The spray of palm tree leaves against a blue sky.

Landscape specialists in the greater Sarasota, FL region have to deal with a specific fungus called ganoderma zonatum, which is responsible for the prevalence of ganoderma butt rot in many of our palm trees. In today’s blog, we want to share details about this plant condition with our readers so that you can spot the problem and have it taken care of before the damage done becomes widespread.

What Is Ganoderma Butt Rot?

This is a plant disease that is spread by fungal spores and is prevalent throughout Florida, as well as in Georgia and South Carolina. The fungus that causes this disease is called ganoderma zonatum, and it belongs to a family of wood-decaying fungi found around the world. The fungus degrades the woody tissue of the affected tree, degrading its structural integrity.

What Types Of Plants Are Affected?

Here in Florida, this fungus affects palm trees, degrading the lower section of the tree’s trunk. Ganoderma butt rot is lethal, which means it kills the palm trees that develop this disease. All types of palm trees in our state are susceptible to the disease, and it is estimated that about 65 species of palms have been documented with Ganoderma butt rot.

What Are The Signs To Look For?

To the untrained eye, signs are not always easy to see. They may include some or all of the following:

  • Mild to severe wilting of all of the leaves or fronds, except for the primary (or spear) frond
  • Slower growth of the palm tree as compared to others around it
  • Foliage that is off-color, dull, or brown
  • A significant number of dead lower leaves or fronds
  • Mushroom-like conks that develop on the trunk
  • A general, overall appearance of decline for the affected tree

Some of these symptoms may point to other conditions instead; it takes a trained eye to closely inspect the affected palm tree and determine whether or not it has been impacted by ganoderma butt rot.

Call to action for yard maintenance in Sarasota, FL.

How Is This Disease Managed?

Unfortunately, a palm tree that has developed this disease needs to be removed, primarily for safety reasons (otherwise, it may fall and hit a structure, vehicle, or pedestrian). The condition can affect plants in meticulously cared for yards, as well as in the wild. It can strike both malnourished palms and strong, healthy ones, and the disease can be found in both well-drained soils and swampy terrain. The fungus can be found in all types of soil.

It’s important not only to remove the dead or dying palm tree, but to keep an eye out for the telltale conks. If they appear on the ground or what’s left of the tree stump, they can release millions of spores and possibly affect other palm trees.

It’s important, then, to secure help from a local company that’s highly trained with how to deal with this fungus. The yard and garden maintenance specialists at Turf Fox are trained in plant fungus and diseases that are common to Florida. We work hard to provide our residential and commercial clients with fungus and disease control services that protect and preserve the wide variety of plants, including palm trees, found in these clients’ properties.

Contact Turf Fox Today!

Turf Fox is available to help you with all types of landscaping services, including fungus and disease control for your plants, trees, and lawn.

If you suspect that any of your palm trees are affected by ganoderma butt rot, give us a call. We will take a close look and diagnose the problem, and we will take measures to protect your property and all of the plant life in your yard. Just because the affected tree is removed doesn’t mean that the problem is gone. We will develop a plan to ensure this fungus does not affect other nearby trees. To get started, get in touch with Turf Fox today!