Tropicals forum: Attempting to save a Screw Pine Pandanus from death from a leaf-hopper infection

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Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Gleni
Aug 17, 2014 9:14 PM CST
This was my Screw Pine or Palm Pandanus tectorius last year at 6 November 2013. I grew it from seed which germinated in 2005.



Since then this healthy palm started to go downhill. It was only last month that it occurred to me that it might have the Pandanus Leafhopper infection (Jamella australiae). This leafhopper is native to North Queensland north of here but has been introduced to Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales where it is devastating groves of this iconic species. The problem is that it is kept in check in the north by a parasitic wasp which is not present in the south. You can read about the problem here where a local authority is battling to save their Pandanus.

http://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/PandanusDieback

There is a picture of the leafhopper here. It is about 8mm in length.

http://www.eplantsnoosa.com.au/plant-advice/pandanus-care/

Here, I am going to detail my attempt to save my palm over the coming months by cleaning up the foliage and injecting a systematic insecticide into the trunk and branches.
[Last edited by Gleni - Aug 18, 2014 6:11 AM (+)]
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Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
Bearded Dragon young male
Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
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Gleni
Aug 18, 2014 6:11 AM CST
Here is what it looked like yesterday as I began to remove dead leaves compared to it in its glory days. The change in the palm is sad and pathetic. The leaves are rotted where they meet the trunk or branch and sooty fungus is everywhere. I can see the leaf hoppers but they don't wait to be photographed.


Thumb of 2014-08-18/Gleni/94404c

Today I got rid of most of the dead leaves. The wind was really bad this afternoon and the top of one of the branches just fell off (second from the right).


Thumb of 2014-08-18/Gleni/e02bef

This a photo of all the leaves that have been killed and now removed. The branch top that fell off is in the foreground. I think one other branch has had it and will fall off (extreme right branch in previous picture).

Removing the dead leaves supposedly reduces the leafhopper population and impacts on the sooty fungus.

Thumb of 2014-08-18/Gleni/5cc0ce

As well, I have drilled holes in the truck and branch and used a syringe to inject a systemic insecticide (Yates "Success" - one part to three parts water). The holes will be plugged with plastic bungs, which supposedly will aid healing of the drill holes.

Thumb of 2014-08-18/Gleni/f15de9 Thumb of 2014-08-18/Gleni/c49c6a
[Last edited by Gleni - Aug 19, 2014 2:27 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
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plantladylin
Aug 18, 2014 7:02 AM CST
Glen, that was such a beautiful tree, I sure hope the systematic takes care of those leafhoppers and the tree will return to it's glory! I look forward to hearing of progress.
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eclayne
Aug 18, 2014 7:12 AM CST

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Good luck with this Glen. You obviously babied it along for years.
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mcash70
Aug 18, 2014 8:10 AM CST
Glen, I hope you can save your tree, sad to see what a pest can do in a short period of time. Sad
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Calif_Sue
Aug 18, 2014 8:46 AM CST

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Rooting for you and the tree Glen!
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Name: Jonna
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extranjera
Aug 18, 2014 9:31 AM CST
Oh so sad to see what they have done to such a lovely tree. I'm rooting for you and the tree Gleni, good for you for trying to save it.
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Name: Elaine
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 18, 2014 9:34 AM CST
Glen, we are all cheering for you to succeed there! Way to go with the systemic, but are you going to have to continue with this regime to keep the leafhoppers at bay?

Just an idea here, to slow down the leafhoppers that are already with you, does soapy water spray kill them off? Most insects die if you can hit them with the soapy spray. My experience with systemics containing imidacloprid has been that, like antibiotics used too often, the insects can develop resistance to it over time.

You might experiment on the dead stuff you removed from the tree, and see if soapy water kills the bugs. A 'mechanical' solution for one tree in a home garden often works long term, after the initial infestation is taken care of with the systemic. Btw, have you bagged up all that dead stuff yet, so the bugs don't spread from it? I wouldn't try to compost it, there may be eggs and larvae present.
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Frillylily
Aug 18, 2014 10:04 AM CST
It seems you may need to dispose of the waste from the tree in the proper manner or it will harbor the fungus. I don't know about that, but I would spray it down well with a fungicide and later burn it after it dries out? I'd find out for sure what to do.
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flaflwrgrl
Aug 18, 2014 11:18 AM CST
In the link Glen posted (in another thread) it details how to dispose of the parts you remove so the bugs won't spread from that stuff so I'm sure Glen is following that protocol.
Let me go see if I can find the link. BRB....
Here, I found the post:
http://garden.org/thread/view_post/681857/

If I recall correctly, the tree is 8 or 9 years old now. I'm sure Glen is asleep now as it's night time in Oz.
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Name: Elaine
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 18, 2014 12:17 PM CST
I wonder if the local shire is looking into importing the parasitic wasp? That would seem to me to be the real 'long term solution'.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
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Gleni
Aug 18, 2014 9:33 PM CST
Many thanks everyone. I hope we win.

Here is a spiel on the wasp.

http://www.discoveryplanet.com.au/jamella-australiae-big-dra...

Here is an article about the wasp being introduced in the south. Our local council, Redland City Council, has not.

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/pandanus-face-thre...

This morning I spent several hours mulching the leaves I removed, which I will compost. This is one recommendation. The fungus infection is much enabled by the leafhoppers sugary secretions.

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/vegetation/pandanusdieback...

Thumb of 2014-08-19/Gleni/4133e9

In the high winds last night, no new branches fell off the palm.

Elaine, the leaves fit so tightly with each other in a screw and I wouldn't be able to get the soapy water between them. As well, it is 10-14 feet high and I am very unsteady on a ladder in my older age. (But I would try it if I could. I will have to think of something because the systemic doesn't last).

This also means I cannot get up high enough to get off all the diseased leaves which is much recommended. So I will have to pray here a bit despite all my good intentions.

The rot really does smell.
[Last edited by Gleni - Aug 24, 2014 12:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 19, 2014 9:29 AM CST
How about a pump sprayer for the soapy water, Glen? Mine gets 2m. or so above my head if I keep it pumped up.

It also holds 8 liters which could probably spray your whole tree in one go. With the pressurized spray it might get a little ways into the leaf axils, too.

I'd also spray the dead leaves that you mulched up with the soapy water, to kill off any larvae that might have survived the mulching process. It might help with the smell, too. Big Grin I have found it helps a bit with removing the sooty mold off the living leaves as well. I leave the soapy water on the plant for a little while, then rinse the whole thing with a sharp spray from the hose.
Elaine

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lovemyhouse
Aug 19, 2014 12:03 PM CST
Pulling for you and the tree, Glen.
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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
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flaflwrgrl
Aug 19, 2014 12:11 PM CST
Here too Glen.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
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Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
Bearded Dragon young male
Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
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Gleni
Aug 23, 2014 11:39 PM CST
Lots of rain and wind in the last few days. Another top of a branch came off last night (the topless one on the right). That is two now terminally gone and six left out of eight branches.

Thumb of 2014-08-24/Gleni/5b00e9

You can see the rot at the base of the leaves of the top that fell off.

Thumb of 2014-08-24/Gleni/674f3c

The top just snaps through because of the fungus.

Thumb of 2014-08-24/Gleni/9b2038
Thumb of 2014-08-24/Gleni/e8824f

This is not looking good. But onwards.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Aug 24, 2014 12:00 AM CST
Sad, incredibly sad, Glen.
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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
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flaflwrgrl
Aug 24, 2014 4:54 AM CST
Crying Glen but still holding out hope. Group hug Group hug
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
Bearded Dragon young male
Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plays in the sandbox Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Hybridizer Composter Sedums
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Gleni
Sep 17, 2014 11:04 PM CST
Another two branches have snapped off. It looks like several will soon follow. Just one thunderstorm will do it.

All I need is one branch to live to be successful. Crying

Thumb of 2014-09-18/Gleni/c36f64


Thumb of 2014-09-18/Gleni/bc8799

Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Sep 17, 2014 11:16 PM CST
That is just incredibly sad, Glen. Isn't this the first of the Screw Pines that I saw and asked you about? Such an unusual tree and I surely hope you get that one living branch!
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