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  • Characterized by rotting of the terminal bud and surrounding tissues which emit foul smell
  • Water soaked lesions at the base of the petioles of the young leaves in the seedlings
  • The spear leaf turns pale and comes off with a gentle pull in the seedlings
  • In adult palm, the first externally visible symptom is withering of the spear leaf, which subsequently turns pale in colour, bends over at the base and hangs down
  • Withering and yellowing of one or two younger leaves surrounding the spindle
  • Rotting of the tender leaf base and soft tissues of the crown into a shiny mass of decayed material that emit a foul smell which attracts flies
  • Rotting progresses downwards, affects the meristem and kills the palms
  • The internal tissues show discolouration assuming a pale pink with a brown border
  • Drooping of successive leaves and falling of leaves one by one, leaving only mature leaves in the lower whorls at the crown
  • Retained nuts on the palm grow to maturity
  • The palm ultimately succumbs to the disease, if not checked
  • Affects palms of all ages, but young palms of less than 20 years of age are more susceptible especially during rainy / monsoon season

Control Measures

  • In early stages of the disease, when the spindle leaf starts withering, cut and remove all affected tissues of the crown along with some healthy tissues and apply Bordeaux paste and protect it from rain by providing a mud pot or a polythene covering till normal shoots emerges
  • Spray 1% Bordeaux mixture to the spindle leaves and 2-3 innermost whorls of leaves
  • Burn all diseased tissues removed from the palm
  • As a prophylactic measure, spray 1% Bordeaux mixture on the spindle leaves and on the base of 3-4 innermost whorls of leaves of neighbouring palms
  • In palms that are sensitive to copper containing fungicides, spray and spray drench with Mancozeb 0.4% (4g/L)
  • Small perforated sachets containing 2g Mancozeb may be tied to the top of the leaf axil. When it rains, a small quantity of the fungicide is released from the sachets to the leaf base, thus protecting the palm
  • Adopt control measures for rhinoceros beetle and red palm weevil
  • Provide adequate drainage in gardens
  • Adopt proper spacing and avoid overcrowding in bud rot prone gardens
  • In bud rot prone gardens, prophylactic measures should be done to all palms 2-3 times at 45 days intervals
  • Clean the crown before monsoon and follow strict phyto-sanitation
  • Regular application of organic matters favors the establishment of bio-control agents and suppression of pathogens
  • Apply salt and ash mixture or paddy husk after removing the affected portion in the crown and subsequently cover with a mud pot. They absorb moisture and keep the protected portion dry
  • Apply bleaching powder on the affected portion
  • Cut and remove badly affected palms from the field