White powdery mildew is a common fungus that attacks many plants. If you find your palm trees are exhibiting a white powdery fungus, don’t worry because we are here with some practical ways to eliminate this problem.
Let’s get started.
- First, How to identify powdery mildew?
- How is the white fungus caused?
- How to get rid of the white powdery mildew on a palm tree?
- Tips to make solutions effective
First, How to identify powdery mildew?
If you find any white substance on the leaves and stems or any part of the plant, then you should be concerned. Like the name, the fungus looks like powdered sugar.
The white fungus or the powdered mildew looks like cotton soot which slowly takes over the entire plant.
You’ll spot them first under the leaves then, they eventually grow upwards after spreading to the roots.
Once you’ve witnessed its presence, you must get rid of it as soon as possible. If you leave it untreated, it could be fatal to your palm tree.
How is the white fungus caused?
Cycad scale and rugose spiraling whitefly are the two non-native insects responsible for initiating the white fungus.
Cycad scale attacks infected trees that are not taken care of. It spreads throughout the plant faster than you think. Before you could notice its impact, you’ll find a colony of cycad scales on the palm tree.
On the other hand, Rugose spiraling chiefly attacks any palm tree. It starts marking its territory by feeding onto the juices of the tree and excreting honeydew on the leaves.
The sugary excrete is the root cause of the trouble as it attracts sooty mold fungi. This fungus loves to feed on the honeydew that’s on the leaves. Thus, it spoils the plant.
Though Rugose spiraling whitefly doesn’t kill the plant entirely like the Cycad Scale, it can cause damage by stressing the plant. It blocks the sunlight as it builds its territory on the leaves.
Now we are ready to talk about the focus point. We are sure you want to get to this part soon.
How to get rid of the white powdery mildew on a palm tree?
We bring you the best possible ways to get rid of the white powdery mildew.
1. Get rid of the parts that have been affected
The first and the most common way to eradicate or control the growth of the white fungus is by getting rid of the infected parts.
Like mentioned, the white fungus starts from the underside of the leaves. So, when you check the palm leaves look underneath; if you find the leaves infected, remove them immediately.
By doing so, you’ll stop the spread of the fungus.
2. Never wet the leaves while watering the plant
It’s a fundamental gardening rule, but it’s worth mentioning it. Always use a hose to water the base of your plant. Don’t put water on the plant leaves; they need to stay dry. The roots will do the job of providing sufficient water.
Also, avoid sprinkling water on the leaves as it opens the door for moisture and insects.
3. Spacing and pruning the palm trees
Remember not to overcrowd the plants. They need sufficient space to breathe. When the plants are placed with good air circulation, it reduces the chances of fungus attacks.
The molds tend to attack palm trees that survive under high humid conditions. But since we cannot alter the weather, you can create an environment supporting the plant, and one way is pruning.
Pruning is another excellent way to ensure air circulation.
4. Anti-fungal solutions at the rescue
If the white powdery mildew is noticeable, it means the infection has spread to many parts of the plant; you’ll need to use a fungicide.
You can use both organic and inorganic fungicides to eradicate the white fungus. And you can make organic fungicides at home.
The most used solutions are baking soda, ginger and neem oils, Apple cider vinegar, and solutions made of milk.
It’s easy to put them into action. Spray these solutions on the infected parts and let them dry.
To test the effectiveness of each solution on your plant, you can spray a small amount on the infected areas and check if it works. If the leaf turns yellow or brown after spraying, you must avoid using it as the change in color shows that it’s bad for the plant.
Inorganic fungicides work quickly, but you’ll need to follow the manufacturers’ instructions before using them. Since the inorganic fungicides are most likely to contain harmful chemicals, you must be careful not to affect the plants even more.
You can get the ready-to-use inorganic fungicides from any gardening store or nursery.
Tips to make solutions effective
Remove the white fungus before spraying the solution mix
The white fungus comes off easily as it sits like dust.
Use a dry and clean cloth to wipe the white powdery mildew.
Spray the right amount
To get the best results, you must always spray a generous amount. Let the solution wash off from the infected parts.
Do not wipe the leaves or the stem after spraying; they need to dry naturally. When you give it time, you allow the solution to penetrate well.
Be cautious while using chemical antifungal solutions
You need to spray the right amount; too much chemical solution can kill the plant. And the chemical would also get rid of harmless organisms in and around the plant. Another concerning aspect is that it impacts the soil’s pH balance.
Spray a variety of solutions
Try finding a few solutions that work for your plant and use them alternatively. This will prevent fungi from building resistance. As the fungus can create resistance, using various solutions will make it impossible for the fungus to stand long.
Mornings are the best times for spraying
When sprayed in the morning, you will allow the solution to dry under the sun, and the anti-fungal solution will dive into the affected parts and begin to cure.
It’s ideal for you to spray only once a week. Continue using the solutions if you find no improvement or find slow action.
Take action as soon as you see the white substance appearing on your palm trees. And if you happen to have noticed after the damage is done, don’t panic. Try all the methods to help you get rid of it.
Be careful in using the solutions. Ensure you don’t impact the plant or the soil. Organic solutions are proven to work well, although a few inorganic solutions are equally powerful to erase the white fungus. But you must practice caution.
Choose your method and rejuvenate the lives of your palm trees.