• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Copyright
 Title Page
 Market considerations
 Site considerations
 Product mix
 Production density and nursery...
 Starter material and planting
 Irrigation
 Fertilization
 Trouble-shooting nutritional...
 Weed control
 Pests
 Diseases
 Cold protection
 Harvesting the crop
 Reference






Group Title: Florida Cooperative Extension Service circular 877
Title: Field production of palms
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00049224/00001
 Material Information
Title: Field production of palms
Series Title: Circular
Physical Description: 12 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Meerow, Alan W
Broschat, Timothy K
Miller, Jack
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1990
 Subjects
Subject: Palms -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 12).
Statement of Responsibility: by Alan W. Meerow, Timothy K. Broschat and Jack Miller.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "April 1990."
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00049224
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 21989247

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Market considerations
        Page 3
    Site considerations
        Page 3
    Product mix
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Production density and nursery layout
        Page 6
    Starter material and planting
        Page 7
    Irrigation
        Page 7
    Fertilization
        Page 7
    Trouble-shooting nutritional problems
        Page 8
    Weed control
        Page 9
    Pests
        Page 9
    Diseases
        Page 9
    Cold protection
        Page 10
    Harvesting the crop
        Page 11
    Reference
        Page 12
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida





(,'.
CIR 877
Marston Science
Library
APR 2 8 1997

FIELD PRODUCTION OQstPAAbMS

by Alan W. Meerow, Timothy K. Broschat and Jack Miller


UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA
Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences







































Disclaimer


The listing of specific trade names here is for information
purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement of these
products in preference to others containing the same active ingredi-
ents.


1 4nNs.4o,












Field Production of Palms


By Alan W. Meerow, Timothy K. Broschat and Jack Miller*


Palms are important landscape ornamentals
throughout the sunbelt, and are increasingly used as
components of elaborate interiorscapes within malls
and office buildings. Specimen-size palms continue to
enjoy premium market value because demand for
large material outstrips the supply. Field production
is the most practical means of producing large palm
specimens and has several advantages over container
production. Yield per acre can be maximized com-
pared to many other woody ornamentals due to the
columnar growth habit of most palms and their abil-
ity to survive transplanting with a minimal root ball.
When dug and tied properly, many more palms can be
loaded into a standard shipping container than could
similarly-sized trees. Palms also offer great versatil-
ity in the method of field harvesting.

Market Considerations
Field-grown palms can be produced for many
different markets. These include:
exterior landscape specimens
interior landscape specimens
mass market (containerized after harvest from
the field)
seed production
cut palm frond production.
It is important to determine the potential mar-
ket before the nursery is put into production, as labor
and setup costs and nursery design will vary depend-
ing on the targeted market. For example, seed pro-
duction is probably the least labor-intensive type of
palm field operation. Field growing of mass market
palms allows the largest number of palms to be grown
per acre since they will be harvested at a smaller size
than specimen material. However, it has the greatest
labor costs, due to the need to containerize the mate-
rial after harvest. In the case of palm frond produc-
tion, a serious consideration for domestic producers
is competition from offshore producers for whom
labor costs are so much lower.


Site Considerations
Palms are adaptable to a wide range of soil types
for field production. In Florida, successful field nurs-
eries have been established on sand, marl and muck.
Ideally, the soil on the site should be well-drained to
provide adequate aeration for root growth, as well as
ease of harvest during periods of heavy rain. A slope
of 1 to 2% is usually adequate for surface water
drainage. In soils such as marl and muck, which have
high water-holding capacity and often occur in areas
with high water tables, it may be necessary to "bed
up" the planting rows, to raise the root zone above
standing water. Palms have even been successfully
grown on shallow soils (18 to 24") overlying rock,
though such poor sites should be avoided if possible.
Avoid low-lying areas susceptible to cold air drainage
ifmarginally hardy palms are selected for production.
If standing water or high water tables are a year-
round feature of the site, select species with high
moisture tolerance (low drought tolerance in Table 1)
rather than very drought-tolerant species, which may
be native to desert or semi-arid areas. For additional
information on site selection, refer to the Cooperative
Extension publication OHC-7, Considerations for
Selecting a Wholesale Woody Ornamental Nursery
Site, available at your county Cooperative Extension
office.

Product Mix
The greatest diversity of palm species suitable
for field production exists in south Florida, where
many tender tropical species can be safely grown.
Most of these species cannot be produced where freez-
ing temperatures will be experienced regularly. Table
1 lists an assortment of palm species, their growth
rate, nutrient requirements, drought tolerance, and
the Florida climatic zone where they can be safely
produced. In choosing species to produce, growers
should consider some of the slower-growing or less
common trees which can fetch a high market price,
rather than using only fast-growing, well-known, and
potentially over-produced species (for example Queen


* Alan Meerow is Assistant Professor of Foliage and Nursery Crops and Timothy Broschat is Associate Professor of Tropical
Ornamentals, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, IFAS, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Jack Miller is owner of Botanics
Wholesale nursery, Homestead, FL.












Field Production of Palms


By Alan W. Meerow, Timothy K. Broschat and Jack Miller*


Palms are important landscape ornamentals
throughout the sunbelt, and are increasingly used as
components of elaborate interiorscapes within malls
and office buildings. Specimen-size palms continue to
enjoy premium market value because demand for
large material outstrips the supply. Field production
is the most practical means of producing large palm
specimens and has several advantages over container
production. Yield per acre can be maximized com-
pared to many other woody ornamentals due to the
columnar growth habit of most palms and their abil-
ity to survive transplanting with a minimal root ball.
When dug and tied properly, many more palms can be
loaded into a standard shipping container than could
similarly-sized trees. Palms also offer great versatil-
ity in the method of field harvesting.

Market Considerations
Field-grown palms can be produced for many
different markets. These include:
exterior landscape specimens
interior landscape specimens
mass market (containerized after harvest from
the field)
seed production
cut palm frond production.
It is important to determine the potential mar-
ket before the nursery is put into production, as labor
and setup costs and nursery design will vary depend-
ing on the targeted market. For example, seed pro-
duction is probably the least labor-intensive type of
palm field operation. Field growing of mass market
palms allows the largest number of palms to be grown
per acre since they will be harvested at a smaller size
than specimen material. However, it has the greatest
labor costs, due to the need to containerize the mate-
rial after harvest. In the case of palm frond produc-
tion, a serious consideration for domestic producers
is competition from offshore producers for whom
labor costs are so much lower.


Site Considerations
Palms are adaptable to a wide range of soil types
for field production. In Florida, successful field nurs-
eries have been established on sand, marl and muck.
Ideally, the soil on the site should be well-drained to
provide adequate aeration for root growth, as well as
ease of harvest during periods of heavy rain. A slope
of 1 to 2% is usually adequate for surface water
drainage. In soils such as marl and muck, which have
high water-holding capacity and often occur in areas
with high water tables, it may be necessary to "bed
up" the planting rows, to raise the root zone above
standing water. Palms have even been successfully
grown on shallow soils (18 to 24") overlying rock,
though such poor sites should be avoided if possible.
Avoid low-lying areas susceptible to cold air drainage
ifmarginally hardy palms are selected for production.
If standing water or high water tables are a year-
round feature of the site, select species with high
moisture tolerance (low drought tolerance in Table 1)
rather than very drought-tolerant species, which may
be native to desert or semi-arid areas. For additional
information on site selection, refer to the Cooperative
Extension publication OHC-7, Considerations for
Selecting a Wholesale Woody Ornamental Nursery
Site, available at your county Cooperative Extension
office.

Product Mix
The greatest diversity of palm species suitable
for field production exists in south Florida, where
many tender tropical species can be safely grown.
Most of these species cannot be produced where freez-
ing temperatures will be experienced regularly. Table
1 lists an assortment of palm species, their growth
rate, nutrient requirements, drought tolerance, and
the Florida climatic zone where they can be safely
produced. In choosing species to produce, growers
should consider some of the slower-growing or less
common trees which can fetch a high market price,
rather than using only fast-growing, well-known, and
potentially over-produced species (for example Queen


* Alan Meerow is Assistant Professor of Foliage and Nursery Crops and Timothy Broschat is Associate Professor of Tropical
Ornamentals, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, IFAS, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Jack Miller is owner of Botanics
Wholesale nursery, Homestead, FL.












Field Production of Palms


By Alan W. Meerow, Timothy K. Broschat and Jack Miller*


Palms are important landscape ornamentals
throughout the sunbelt, and are increasingly used as
components of elaborate interiorscapes within malls
and office buildings. Specimen-size palms continue to
enjoy premium market value because demand for
large material outstrips the supply. Field production
is the most practical means of producing large palm
specimens and has several advantages over container
production. Yield per acre can be maximized com-
pared to many other woody ornamentals due to the
columnar growth habit of most palms and their abil-
ity to survive transplanting with a minimal root ball.
When dug and tied properly, many more palms can be
loaded into a standard shipping container than could
similarly-sized trees. Palms also offer great versatil-
ity in the method of field harvesting.

Market Considerations
Field-grown palms can be produced for many
different markets. These include:
exterior landscape specimens
interior landscape specimens
mass market (containerized after harvest from
the field)
seed production
cut palm frond production.
It is important to determine the potential mar-
ket before the nursery is put into production, as labor
and setup costs and nursery design will vary depend-
ing on the targeted market. For example, seed pro-
duction is probably the least labor-intensive type of
palm field operation. Field growing of mass market
palms allows the largest number of palms to be grown
per acre since they will be harvested at a smaller size
than specimen material. However, it has the greatest
labor costs, due to the need to containerize the mate-
rial after harvest. In the case of palm frond produc-
tion, a serious consideration for domestic producers
is competition from offshore producers for whom
labor costs are so much lower.


Site Considerations
Palms are adaptable to a wide range of soil types
for field production. In Florida, successful field nurs-
eries have been established on sand, marl and muck.
Ideally, the soil on the site should be well-drained to
provide adequate aeration for root growth, as well as
ease of harvest during periods of heavy rain. A slope
of 1 to 2% is usually adequate for surface water
drainage. In soils such as marl and muck, which have
high water-holding capacity and often occur in areas
with high water tables, it may be necessary to "bed
up" the planting rows, to raise the root zone above
standing water. Palms have even been successfully
grown on shallow soils (18 to 24") overlying rock,
though such poor sites should be avoided if possible.
Avoid low-lying areas susceptible to cold air drainage
ifmarginally hardy palms are selected for production.
If standing water or high water tables are a year-
round feature of the site, select species with high
moisture tolerance (low drought tolerance in Table 1)
rather than very drought-tolerant species, which may
be native to desert or semi-arid areas. For additional
information on site selection, refer to the Cooperative
Extension publication OHC-7, Considerations for
Selecting a Wholesale Woody Ornamental Nursery
Site, available at your county Cooperative Extension
office.

Product Mix
The greatest diversity of palm species suitable
for field production exists in south Florida, where
many tender tropical species can be safely grown.
Most of these species cannot be produced where freez-
ing temperatures will be experienced regularly. Table
1 lists an assortment of palm species, their growth
rate, nutrient requirements, drought tolerance, and
the Florida climatic zone where they can be safely
produced. In choosing species to produce, growers
should consider some of the slower-growing or less
common trees which can fetch a high market price,
rather than using only fast-growing, well-known, and
potentially over-produced species (for example Queen


* Alan Meerow is Assistant Professor of Foliage and Nursery Crops and Timothy Broschat is Associate Professor of Tropical
Ornamentals, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, IFAS, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Jack Miller is owner of Botanics
Wholesale nursery, Homestead, FL.










Table 1. Palms suitable for field production in Florida.

Scientific Name Common Name Growth'
Rate


Acoelorrhaphe wrightii


Acrocomia total

Allagoptera arenaria

Archontophoenix
alexandrae

Bismarckia nobilis

Butia capitata

Carpentaria acuminata

Caryota mitis

Caryota urens

Chamaedorea
cataractarum

Chamaedorea elegans

Chamaedorea seifrizii

Chamaerops humilis

Chrysalidocarpus
lutescens

Coccothrinax alta

Coccothrinax argentata

Cocos nucifera

Dictyosperma album


Heterospathe elata

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis

Hyophorbe
verschaffeltii

Latania loddigesii

Latania lontaroides

Licuala grandis

Licuala spinosa

Livistona chinensis

Livistona rotundifolia

Neodypsis decaryi

Phoenix canariensis


Paurotis palm,
Everglades palm

Grugru palm

Seashore palm

Alexandra palm, King
Alexander palm

Bismarck palm

Pindo palm, Jelly palm

Carpentaria palm

Fishtail palm

Toddy fishtail palm

Cat palm


Parlor palm

Bamboo palm

European fan palm

Areca palm, Butterfly
palm

Silver palm

Silver palm

Coconut palm

Hurricane palm,
Princess palm

Sagisi palm

Bottle palm

Spindle palm


Blue latan palm

Red latan palm

Licuala palm

Spiny licuala

Chinese fan palm

Roundleaf livistona

Triangle palm

Canary Island date


S


Hardiness2


Hardiness2
Zone

C, S


S

C, N, S

S

S

S

S


S

S

C, N, S

S


S

S

S

S

C, S

S

S

C, N, S


Drought3
Tolerance

H


H

H

H


H

H

L

H

H

M


M

M

H

H


H

H

H

H


H

H

H


H

H

H

H

H

M

H

H


Nutritional3
Requirements

M


M

L

M


M

M

M

M

M

M


M

M

M

H


M

L

M

M


M

M

H


M

M

M

M

L

M

M

M

(Table 1 Continues Pg. 5)









(Table 1 Continued)
Phoenix dactylifera

Phoenix reclinata


Phoenix roebelenii

Phoenix rupicola

Pritchardia spp.

Pseudophoenix sargentii


Ptychosperma elegans

Ptychosperma macarthuri

Ravenea rivularis

Rhapidophyllum hystrix

Rhapis excelsa

Roystonea elata

Roystonea regia

Sabal etonia

Sabal minor

Sabal palmetto


Syagrus romanzoffiana


Syagrus schizophylla

Thrinax morrisii

Thrinax radiata

Trachycarpus fortune

Veitchia merrilli



Veitchia mcdanielsi

Veitchia montgomeryana

Veitchia winin

Washingtonia filifera

Washingtonia robusta

Wodyetia bifurcata


Date palm

Senegal date,
Reclinata palm

Pygmy date palm

Cliff date

Pritchardia palm

Buccaneer palm,
Cherry palm

Solitaire palm

Macarthur palm

Majesty Palm

Needle palm

Lady palm

Florida royal palm

Cuban royal palm

Scrub palmetto

Dwarf palmetto

Cabbage palmetto,
Sabal palm

Queen palm, Cocos
plumosa

Arikury palm

Key Thatch palm

Thatch palm

Windmill palm

Manilla palm,
Adonidia,
Christmas palm

Sunshine palm

Mongomery's palm

Winin palm

Desert fan palm

Washington palm

Foxtail palm


S

S

S

C, N, S

C, S

S

S

C, N, S

C, N, S

C, N, S


C, S

S

S

C, N, S

S



S

S

S

C, N, S

C, N, S

S


SS = slow, M = moderate, F = fast
2C = central Florida, N = north Florida, S = south Florida
3L = low, M = medium, H = high







palm, Syagrus romanzoffiana). In some cases, inter-
cropping (see next section) allows both types of palms
to be integrated into the same production area.

Production Density and
Nursery Layout
The growth habit of many palms allows great
flexibility in terms of the production density. Popula-
tions of field grown palms can vary from 450 to 4,000
plants per acre, depending on the market size to
which the palms are grown. The other main consid-
eration for planting density should be the method of
harvest. Palms that will be mechanically harvested
must be planted with sufficient room between rows
and between plants for machinery access without
damage to the trees. If the palms will be dug manu-
ally, density can be increased. It has been estimated
that a 25% increase overall in planting density can be
implemented in most palm field nurseries without
increasing non-labor costs. A 3-foot center planting
distance is possible for palms grown for the mass
market, since they will be harvested for containeriza-
tion at a smaller size than specimen material. Most
palms intended for the exterior and interior specimen
market can be planted at 4-foot centers without no-
ticeable decline in quality. One exception is Mexican
fan palm (Washingtonia robusta), which requires
larger spacing (8 foot centers). Coconut (Cocos nucif-
era) and royal (Roystonea regia) palms may also
benefit from larger spacing. Field palms are produced
in one of two ways: monoculture and intercropping.
Monoculture
In this type of field, a single species is grown per
row, usually on large centers (8 feet). This is the most
land intensive layout design for palms, but is the best
suited for mechanized harvest. Mexican fan palm
(Washingtonia robusta) is one species often grown in
this manner as it is not as well adapted to intercrop-
ping as other species and requires a large amount of
space. However, some growers have successfully
intercropped this species.
Intercropping
Many field palm growers in Florida have found
that intercropping palm species or other ornamentals
with their palms maximizes yield per acre without
substantially increasing non-labor costs (Fig. 1). Most
often, a slow-growing species is intercropped with a
faster growing species. Palms situated at 4-foot
centers from each other have been successfully inter-
cropped with broad-leaved trees such as live oaks
(Quercus virginiana) and Royal poinciana (Delonix
regia), but the tree species should be planted at 8-foot
centers from each other within the row. When inter-


Fig. 1 Palms interplanted in a south Florida field
nursery.


cropping, harvesting must be timed so that undesir-
able shading of one of the intercrops does not occur.
Empty space should be re-used quickly to maximize
yields per acre. In some cases, a shade-tolerant
second intercrop can replace the first after it is har-
vested.


S///i//


Fig. 2 Palms planted on a raised bed in a south
Florida field nursery.









Nursery layout
Space between rows will depend primarily on
the size of the equipment used for harvest. Eight to 12
feet between rows is common, and allows for the
movement of heavy equipment through the field.
Many Florida growers "bed up" the planting rows,
raising them 1 to 1 1/2 feet above the surface between
the rows (Fig. 2). This can be mandatory where high
water tables create drainage problems in the field.
The beds are usually from 2 to 4 feet wide. Two
advantages of this method over a flat planting field
are averting the danger of "burying" the base of the
palm with soil thrown up by machinery when culti-
vating a flat planting surface, and greater ease for
manual harvest. The main disadvantage of bedding
occurs when weak-rooted species are grown (for ex-
ample, queen palm and its relatives, Syagrus spe-
cies). During high wind and rain, weak-rooted palms
are more susceptible to being blown over if planted in
raised beds. A staggered, diamond-shaped double
row (approximately 4 feet wide) maximizes both
sunlight penetration into the canopy and yield per
acre.

Starter Material and Planting
For field grown palms intended for the specimen
market, liner stock will usually be 3 to 5 gallon-sized
material. Lining out larger material (7 to 10 gallon)
is not uncommon, but may be cost prohibitive. Liners
for the containerized mass market can be slightly
smaller, from 1 to 3 gallon containers. Smaller liners,
though lower in cost, will likely experience higher
mortality rates after transplanting. Palms, as a rule,
are intolerant of being planted too deeply. Liners
should not be planted in the field any deeper than they
were in the container. Irrigate lining stock soon after
the field is planted, and top-dress with a granular
fertilizer two weeks after planting. If a foliar fertili-
zation program will be used, it can begin immediately
after the field is planted.

Irrigation
Frequency of irrigation in a palm field nursery
will depend on soil type; the hydrology of the site (that
is, height of the water table); the species grown and
their age in the field; fertilization intensity; and the
amount of rainfall received at the nursery. Some palm
species (for example, Mexican fan palm, Washing-
tonia robusta) can suffer rapidly from overwatering,
particularly when planted on soils with high mois-
ture-holding capacity. Daily irrigation may be neces-
sary for newly-planted fields on soils with poor water-
holding capacity for the first 6 to 12 months of estab-
lishment, especially if high temperatures and little


rainfall are experienced. On marl and some muck
soils, much less frequent irrigation may suffice for
establishment. Some growers use specially formu-
lated transplant solutions one to three times after
lining out a field. One- to 2-year old fields may require
three or four irrigations per week; 2 to 3 -year old
fields, two to three irrigations. It may be possible to
eliminate supplemental irrigation for older fields on
soils with high moisture holding capacity such as
marl. Fast-draining sandy soils will require more
frequent irrigation. Duration of irrigation should be
sufficient to moisten the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 feet on
deep, well-drained soils. Shallow soils should be
moist down to the underlying rock after irrigation.
Palms listed in Table 1 as highly drought tolerant will
require the least frequent irrigation. Fields devoted
to such species can be allowed to dry out within the top
few inches of soil once liners have established (after
the first year or two of growth). If interplants of
species with very different drought tolerances are
used in the field, irrigation frequency will need to be
adjusted to some median level.
The majority of palm field nurseries in Florida
utilize overhead irrigation. Some palm fields have no
irrigation system at all, but these operations are
likely to suffer the greatest loss during cold weather
(see Cold Protection section below). Drip irrigation is
a beneficial alternative where water restrictions are
in effect or where water costs are prohibitively high.
Drip systems are also an efficient delivery system for
liquid fertilizers on soils with good lateral water
movement. For more information on nursery irriga-
tion systems, refer to the following Cooperative Ex-
tension publications, available from your county
Cooperative Extension office: OHC-5, Drip Irrigation
for the Woody Ornamental Nursery; Circular 808,
Irrigation of Container and Field Grown Ornamen-
tals; Circular 821, Irrigation Systems for Crop Pro-
duction in Florida: Descriptions and Costs; Bulletin
195, Field Evaluation of Trickle Irrigation Systems:
Uniformity ofWaterApplication; Bulletin 204, Trickle
Irrigation Scheduling 1: Durations of Water Applica-
tions; Bulletin 207,Agricultural Water Measurement;
and Bulletin 254, Irrigation Scheduling with Evapo-
ration Pans.

Fertilization
Little or no research exists on fertilization rates
for field-grown palms. Rates will vary with the soil
type and size of the palms. In general, granular
fertilizers are typically applied to the soil at rates
starting at 1/2 to 1 lb. for small, recently planted
palms, to 5 lbs. or more for large royal or coconut
palms spaced 8 feet or more apart. Fertilizers should
be broadcast or banded under the canopy of the palm,









Nursery layout
Space between rows will depend primarily on
the size of the equipment used for harvest. Eight to 12
feet between rows is common, and allows for the
movement of heavy equipment through the field.
Many Florida growers "bed up" the planting rows,
raising them 1 to 1 1/2 feet above the surface between
the rows (Fig. 2). This can be mandatory where high
water tables create drainage problems in the field.
The beds are usually from 2 to 4 feet wide. Two
advantages of this method over a flat planting field
are averting the danger of "burying" the base of the
palm with soil thrown up by machinery when culti-
vating a flat planting surface, and greater ease for
manual harvest. The main disadvantage of bedding
occurs when weak-rooted species are grown (for ex-
ample, queen palm and its relatives, Syagrus spe-
cies). During high wind and rain, weak-rooted palms
are more susceptible to being blown over if planted in
raised beds. A staggered, diamond-shaped double
row (approximately 4 feet wide) maximizes both
sunlight penetration into the canopy and yield per
acre.

Starter Material and Planting
For field grown palms intended for the specimen
market, liner stock will usually be 3 to 5 gallon-sized
material. Lining out larger material (7 to 10 gallon)
is not uncommon, but may be cost prohibitive. Liners
for the containerized mass market can be slightly
smaller, from 1 to 3 gallon containers. Smaller liners,
though lower in cost, will likely experience higher
mortality rates after transplanting. Palms, as a rule,
are intolerant of being planted too deeply. Liners
should not be planted in the field any deeper than they
were in the container. Irrigate lining stock soon after
the field is planted, and top-dress with a granular
fertilizer two weeks after planting. If a foliar fertili-
zation program will be used, it can begin immediately
after the field is planted.

Irrigation
Frequency of irrigation in a palm field nursery
will depend on soil type; the hydrology of the site (that
is, height of the water table); the species grown and
their age in the field; fertilization intensity; and the
amount of rainfall received at the nursery. Some palm
species (for example, Mexican fan palm, Washing-
tonia robusta) can suffer rapidly from overwatering,
particularly when planted on soils with high mois-
ture-holding capacity. Daily irrigation may be neces-
sary for newly-planted fields on soils with poor water-
holding capacity for the first 6 to 12 months of estab-
lishment, especially if high temperatures and little


rainfall are experienced. On marl and some muck
soils, much less frequent irrigation may suffice for
establishment. Some growers use specially formu-
lated transplant solutions one to three times after
lining out a field. One- to 2-year old fields may require
three or four irrigations per week; 2 to 3 -year old
fields, two to three irrigations. It may be possible to
eliminate supplemental irrigation for older fields on
soils with high moisture holding capacity such as
marl. Fast-draining sandy soils will require more
frequent irrigation. Duration of irrigation should be
sufficient to moisten the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 feet on
deep, well-drained soils. Shallow soils should be
moist down to the underlying rock after irrigation.
Palms listed in Table 1 as highly drought tolerant will
require the least frequent irrigation. Fields devoted
to such species can be allowed to dry out within the top
few inches of soil once liners have established (after
the first year or two of growth). If interplants of
species with very different drought tolerances are
used in the field, irrigation frequency will need to be
adjusted to some median level.
The majority of palm field nurseries in Florida
utilize overhead irrigation. Some palm fields have no
irrigation system at all, but these operations are
likely to suffer the greatest loss during cold weather
(see Cold Protection section below). Drip irrigation is
a beneficial alternative where water restrictions are
in effect or where water costs are prohibitively high.
Drip systems are also an efficient delivery system for
liquid fertilizers on soils with good lateral water
movement. For more information on nursery irriga-
tion systems, refer to the following Cooperative Ex-
tension publications, available from your county
Cooperative Extension office: OHC-5, Drip Irrigation
for the Woody Ornamental Nursery; Circular 808,
Irrigation of Container and Field Grown Ornamen-
tals; Circular 821, Irrigation Systems for Crop Pro-
duction in Florida: Descriptions and Costs; Bulletin
195, Field Evaluation of Trickle Irrigation Systems:
Uniformity ofWaterApplication; Bulletin 204, Trickle
Irrigation Scheduling 1: Durations of Water Applica-
tions; Bulletin 207,Agricultural Water Measurement;
and Bulletin 254, Irrigation Scheduling with Evapo-
ration Pans.

Fertilization
Little or no research exists on fertilization rates
for field-grown palms. Rates will vary with the soil
type and size of the palms. In general, granular
fertilizers are typically applied to the soil at rates
starting at 1/2 to 1 lb. for small, recently planted
palms, to 5 lbs. or more for large royal or coconut
palms spaced 8 feet or more apart. Fertilizers should
be broadcast or banded under the canopy of the palm,









Nursery layout
Space between rows will depend primarily on
the size of the equipment used for harvest. Eight to 12
feet between rows is common, and allows for the
movement of heavy equipment through the field.
Many Florida growers "bed up" the planting rows,
raising them 1 to 1 1/2 feet above the surface between
the rows (Fig. 2). This can be mandatory where high
water tables create drainage problems in the field.
The beds are usually from 2 to 4 feet wide. Two
advantages of this method over a flat planting field
are averting the danger of "burying" the base of the
palm with soil thrown up by machinery when culti-
vating a flat planting surface, and greater ease for
manual harvest. The main disadvantage of bedding
occurs when weak-rooted species are grown (for ex-
ample, queen palm and its relatives, Syagrus spe-
cies). During high wind and rain, weak-rooted palms
are more susceptible to being blown over if planted in
raised beds. A staggered, diamond-shaped double
row (approximately 4 feet wide) maximizes both
sunlight penetration into the canopy and yield per
acre.

Starter Material and Planting
For field grown palms intended for the specimen
market, liner stock will usually be 3 to 5 gallon-sized
material. Lining out larger material (7 to 10 gallon)
is not uncommon, but may be cost prohibitive. Liners
for the containerized mass market can be slightly
smaller, from 1 to 3 gallon containers. Smaller liners,
though lower in cost, will likely experience higher
mortality rates after transplanting. Palms, as a rule,
are intolerant of being planted too deeply. Liners
should not be planted in the field any deeper than they
were in the container. Irrigate lining stock soon after
the field is planted, and top-dress with a granular
fertilizer two weeks after planting. If a foliar fertili-
zation program will be used, it can begin immediately
after the field is planted.

Irrigation
Frequency of irrigation in a palm field nursery
will depend on soil type; the hydrology of the site (that
is, height of the water table); the species grown and
their age in the field; fertilization intensity; and the
amount of rainfall received at the nursery. Some palm
species (for example, Mexican fan palm, Washing-
tonia robusta) can suffer rapidly from overwatering,
particularly when planted on soils with high mois-
ture-holding capacity. Daily irrigation may be neces-
sary for newly-planted fields on soils with poor water-
holding capacity for the first 6 to 12 months of estab-
lishment, especially if high temperatures and little


rainfall are experienced. On marl and some muck
soils, much less frequent irrigation may suffice for
establishment. Some growers use specially formu-
lated transplant solutions one to three times after
lining out a field. One- to 2-year old fields may require
three or four irrigations per week; 2 to 3 -year old
fields, two to three irrigations. It may be possible to
eliminate supplemental irrigation for older fields on
soils with high moisture holding capacity such as
marl. Fast-draining sandy soils will require more
frequent irrigation. Duration of irrigation should be
sufficient to moisten the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 feet on
deep, well-drained soils. Shallow soils should be
moist down to the underlying rock after irrigation.
Palms listed in Table 1 as highly drought tolerant will
require the least frequent irrigation. Fields devoted
to such species can be allowed to dry out within the top
few inches of soil once liners have established (after
the first year or two of growth). If interplants of
species with very different drought tolerances are
used in the field, irrigation frequency will need to be
adjusted to some median level.
The majority of palm field nurseries in Florida
utilize overhead irrigation. Some palm fields have no
irrigation system at all, but these operations are
likely to suffer the greatest loss during cold weather
(see Cold Protection section below). Drip irrigation is
a beneficial alternative where water restrictions are
in effect or where water costs are prohibitively high.
Drip systems are also an efficient delivery system for
liquid fertilizers on soils with good lateral water
movement. For more information on nursery irriga-
tion systems, refer to the following Cooperative Ex-
tension publications, available from your county
Cooperative Extension office: OHC-5, Drip Irrigation
for the Woody Ornamental Nursery; Circular 808,
Irrigation of Container and Field Grown Ornamen-
tals; Circular 821, Irrigation Systems for Crop Pro-
duction in Florida: Descriptions and Costs; Bulletin
195, Field Evaluation of Trickle Irrigation Systems:
Uniformity ofWaterApplication; Bulletin 204, Trickle
Irrigation Scheduling 1: Durations of Water Applica-
tions; Bulletin 207,Agricultural Water Measurement;
and Bulletin 254, Irrigation Scheduling with Evapo-
ration Pans.

Fertilization
Little or no research exists on fertilization rates
for field-grown palms. Rates will vary with the soil
type and size of the palms. In general, granular
fertilizers are typically applied to the soil at rates
starting at 1/2 to 1 lb. for small, recently planted
palms, to 5 lbs. or more for large royal or coconut
palms spaced 8 feet or more apart. Fertilizers should
be broadcast or banded under the canopy of the palm,









but should not be placed up against the trunk where
newly emerging roots may be injured. Fertilizers
should be applied four times per year for maximum
growth, but on the more fertile marl and muck soils,
fewer applications may be adequate. If granular
fertilizers will be used with drip systems, the fertil-
izer should be banded directly below the drip emit-
ters. Fertility varies greatly among soil types in
south Florida, but certain nutrient elements are
consistently lacking in all soil types and must be
applied through fertilization. These are nitrogen (N),
potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), and manganese
(Mn). A good balanced fertilizer for south Florida
should have 10 to 20% N, 5% P (phosphorus), 10 to
20% K (equal to % N), 2 to 5% Mg, and .5% of Mn and
Fe (iron). It should also contain sulfur and trace
amounts of zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and boron (B). It is
very important that the N, K, and preferably also Mg
be present in controlled release forms such as resin- or
sulfur-coated products. Water soluble N, K, and Mg
sources can be used, but they must be applied much
more frequently to compensate for the rapid leaching
of these elements through the soil.
Foliar fertilization is a fairly common practice in
palm production. It is a rather inefficient method for
providing macronutrient elements such as N, K, and
Mg; however, it is very useful for supplying micronu-
trients such as Mn and Fe to the plants when soil
conditions prevent adequate uptake of these ele-
ments by the roots. Foliar fertilization is best used to
supplement a normal soil fertilization program, par-
ticularly for micronutrients, and can be performed in
conjunction with regular fungicide applications.
Liquid fertilization programs are not the most
efficient delivery system for field nurseries, especially
when overhead irrigation is used. The soluble nature
of liquid fertilizer results in leaching or runoff of a
great deal of the nutrients before uptake by the roots.
To compensate, the grower often increases either
rates or frequency of application, which results in
waste and the potential for ground or surface water
contamination. If drip irrigation is used in the field,
injection of liquid fertilizer through the system may
be cost-effective, and the problems inherent in over-
head delivery may be minimized. For newly planted
to 1-year old fields, a constant fertilization program
delivering approximately 150 ppm of both N and K
(and half as much Mg) will probablybe adequate. This
can be incrementally increased up to 300 ppm for 3-
year and older palm fields. If a constant fertigation
program is considered feasible and advantageous,
refer to Cooperative Extension Bulletin 231, Fertiga-
tion Management for the Wholesale Container Nurs-
ery; and Circular 695, Techniques ofDiluting Solution
Fertilizers in Commercial Nurseries and Greenhouses
for more information. Itis a good idea to have your soil


and irrigation water tested before formulating the
nutrient analysis of your solution fertilizer.

Trouble-Shooting
Nutritional Problems
Potassium deficiency is a common problem in
field grown palms in south Florida. Symptoms appear
first on the oldest leaves and progress up through the
canopy as the deficiency becomes more severe. Symp-
toms include translucent yellow or orange spots on
the oldest leaves, necrotic spots, marginal necrosis on
the leaflets, discoloration of the oldest leaves, and a
withering or frizzling of the leaf tips or entire older
leaves. In severe cases, the symptoms may be con-
fused with Mn deficiency ("frizzletop") and like that
disorder, K deficiency can be fatal to palms if un-
treated. It is prevented by regular applications of
fertilizers containing 10 to 20% K from coated potas-
sium sulfate. Once present, it can be corrected over a
1 to 2-year period. In addition to the routine fertiliza-
tion outlined above, apply coated potassium sulfate or
nitrate at rates equal to those used for the regular fer-
tilizer, plus half as much magnesium sulfate, four
times per year.
Magnesium deficiency is also a very common
problem in south Florida palms. Like K deficiency,
symptoms occur first on older leaves, but typically
consist of broad light yellow bands (vs orange for K
deficiency in Phoenix species) along the outer mar-
gins of the leaves. The center of the leaf will remain
green, but the tips of the leaflets in Phoenix palms
may become necrotic as in K deficiency. Unfortu-
nately, the symptoms of K and Mg deficiencies in
Phoenix palms are very similar and both may be
present at the same time. Since fertilization to correct
one of these deficiencies will often reveal a deficiency
of the other element, it is best to treat deficient palms
with both K and Mg sulfates in a 2:1 ratio for either
problem. Foliar sprays are rather ineffective for
treating either K or Mg deficiencies since palms need
far more of these elements than foliar sprays can
supply.
Manganese deficiency is a very common micro-
nutrient problem on palms in south Florida and
symptoms occur only on newly emerging leaves.
Manganese deficient leaves will emerge chlorotic,
usually with extensive necrotic streaking in the leaf-
lets. New leaves will be small, weak, and, in severe
cases, will emerge completely withered, frizzled, or
scorched in appearance. The palm dies quickly after
the appearance of these symptoms if it is not treated
promptly with a soil and/or foliar application of
manganese sulfate. If the older leaves also appear off-
color and/or frizzled, that problem is probably K
deficiency, rather than Mn deficiency.









Iron deficiency is moderately common on field
grown palms, but is invariably caused by poor soil
aeration or excessively deep planting rather than a
lack of Fe in the soil. Symptoms occur first on new
leaves as a general chlorosis, but in queen palms may
be accompanied by green pea-sized spots on otherwise
yellowish leaves. Although foliar sprays with iron
sulfate or chelates may sometimes temporarily re-
lieve these symptoms, only correction of the soil aera-
tion or planting depth problems that caused the
deficiency will be effective in the long run.

Weed Control
Use of pre- and postemergent herbicides in palm
field nurseries can provide significant savings in
labor costs for cultivation, as well as minimize compe-
tition from weeds for water and nutrients. It may be
most economical to restrict the use ofherbicides to the
actual planting rows or beds, and mechanically culti-
vate between the rows. Tests with container palms (4)
have reported phytotoxicity when the pre-emergent
chemicals oxyflourfen + oryzalin (Rout), and oxyflour-
fen + pendimethalin (OH-2) were used, but no phyto-
toxic effects with granular oxadiazon (Ronstar).
Reasonable tolerance to glysophate (Roundup) for
post-emergent weed control was also reported. Stunt-
ing and deformation of new leaves occurred in a
number of species, but affected palms generally grew
out of these symptoms after several weeks.

Pests
A number of insect pests or mites are host-
specific to particular species of palms and will not be
dealt with here. Banana moth larvae (Opogona sac-
chari) has been a troublesome pest of Chamaedorea
and Areca (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) in recent
years, tunneling through the stems of these and some
other palm species. Generalized palm pests likely to
be encountered in field production include scales,
mealybugs, some aphids (especially palm aphid),
thrips, caterpillars and spider mites. A broad range
of contact and systemic insecticides and miticides
provide effective control of these pests. Fire ants
should be controlled in the nursery, as these insects
will actively tend honeydew-secreting pests such as
palm aphids, mealybugs, and scales. A simple, though
labor-intensive, method of dealing with spot infesta-
tions is the removal of affected leaves. Few chemicals
are listed specifically for palms, but most with general
labels for woody ornamentals can be used safely.
Consult your county Cooperative Extension agent for
specific recommendations, and run a test block before
applying any chemical to the entire field. While
ground equipment is used for treating spot problems
in the nursery, some palm growers have found air-


craft spraying efficient for chemical treatment of
widespread problems as well as for foliar fertilization
on large acreages. The propeller wash pattern of the
airplane is particularly effective in getting coverage
to the underside of the palm foliage.

Diseases
Phytophthora bud rot is one of the more common
diseases encountered in palm field production, par-
ticularly with frequent overhead irrigation. It is
primarily a warm season disease. This soil-borne
disease causes collapse or brown-out of the younger
foliage and emerging leaf. If the bud is cut open,
discoloration is evident, often accompanied by a foul
smell. Phytophthora can also cause a leafspot. Good
control of bud rot is accomplished by drenching the
soil with Metalaxyl (Subdue), or applying a foliar
spray of fosetyl aluminum (Alliette) at label rate.
Foliar applied fosetyl aluminum will migrate to the
roots of the palm, whereas metalaxyl will reduce
populations of this soil-borne fungus in the root zone.
Overwatering and planting too deeply aggravate
phytophthora. Pythium rots are controlled with the
same chemicals.
Rhizoctonia root rots are best controlled by
benomyl drenches (Benlate, Tersan). Thielaviopsis
trunk or bud rot is increasing in frequency on palms.
This soil-borne fungus generally enters the palm
through wounds, and causes the disintegration of the
trunk or bud. It can also infect leaves of young palms.
A cross-section through the trunk will reveal black-
ened fruiting bodies. Affected palms will blow over
easily. Benomyl provides the best control, but only if
the infection is caught early in development.
Ganoderma butt rot has become a serious and
incurable disease of older landscape palms (usually
15 or more years old). It has not yet become a major
concern in field nurseries but could conceivably occur
in very old plantings. The disease progresses from the
older leaves upward, which turn brown and droop
from the trunk. Wounds on the lower portions of the
trunk or roots encourage entry of the fungus. The
fruiting body of the fungus is a conspicuous bracket or
"conch." The disease spreads rapidly from plant to
plant, and the fungus can persist in the soil for many
years. Affected palms must be completely removed
and destroyed and the soil fumigated. If Ganoderma
has been diagnosed in the field nursery, it is best to
take the area out of production.
Leaf spots caused by various fungus species are
usually not a serious problem on field grown palms.
Localized infections can be treated by leaf removal.
Lethal yellowing (LY) is an incurable disease of
many palm species caused by a mycoplasma-like









Iron deficiency is moderately common on field
grown palms, but is invariably caused by poor soil
aeration or excessively deep planting rather than a
lack of Fe in the soil. Symptoms occur first on new
leaves as a general chlorosis, but in queen palms may
be accompanied by green pea-sized spots on otherwise
yellowish leaves. Although foliar sprays with iron
sulfate or chelates may sometimes temporarily re-
lieve these symptoms, only correction of the soil aera-
tion or planting depth problems that caused the
deficiency will be effective in the long run.

Weed Control
Use of pre- and postemergent herbicides in palm
field nurseries can provide significant savings in
labor costs for cultivation, as well as minimize compe-
tition from weeds for water and nutrients. It may be
most economical to restrict the use ofherbicides to the
actual planting rows or beds, and mechanically culti-
vate between the rows. Tests with container palms (4)
have reported phytotoxicity when the pre-emergent
chemicals oxyflourfen + oryzalin (Rout), and oxyflour-
fen + pendimethalin (OH-2) were used, but no phyto-
toxic effects with granular oxadiazon (Ronstar).
Reasonable tolerance to glysophate (Roundup) for
post-emergent weed control was also reported. Stunt-
ing and deformation of new leaves occurred in a
number of species, but affected palms generally grew
out of these symptoms after several weeks.

Pests
A number of insect pests or mites are host-
specific to particular species of palms and will not be
dealt with here. Banana moth larvae (Opogona sac-
chari) has been a troublesome pest of Chamaedorea
and Areca (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) in recent
years, tunneling through the stems of these and some
other palm species. Generalized palm pests likely to
be encountered in field production include scales,
mealybugs, some aphids (especially palm aphid),
thrips, caterpillars and spider mites. A broad range
of contact and systemic insecticides and miticides
provide effective control of these pests. Fire ants
should be controlled in the nursery, as these insects
will actively tend honeydew-secreting pests such as
palm aphids, mealybugs, and scales. A simple, though
labor-intensive, method of dealing with spot infesta-
tions is the removal of affected leaves. Few chemicals
are listed specifically for palms, but most with general
labels for woody ornamentals can be used safely.
Consult your county Cooperative Extension agent for
specific recommendations, and run a test block before
applying any chemical to the entire field. While
ground equipment is used for treating spot problems
in the nursery, some palm growers have found air-


craft spraying efficient for chemical treatment of
widespread problems as well as for foliar fertilization
on large acreages. The propeller wash pattern of the
airplane is particularly effective in getting coverage
to the underside of the palm foliage.

Diseases
Phytophthora bud rot is one of the more common
diseases encountered in palm field production, par-
ticularly with frequent overhead irrigation. It is
primarily a warm season disease. This soil-borne
disease causes collapse or brown-out of the younger
foliage and emerging leaf. If the bud is cut open,
discoloration is evident, often accompanied by a foul
smell. Phytophthora can also cause a leafspot. Good
control of bud rot is accomplished by drenching the
soil with Metalaxyl (Subdue), or applying a foliar
spray of fosetyl aluminum (Alliette) at label rate.
Foliar applied fosetyl aluminum will migrate to the
roots of the palm, whereas metalaxyl will reduce
populations of this soil-borne fungus in the root zone.
Overwatering and planting too deeply aggravate
phytophthora. Pythium rots are controlled with the
same chemicals.
Rhizoctonia root rots are best controlled by
benomyl drenches (Benlate, Tersan). Thielaviopsis
trunk or bud rot is increasing in frequency on palms.
This soil-borne fungus generally enters the palm
through wounds, and causes the disintegration of the
trunk or bud. It can also infect leaves of young palms.
A cross-section through the trunk will reveal black-
ened fruiting bodies. Affected palms will blow over
easily. Benomyl provides the best control, but only if
the infection is caught early in development.
Ganoderma butt rot has become a serious and
incurable disease of older landscape palms (usually
15 or more years old). It has not yet become a major
concern in field nurseries but could conceivably occur
in very old plantings. The disease progresses from the
older leaves upward, which turn brown and droop
from the trunk. Wounds on the lower portions of the
trunk or roots encourage entry of the fungus. The
fruiting body of the fungus is a conspicuous bracket or
"conch." The disease spreads rapidly from plant to
plant, and the fungus can persist in the soil for many
years. Affected palms must be completely removed
and destroyed and the soil fumigated. If Ganoderma
has been diagnosed in the field nursery, it is best to
take the area out of production.
Leaf spots caused by various fungus species are
usually not a serious problem on field grown palms.
Localized infections can be treated by leaf removal.
Lethal yellowing (LY) is an incurable disease of
many palm species caused by a mycoplasma-like









Iron deficiency is moderately common on field
grown palms, but is invariably caused by poor soil
aeration or excessively deep planting rather than a
lack of Fe in the soil. Symptoms occur first on new
leaves as a general chlorosis, but in queen palms may
be accompanied by green pea-sized spots on otherwise
yellowish leaves. Although foliar sprays with iron
sulfate or chelates may sometimes temporarily re-
lieve these symptoms, only correction of the soil aera-
tion or planting depth problems that caused the
deficiency will be effective in the long run.

Weed Control
Use of pre- and postemergent herbicides in palm
field nurseries can provide significant savings in
labor costs for cultivation, as well as minimize compe-
tition from weeds for water and nutrients. It may be
most economical to restrict the use ofherbicides to the
actual planting rows or beds, and mechanically culti-
vate between the rows. Tests with container palms (4)
have reported phytotoxicity when the pre-emergent
chemicals oxyflourfen + oryzalin (Rout), and oxyflour-
fen + pendimethalin (OH-2) were used, but no phyto-
toxic effects with granular oxadiazon (Ronstar).
Reasonable tolerance to glysophate (Roundup) for
post-emergent weed control was also reported. Stunt-
ing and deformation of new leaves occurred in a
number of species, but affected palms generally grew
out of these symptoms after several weeks.

Pests
A number of insect pests or mites are host-
specific to particular species of palms and will not be
dealt with here. Banana moth larvae (Opogona sac-
chari) has been a troublesome pest of Chamaedorea
and Areca (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) in recent
years, tunneling through the stems of these and some
other palm species. Generalized palm pests likely to
be encountered in field production include scales,
mealybugs, some aphids (especially palm aphid),
thrips, caterpillars and spider mites. A broad range
of contact and systemic insecticides and miticides
provide effective control of these pests. Fire ants
should be controlled in the nursery, as these insects
will actively tend honeydew-secreting pests such as
palm aphids, mealybugs, and scales. A simple, though
labor-intensive, method of dealing with spot infesta-
tions is the removal of affected leaves. Few chemicals
are listed specifically for palms, but most with general
labels for woody ornamentals can be used safely.
Consult your county Cooperative Extension agent for
specific recommendations, and run a test block before
applying any chemical to the entire field. While
ground equipment is used for treating spot problems
in the nursery, some palm growers have found air-


craft spraying efficient for chemical treatment of
widespread problems as well as for foliar fertilization
on large acreages. The propeller wash pattern of the
airplane is particularly effective in getting coverage
to the underside of the palm foliage.

Diseases
Phytophthora bud rot is one of the more common
diseases encountered in palm field production, par-
ticularly with frequent overhead irrigation. It is
primarily a warm season disease. This soil-borne
disease causes collapse or brown-out of the younger
foliage and emerging leaf. If the bud is cut open,
discoloration is evident, often accompanied by a foul
smell. Phytophthora can also cause a leafspot. Good
control of bud rot is accomplished by drenching the
soil with Metalaxyl (Subdue), or applying a foliar
spray of fosetyl aluminum (Alliette) at label rate.
Foliar applied fosetyl aluminum will migrate to the
roots of the palm, whereas metalaxyl will reduce
populations of this soil-borne fungus in the root zone.
Overwatering and planting too deeply aggravate
phytophthora. Pythium rots are controlled with the
same chemicals.
Rhizoctonia root rots are best controlled by
benomyl drenches (Benlate, Tersan). Thielaviopsis
trunk or bud rot is increasing in frequency on palms.
This soil-borne fungus generally enters the palm
through wounds, and causes the disintegration of the
trunk or bud. It can also infect leaves of young palms.
A cross-section through the trunk will reveal black-
ened fruiting bodies. Affected palms will blow over
easily. Benomyl provides the best control, but only if
the infection is caught early in development.
Ganoderma butt rot has become a serious and
incurable disease of older landscape palms (usually
15 or more years old). It has not yet become a major
concern in field nurseries but could conceivably occur
in very old plantings. The disease progresses from the
older leaves upward, which turn brown and droop
from the trunk. Wounds on the lower portions of the
trunk or roots encourage entry of the fungus. The
fruiting body of the fungus is a conspicuous bracket or
"conch." The disease spreads rapidly from plant to
plant, and the fungus can persist in the soil for many
years. Affected palms must be completely removed
and destroyed and the soil fumigated. If Ganoderma
has been diagnosed in the field nursery, it is best to
take the area out of production.
Leaf spots caused by various fungus species are
usually not a serious problem on field grown palms.
Localized infections can be treated by leaf removal.
Lethal yellowing (LY) is an incurable disease of
many palm species caused by a mycoplasma-like









Table 2. List of relative susceptibility to Lethal Yellowing of some ornamental palms.

Scientific Name Common Name Susceptibility

Arenga engleri Sugar palm HIGH
Borassus flabellifer Palmyra palm MODERATE
Caryota mitis Fishtail palm MODERATE
Chrysalidocarpus cabadae Cabada palm SLIGHT
Cocos nucifera' Coconut HIGH
Corypha elata Talipot palm HIGH
Dictyosperma album Princess palm MODERATE
Hyophorbe verschaffeltii Spindle palm SLIGHT
Latania spp. Latan palms MODERATE
Livistona chinensis Chinese fan palm MODERATE
Phoenix carnariensis Canary Island date MODERATE
P. dactylifera Date palm HIGH
P. reclinata Senegal date palm SLIGHT
Pritchardia spp. Pritchardia HIGH
Syagrus schizophylla Arikury palm MODERATE
Trachycarpus fortune Windmill palm MODERATE
Veitchia merrilli Christmas palm HIGH

*resistant varieties available


organism (MLO) vectored by a leaf hopper bug (Myndus
crudus). The disease organism is now resident in at
least Palm Beach, Broward, Dade, Monroe, and Col-
lier counties. The only practical control for the field
nursery within LY areas is to avoid production ofLY
susceptible palms, listed in Table 2. While the disease
can be prevented (though not cured) with continuous
injection oftetracycline antibiotics (but only on palms
with a developed trunk), such a program is not eco-
nomically feasible within a production context.

Cold Protection

Cold temperatures slow the growth rate of palms,
reduce root activity, and may weaken the plant enough
to make it more susceptible to disease. Palms that
have received balanced fertilization in the months
before the period of coldest temperatures are much
more likely to survive and recover from cold damage
than nutritionally deficient palms. Frosts and freez-
ing temperatures will kill the foliage of many palm
species, and can reduce the function of water conduct-
ing tissue in the trunk for many years. Palm field
nurseries do not have as many options for cold protec-
tion as containerized palms maintained in covered
structures. On small acreages, if the plants are still


small, coverage with one of several fabrics available
for this purpose may provide adequate protection.
Some growers recommend applying anti-transpirants
to the foliage, but current research has not yet indi-
cated that these chemicals provide significant cold
protection. Tender palms have also been adequately
protected by tying up the leaves in a bundle over the
bud. Most palm field nurseries must depend on their
irrigation systems to provide a measure of cold protec-
tion. Flooding the fields just before freezing tempera-
tures occur and maintaining the water in place until
temperatures rise above freezing has saved fields
from damage, but available water resources or deliv-
ery equipment may be limiting. Weakly-rooted palms
may also topple over when the field is flooded. Icing
the plants with overhead irrigation works well if
performed properly. The irrigation must be turned on
before temperatures reach freezing and should con-
tinue until the ice visibly melts from the plant sur-
faces or temperatures rise above freezing. The weight
of the ice can, however, cause breakage of palm
leaves. For more information, refer to Extension
Circular 348, SprinklerIrrigation for Cold Protection.
Some growers have also successfully protected their
palm crop with low volume, under tree irrigation
systems.




UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1J C11JME1N 3 1262 05588 6450


If the irreplaceable bud or "palm heart" survives
exposure to freezing temperatures, the recovery of the
plant is possible. Proper care in the first few weeks
after damage is essential. Leaves with any amount of
green tissue should be left on the plants. It may even
be wise to leave completely dead leaves attached until
the danger of further cold weather is past, since they
will provide some insulation to the growing bud.
Application of fungicide to the foliage and bud imme-
diately after damage and again 7 to 10 days later may
help reduce further loss to disease. Copper based
chemicals have traditionally been used for this pur-
pose, but as few are currently labelled for palms, their
use may be illegal. If healthy leaves are present on the
palms, or as soon as new leaves emerge, apply a foliar
fertilization with a soluble micronutrient mix and
repeat at monthly intervals until new growth is well
under way. Apply a complete fertilizer to the soil if
this has not been done recently.

Harvesting the Crop
Years to harvest of a palm field crop will ulti-
mately depend on the market for which the crop has
been targeted. Containerized mass market material
may be ready for harvest in 2 to 3 years after planting,
depending on species and age of liner stock at plant-
ing. Exterior and interior specimens may require 5 to
8 or more years of field growing before they are ready
for harvest.
Palms can be dug by hand, with gas-powered
tree spades, spades mounted on small tractors, or
mechanical trenchers. Soils that cling to the root ball
are the most amenable to mechanized harvest. Palms
grown on very sandy soils, which may fall away from
the roots, might require hand digging. Prior to dig-
ging, the soil around the root system should be thor-
oughly wetted to help keep the root ball together.
Palms grown on sandy soils will usually need to have
their root balls burlapped after digging, while palms
grown on soils with greater structural integrity may
not require burlapping. If the dug palms will be
stored in the field for some time before shipment,
burlapping may also be necessary, regardless of the
soil type. In such situations, the root ball as well as
the trunk and foliage should be periodically mois-
tened.
For palms less than 18 feet in height, a root ball
of shovel-width radius from the trunk is a common
industry average for size (Fig. 3). For larger speci-
mens or palms intended for the exterior landscape, an
incrementally larger root ball may be advisable to
insure successful establishment under exterior site
conditions which may not be ideal. Specimen-sized
palms that are containerized after harvest for the
interiorscape market and smaller, containerized mass-


Fig.3 Queen palm root ball dug from the field.


market palms usually have the root ball trimmed
considerably more. It may even be necessary to wash
native soil completely from the roots for shipment out
of state. Such palms are moved into shade structures
for acclimatization where growing conditions are
optimal for root regeneration. An obvious concern for
the grower is to minimize loss of soil from the field.
Research has determined that palms vary in
their root regeneration response when dug (1, 2). For
queen (Syagrus romanzoffiana) and royal palms
(Roystonea regia), the percentage of cut roots that
branched and continued growing was directly propor-
tional to the length of the remaining stub. This would
argue for including the largest root ball possible for
these species when digging, at least from the perspec-
tive of site establishment in the landscape. A 1 foot
minimum radius, but preferably 2 to 3 feet, is recom-
mended for royal palms. Queen palms will survive
with a root ball of 6-inch radius, but a larger root ball
will increase root survival at the landscape site. Root
branching in coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) does not
appear to be dependent on the size of the root ball. In
sabal palms (Sabal palmetto), virtually all of which
are dug from native stands rather than nursery grown,
no root branching occurs, and new roots must be
initiated from the trunk. For these two species, smaller
root balls are acceptable. For palms that must regen-
erate new roots from the trunk, root-pruning 2 to 3
months before digging will provide time for new root
growth within the ball.
When moving palms out of the field, they should
be well-supported to prevent injury to the tender bud.
When moving certain species with slender trunks (for
example, Senegal date, Phoenix reclinata, and Pau-
rotis palm, Acoelorrhaphe wrightii), a supporting
splint should be tied to each trunk and should extend
into the foliage to protect the bud. Stems of clustering
palms should also be tied together for additional






DOCUMENTS


Fig. 4 Field-grown queen palms loaded for shipment.

support. If the labor force can be trained to handle
such species with particular care, these steps can be
eliminated.
A tree crane is usually required to lift large
palms out of the field (Fig. 4). The trunk should be
protected with burlap or other material wherever
ropes, cables, chains or straps will be attached.
The greatest loss of water in newly dug palms
occurs from transpiration through the leaves. To
minimize this, one-half or more of the older leaves, as


MARSTON SCIENCE LIBRARY


well as the leaves closest to the bud, should be re-
moved. The remaining leaves should be tied together
in a bundle around the bud with a biodegradable
twine. The best method of insuring survival after
transplanting to the landscape may be to remove ALL
leaves on species like sabal palms that must regener-
ate new roots from the trunk. However, most buyers
will object to this practice for aesthetic reasons. Where
practical, misting or irrigation of the foliage can
greatly reduce water loss and increase palm survival
during the transplant process.
It is absolutely essential that palms intended for
the low-light conditions of the interiorscape be sub-
jected to an acclimatization period of at least one year
under shade (3). Leaves produced in full sun will not
survive under low-light conditions and must be re-
placed by new leaves produced in shade. The amount
of time necessary for complete replacement will vary
with species, but one leaf every two months is a typical
rate for most palm species.

References
1. Broschat, T. K. and H. M. Donselman. 1984. Root
regeneration in transplanted palms. Princi-
pes 28: 90-91.
2. Broschat, T. K. and H. M. Donselman. 1986.
Factors affecting palm transplant success.
Proc. Fl. State Hort. Soc. 100: 396-397.
3. Broschat, T. K, H. Donselman and D. B. McCon-
nell. 1989. Light acclimatization of
Ptychosperma elegans. HortSci. 24: 267-268.
4. Donselman, H. and T. K. Broschat. 1986. Phyto-
toxicity ofseveralpre- andpost-emergentherbi-
cides on container grown palms. Proc. Fl.
State Hort. Soc. 99: 273-274.


COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, Christine Taylor Stephens,
Director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of
Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race,
color, age, sex, handicap or national origin. The information in this publication is available in alternate formats. Single copies of extension publications (excluding
4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county extension offices. Information on bulk rates, copies for out-of-state purchases is
available from C.M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, University of Florida, PO Box 110011, Gainesville, FL 32611-0011. Information about alternate for-
mats is available from Educational Media and Services, University of Florida, PO Box 110810, Gainesville, FL 32611-0810. This information was published June
1990 as CIR 877, Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Reprinted 2/92. Reviewed 6/94 and 11/95.




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