19f0bc14c08ee5b06c44bb8e722431bb

Earlier this month I reported on the discovery in Laguna Beach of the world's most destructive pest of palms, the Red Palm Weevil.

 

In the past three weeks this 1.5 inch beetle has caused a flurry of activity among county, state and federal officials. Local palm enthusiasts have begun to panic and landscape professionals, responsible for the health of the regions palms, are worried.

If this exotic pest establishes itself in California, the damage to date palms, both in landscapes and agriculturally, would likely be catastrophic. Already, in southern Europe, in only a few years, over 100,000 Phoenix date palms have been destroyed, many more are doomed and the equivalent of more than 140 million Euros have been spent with almost no effect.

RPW_2_Adult-400

To recap, the Red Palm Weevil was first detected in The U.S. in the Emerald Bay neighborhood of northern Laguna Beach in late September of this year. The pests were discovered by arborists during the removal of a mature, dying Canary Island Date Palm.

Monitoring for additional Red Palm Weevils began soon after this initial discovery. Don Hodel, an Environmental Horticulturist with The University of California Cooperative Extension and considered one of the country's leading palm specialists and Nick Nisson, Orange County's entomologist, conducted a visual survey in the area, but were unable to locate any additional pests.

About 250 traps, specially designed to attract and retain adult Red Palm Weevils have been placed by California Department of Food and Agriculture staff throughout a nine square mile area surrounding the initial discovery. In addition, extensive door to door surveys are being performed by a team of CDFA inspectors. Thus far, the surveyors have inspected 86% of the properties in a 1.5 square mile area around the "hot zone." 1,481 properties and 9,721 palms have been surveyed.

RPW_Phoenix_10-28-10-400

Through Monday, no additional Red Palm Weevils had been seen or captured in the extensive network of traps.

But bad news arrived via my email in-box at 7 PM on Tuesday from Dr. Mark Hoddle, director of invasive pest studies at UC Riverside's Center For Invasive Species Research. Another dying Canary Island Date Palm was discovered just blocks from the initial infestation.

This second infested Laguna Beach palm was heavily damaged and near death. Dr. Hoddle reports, "The crown of the palm has dropped off and the top of the trunk is now ringed with a "halo" of palm fronds. The trunk of the palm has been heavily damaged internally by feeding Red Palm Weevils. The central portion of the trunk now contains a highly fermented and very wet "mash" of plant material."

Portions of at least nine dead adult weevils, one live adult and seven empty pupal cases were discovered at the site of the dying tree, which to-date has still not been removed. Additional weevils may still be present within the dying tree.

It is now likely that additional palms in the area of North Laguna are infested with this destructive pest.

County, state and federal officials are working swiftly to assemble strategies to deal with this pest. An informational meeting has been called for next week in Laguna Beach to inform local government officials, arborists, public works, landscapers, and pest control advisors about the current Red Palm Beetle situation, including properly identifying the pest and its feeding damage. Future meetings will target other groups, including the public. I will keep you posted.

RPW_Phoenix_10-28-10_9-400

In the meantime, what can you do? First, learn more about this pest, so that misinformation is not spread and improper reactions do not ensue. Dr. Hoddle and his colleagues have created an excellent website and blog with updates at http://cisr.ucr.edu/red_palm_weevil.html. Also visit www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/rpw/ for additional information and photos.

Second, after learning to recognize at least the advanced symptoms of palms infested with Red Palm Weevils, report any suspicious plants, along with details to CDFA's pest hotline at 800-491-1899.

If government experts, local communities, landscape professionals and concerned citizens work together, in an integrated manner, we may be able to eradicate this destructive pest before it advances further. Working together and intelligently, we may be able to save California's majestic and iconic date palms.

rvanderhoffRon Vanderhoff is the Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens, Corona del Mar.


Plant Care Reminders

Calendula officinalis Monthly Plant Care Reminders
Annuals Coastal Sage Gardening

Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold, English Marigold) - Monthly Plant Care Reminders

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Dealing with lawn hot spots.
Lawn Ron Vanderhoff

A Different Kind of 'Hot Spot'

Last weekend was hot; 85, 90, even 100 degrees in some areas. It was the first hot few days of the year. 

Fig Tree (Ficus carica) - Monthly Plant…

8357 Steve Brigham
Fig Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Gardenia (Gardenia spp) - Monthly Plant…

3827 Julie Bawden-Davis
Gardenia Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Phaleanopsis (Moth Orchid) Plant Care

46728 Costa Farms
Phaleanopsis Plant Care
Orchids are as easy as A - B - C!

Gardening Articles

Default Image
Plant Profiles Perennial Plant Association

2010 Perennial Plant of the Year - Baptisia australis

Blue false indigo grows three to four feet tall and three to four feet wide in an upright habit.
Gardening Lessons with Children
Childrens Gardening Ron Vanderhoff

The Childhood Lessons of a Garden

When I was just a small boy, any idle time was usually spent outdoors. When school was out for the summer, the outdoor time doubled or even tripled.

Peruvian Lilies for Container Gardens

34365
Alstroemeria 'Oxana'
Gardeners whose plants grow in containers but want to add cutting flowers to small spaces…

Sisso Doyle - Southwest

8400
Sisso Doyle
Region: Southwest

Plant Recommendations

Gaura lindheimeri 'Perky Pink'
Plant Recommendations Dawn Hummel

Perennials - Oregon

Dawn Hummel's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Perennials for Oregon (Sunset zone 6, USDA Zone 8).
Digitalis purpurea

Other Plants in My Garden - Southern California

Jan Brider's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Other Plants In My Garden for Southern California.

Shrubs - South East England

7998 Linsey Evans
Linsey Evans
Linsey Evans' Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Shrubs for South East England.

Roses - Southern California

11333 walter andersen
Rosa hybrid 'Barbra Striesand'
Walter Andersen's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Roses for Southern California.

Flowering Perennials - Southern…

12950 Tiger Palafox
Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost'
Tiger Palafox's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Flowering Perennials for Southern…

Featured Plant Care

Zuchinni Monthly Plant Care

Zuchinni Squash - (Cucurbita pepo 'Zucchini') - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Peach Monthly Plant Care

Peach (Prunus persica) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Blue Hibiscus Montly Plant Care

Hibiscus - Blue (Alyogyne huegelii) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Nectarine Monthly Plant Care

Nectarine (Prunus persica var. nucipersica) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Latest Articles

Edit Your Tagged Photos!

How to Edit or Remove A Plant "Tag" In Your Garden Photos

Instead of 'Tagging' your friends on Facebook, now you can 'Tag' your Plants in your…
Seed Starting

10 Easy Cut Flowers to Direct Sow

in Seeds
A cut-flower garden or "cutting garden" allows you to bring the beauty of your garden…

Popular Articles

Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…
Kahili Ginger Plant Care

Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili Ginger) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)