Rapt attention

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Palm crisis

Phoenix Reclinata
Nothing defines Southern California like our palm trees. The native Washingtonia Filifera or Robusta, the spectacular Phoenix Canariensis, the dates and the roebellinis. And they are all apparently under attack.

I had heard rumblings but things are really getting serious. The trees are being beset by a variety of evils but the principal one is a borer called the Black palm weevil or Rhynchophorus palmarum. It can kill a healthy Canary Island Palm in 49 days. This really concerns me personally as I have a magnificent reclinata as well as a mature canary at home as well as many other beautiful palms.

A prominent arborist told me yesterday that a Fallbrook Palm Nursery is already under quarantine from the invader. I need to do some more research on the subject because it appears that there are other pests around attacking palms too, like the palm borer Dinapate wrightii which is going after the fan palms. Another is the red palm weevil, or Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, a nasty and particularly ferocious asian import.

Sadly, there is no current cure for the infestations. The bugs tend to attack unhealthy trees. All you can do is remain vigilant and cut the dying trees down and remove them before the borers spread.

I hope that our trees are spared this nasty fate.

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