e76b932ff7b461b212c5f1a40d438a45

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

Default Image
Shrubs Julie Bawden-Davis

Grevillea - Mountain (Grevillea alpina) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Citrus & Avocado Tree Guide
Edibles Walter Andersen Nursery

Citrus & Avocado Tree Planting and Care

Citrus and Avocado trees are well adapted to most areas of San Diego County, from the coast to the inland foothills.

Plant Care Reminders - Vines - Sunset…

9771 Mr. Mitch
Plant Care Reminders for Vines
Do you live In coastal southern California? Do you grow any of these Vines?

Wisteria spp (Wisteria) - Monthly Plant…

5592 Julie Bawden-Davis
Wisteria Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Dendrobium Orchid Plant Care

24983 Costa Farms
Dendrobium Orchid Care
Orchids are as easy as A - B - C!

Gardening Articles

Bill Teague
Expert Bios The Mulch

Bill Teague - Southwest

Region: Southwest
Innis Free
Landscape and Design Kathleen Hassinger

APLD International Landscape Design Gold Award Winner W Gary Smith

APLD Names 2011 Landscape Designer of the Year

Pat Hammer - Southwest

15747
Pat Hammer
Region: Southwest

APLD International Landscape Design Merit Award Winner: Patricia St. John

6885
Pocket Size Courtyard
Association of Professional Landscape Designers Announces: Annual International Landscape…

Added 12 new Hibiscus and Hydrangea to the Plant Database

4556
New Plants Added to Database
Our website has so much information being added and updated that I decided to post an…

Plant Recommendations

Hedera helix 'Lady Frances'

Ivies for Small Moss Filled Topiary - Southern California

Pat Hammer's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Ivies for Small Moss Filled Topiary in Southern California.
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).

Shrubs - Southern California by Brenda…

19843 Brenda Gousha
Eden Climbing Rose
Brenda Gousha's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Shrubs for Southern California.

Brain Food: Blueberries

56639 Ron Vanderhoff
Blueberries
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a daily bowl of blueberries may actually…

Trees for Smaller Gardens - Southern…

10331 Brad Monroe
Tabebuia ipe
Brad Monroe's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Trees for Smaller Gardens for Southern…

Featured Plant Care

Lemon Daylily Plant Care

Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus (Daylily - Lemon) - Monthly Plant Care Reminders

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

Camellia - Japanese (Camellia japonica)- Monthly Plant Care Calendar

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

Rose (Rosa hybrid 'Home Run') - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Roses
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Star Jasmine Monthly Plant Care

Jasmine - Star (Trachelospermum jasminoides) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

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

Latest Articles

Peach Leaf Curl

Peach Leaf Curl - Information Hub

Peach leaf curl is a common problem found on leaves of Peaches and Nectarines (and their…
Avocado Information Hub

Avocado - Growing and Plant Care Information Hub

in Edibles
We're bringing relevant information about Avocados (Persea americana) to one fantastic…

Popular Articles

Using the Mulch for Home Gardeners

Home Gardener: Using All The Great Features on the Mulch

You Can Use The Great Features on the Mulch For Free!
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…

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)