Foxtail Palm Disease (FPD)

The disease is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense or F. oxysporum var.

occidentale, which causes the disease known as Foxtail Palm Disease (FPD). It affects a variety of species including: African Violet, Black Walnut, Cherry Tree, Chestnut Tree, Honeylocust Tree, Oak Leaf Maple and many others.

Symptoms of Foxtail Palm Disease (FPD):

Leaves turn yellowish brown with black spots. Leaves may die back completely. Fruit may fall off the tree or become distorted.

How to Prevent Foxtail Palm Disease (FPD) from Affecting Your Tree?

To prevent the disease from affecting your trees, you need to keep them clean and dry. You can do it by using the following tips:

– Do not allow water to drip onto leaves or soil. Water must remain on the leaves only. If there is any moisture left on the soil, then it will evaporate quickly and cause mold growth on your tree.

– Avoid flooding your tree with too much water. The water must be absorbed slowly by the soil so that it will not cause root rot or suffocate the tree’s roots.

You can also use a thick layer of gravel instead of soil to help the water to drain properly and prevent root rot on your tree. Soil should not be used anymore in order to prevent root rot and any other diseases.

Common Diseases and Disorders of Foxtail Palm (Thrinax parviflora or Dwarf Cuban Royal Palm):

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Foxtail palm is very resistant to diseases. It can survive in salty soil, drought and even in the poor quality soil. Still, this palm can be infected by several common palm tree diseases. Most of these diseases do not kill the palm directly but they can cause some damage.

– Crown Rot:

This is a very common disease of palms. It involves the rotting of the trunk just above the roots. There are several reasons behind this disease. One of them is overwatering but another reason can be the root damage.

If you notice that your palm tree has rotten spots on its trunk, you should look carefully at the soil. You will notice that the rotten parts are separated from the rest of the roots. This means that there is some damage on the roots and this will lead to rot. You should immediately remove all the rotten or damaged parts and then fill the hole with fresh soil. Filled it well so that there are no air pockets inside. Then you should cut off the dead roots and replace them with new ones (you can take them from the top part of your palm tree). This process is rather difficult but it can save your palm tree.

Another important thing is to prevent this disease with proper care: Do not over water your palm and keep the soil dry between waterings. Use potash as a fertilizer.

– Crown Dieback:

This is a term used when describing the loss of leaves in the crown or top part. There are several reasons why this happens, among them:

– Plant in too small container for years.

– Too much fertilizer (especially nitrogen)

– Root damage.

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– Sunburn.

If you notice this problem on your palm you should immediately give it proper diagnosis in order to determine the real reason of this problem. Then, you can treat it correctly.

– Hair Loss:

This is a very common problem for many palm species. Since palms have specialized leaves whose function is to store water, they tend to lose their leaves when it is not necessary. This happens especially in young plants and sometimes when the plant is under some stress. It can easily be treated by simply cutting off the hairless leaves.

– Fungal Leaf Spots:

This fungal disease affects only the leaf of your palmtree and you will easily notice it because of the black or gray spots which will cover the leaves. This disease is actually pretty easy to treat. All you need to do is cut off the infected leaf and clean the black spots from the blade of your knife. Then, sterilize the knife with alcohol or bleach.

After you did this, apply a fungicide which can be found in every garden shop. You can also use milk. Just dip a clean cloth in milk and squeeze it so it won’t be dripping. Then, using the cloth, cover the infected leaf.

Remove the cloth after 3 to 4 hours.

This should stop the infection.

Note: Using water on this disease will make it spread over the leaf faster.

– Sunburn:

This is a very common disease for palmtrees because they tend to get sunburn very easily. If you notice that the trunk or the leaves of your palm are getting black spots, it probably has sunburn. This can be easily treated with a cloth soaked in cold water. Use it to clean the burned leaves or the trunk.

Make sure the water is not cold from your fridge but natural, room temperature water. If you can’t tell the difference, better be safe than sorry and don’t use the water.

Then, using a mixture of fungicide and water, rinse the burned part.

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Preventive Measures:

In order to prevent your palm from getting sick, there are several important things you should keep in mind:

– Buy healthy plants.

It’s very important that you always buy healthy plants in good condition. The best way to do so is to buy the plants which are growing in a big pot. This means that the owner of that plant took good care of it and gave it enough space to grow.

If you have the possibility, ask the seller if you can see the plant before you buy it. Check the roots.

Are they firm and not mushy? Does the plant have several big roots or are they scarce?

If so, this probably means that the plant is in a too small container, so it needs more space to grow.

Also check the leaves.

Are they green or are they lacking some color?

If there are some yellow or brown leaves on the surface, it’s better to choose another plant because this probably means it’s getting old and has stopped absorbing enough nutrients for itself.

– Give your plant enough space to grow.

Most of the problems palmtrees face are space problems. Since they have a big root system, they need a lot of space to grow upwards and outwards. If you give them enough space to grow, they will be able to use all nutrients from the soil and will stay healthy.

– Always water your plant.

It’s important to remember that palmtrees are originally from a very dry area, so they like their water on the dry side.

If you use tap water, let the water stand for about a day. This will let most of the chlorine evaporate and makes the water much more suitable for your plant.

– Fertilize your plant.

Using fertilizer is very important when taking care of a palm tree. Using too much is just as bad as not using any at all, so it’s important that you always follow the instructions on the package. Using fertilizer means your plant can get all the nutrients it otherwise wouldn’t be able to get from the soil.

– Transplanting:

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Your palm will most likely spend the rest of its life in the pot you put it in. This means it’s very important to choose a good pot.

The pot should have several holes in the bottom to let the water drain out, because if it doesn’t, the water will eventually start to corrupt the soil and kill the tree because of the lack of oxygen and nutrients.

If you have chosen to repot your plant, follow these instructions:

If your tree is in a very small container, it might have a hard time getting used to its new container. It’s best not to change the container, only the soil. To make this easier for your tree, you can cut off the old roots without cutting through the trunk or main branches. Before you transplant it, put some rocks in the new container, so that there is a layer just below where the old soil line was.

This will help your tree get used to its new container quicker by giving it a more familiar root space.

Make sure your tree stands firmly on the container. There shouldn’t be any wobbling, because that might cause your tree to get a crooked growth. Fill in the rest of the new container with a good soil mix. Water it well, then let it stand for about a week before putting it in a direct sunlight.

If you’re transplanting in the same type of soil, just dig a hole in the same manner as you did when you first planted it.

Put the root crown (The place where the roots and stem join) at about the same height it originally was. Fill in the rest of the hole with soil and then water well. Let it stand for about a week before putting it in a direct sunlight.

– Taking care of your tree:

Now that you’ve bought yourself a tree, what do you need to do to take care of it?

It’s simple, really.

Just follow the same instructions as when you just bought your plant, but be a little more attentive this time.

First of all, your tree will need water, a lot of it. It’s best to water it with a can or hosepipe, because tap water has some chemicals that are not so good for the soil.

Secondly, your tree will need sunlight. If the conditions in which you grow your tree don’t have much sunlight, you can attach a grow-light to a dimmer switch to have some control over how much light it gets.

Finally, your tree will need a lot of room to grow, so make sure you have enough space. Also, if it gets too crowded, you’ll have to repot it into a bigger container, or even into the ground.

Foxtail Palm Diseases – How To Treat Diseased Foxtail Palm Trees - Picture

That’s all there is to taking care of a potted palm. If you want, you could also grow it in another container such as an ornamental urn, but that’s a choice only you can make.

P.S: If you want to know how to prune your palm, see the appropriate chapter.

– Ornamental uses:

Palms are very popular for decoration in houses and commercial buildings. They’re also very popular in landscape design, especially in tropical and subtropical areas. They’re mostly used for the elegance of their fronds and their general exotic nature. Some types of palms are also used for harvesting for producing such products as palm oil, coconut and dates.

There are many types of palms that are used for decoration, but because of their rarity and how expensive they can be, it’s not a good idea to buy one just to try out growing a palm. It would be much more cost effective to just go out into your backyard and just pick up a healthy palm seed that fell near you.

There is a way, however, if you still want to grow a certain type of palm . You could always grow it in a container. It would be much easier to keep it alive, and you wouldn’t have to worry about space either.

There are many ways to grow a palm in a container. The two most popular ways are with the palm in a pot, or growing it directly in the ground (or substrate) in an ornamental urn or something similar.

If you choose to grow it in a pot, any size container will do, as long as the palm has enough room to grow. If you want, you could even build a custom frame for your pot to give it a more exotic look.

If you choose to put it in an urn or something similar, make sure that the root crown (the place where the roots and stem join) is above the bottom of the urn so that the new roots can take hold. You will probably need to use a rooting hormone as well for it to take, but that’s just common sense.

Remember, when you’re planting any kind of tree, especially a palm, you want to make sure that there are no visible signs of disease on the leaves, trunk or roots. If you do see anything wrong with it, do not buy it, because the problem will only get worse as time goes on.

And that’s all there is to planting and taking care of a palm tree. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your local nursery person.

– Pest and diseases:

Palms rarely suffer from many pests. In fact, it’s very uncommon to see a palm tree with any kind of pests at all. The most common form of pests on palms are mealy bugs, which are relatively easy to get rid of by hand.

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However, one thing that can affect a palm tree is drought. Palms, unlike most other plants, do not have the luxury of shedding their leaves in dry conditions. They need to remain fairly hydrated at all times for nutrient uptake and such. If a palm becomes dehydrated, it can and will affect the health of the tree.

Sources & references used in this article:

Removal of Cu from Printed Circuit Board (PCBs) Leachates using Activated Carbon Derived from Foxtail Palm Fruit by NN Maizatul, MF Ghazli, NRN Yusoff – IOP Conference Series …, 2020 –

Effects of iron source on iron chlorosis and Exserohilum leaf spot severity in Wodyetia bifurcata by TK Broschat, ML Elliott – HortScience, 2005 –


Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer and Fusarium Dieback Disease on Palms by N NADERALI – 2015 –

Association of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma cynodontis’ with Bermuda grass white leaf disease and its new hosts in Qassim province, Saudi Arabia by DR Hodel – PalmArbor, 2017 –

Westcott’s plant disease handbook by AF Omar – Journal of Plant Interactions, 2016 – Taylor & Francis

Phytoplasma diseases of Palms by RK Horst – 2013 –

Molecular confirmation and interrelationship of phytoplasmas associated with diseases of palms in South India by EN Yankey, J Bila, YA Rosete, C Oropeza… – … Plant Pathogenic Bacteria …, 2018 – Springer



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