Florida palms suffering from Lethal Bronzing

Florida's Palms are under severe threat from a condition known as Lethal Bronzing Disease, an illness that turns Palms to a crisp in months.

    2019/08/21

NSFW    FLORIDA — Palm trees in Florida are under severe threat from a condition known as Lethal Bronzing Disease, an illness that turns palms to a crisp in months. The University of Florida details the condition as being caused by parasitic bacteria and spread by common sap-sucking insects.

Brian Bahderm, an assistant professor at the University of Florida explained to the Miami Herald that Lethal Bronzing is transmitted through the saliva of sap-sucking insects when they feast on the palm's leaves.

Lethal Bronzing occurs when the bacteria known as phytoplasmas, multiply in the bottom of the tree and "clog the circulatory system." This build-up creates a blockage, resulting in the tree being starved from sufficient nutrients, giving it the tell-tale shade of bronze leaves.

Researchers from the University of Florida identified four more palms that are susceptible to the disease; the Pindo palm, Carpentaria palm, Coconut palm, and the Chinese fan palm, bringing the tally now to 16.

They also state that Lethal Bronzing has spread statewide to include eight new Florida counties, with tens of thousands of palms already dead as a result.

Bahder stated that getting the disease under control is vital as it has the potential to, "drastically modify our landscape".

However, The University of Florida states that antibiotic treatments are "ineffective" because phytoplasmas don't have the cell wall that most of these treatments target; thus deeming infected trees fatal.

The New York Times informs that the disease has already massively damaged Jamaica's coconut plantations and that Brazil is now taking precautionary action against the disease.
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