the spear leaf remains. A closer examination of the palm will reveal that the fronds have been chewed. The culprit? Roof rats! Although roof rats are capable of reproducing year round their main litter is produced in the spring. The females diet changes during her pregnancy and she gnaws at the adonidia to obtain the sugar within to provide the necessary nutrition she needs during her gestation period.
Unless the heart of the palm is eaten, the palm will recover. Rodent control methods such as trapping and baiting will help reduce damage to these palms.