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Louisiana - Texas Phoenix Palm Decline spreading across New Orleans palms

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  • Louisiana - Texas Phoenix Palm Decline spreading across New Orleans palms

    Fatal disease spreading across New Orleans palms

    Posted: Nov 05, 2015 5:25 PM CST
    Updated: Nov 05, 2015 6:01 PM CST
    Written by: Rob Krieger, ReporterCONNECT

    Texas Phoenix Palm Decline was first discovered in Louisiana in 2013 by LSU researcher Dr. Raghuwinder “Raj” Singh, who works at LSU’s Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology. The disease is believed to be spread by insects, and once a tree is infected, it seems it’s almost always fatal.

    “The lower third of the canopy starts to brown up. It doesn't go from a yellow to brown, you will notice when it becomes brown and then it droops, you get an umbrella picture of the palm,” Singh said.

    The top portion of the tree, including the part known as the spear palm, may stay green for some time, but eventually, once the disease is contracted, the tree will lose its palms and fruit and die.

    “We've lost probably 30 to 35 palm trees, some of them decades old, and like you said, it's distressing, but we're doing what we can,” City Park spokesman John Hopper said.

    City Park has hundreds of palms, including a series of Medjool Date Palms that line the Great Lawn. Arborists at the park are already treating some of the trees with a special antibiotic that may prevent the disease from being contracted, but at an estimated $800 a year per tree, the antibiotic is not always a practical solution.
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