Neem Oil to Prevent Lethal Bronzing on Cabbage Palms?

by Valerie
(Tampa, FL)

HI
I live in Tampa and four of my sixteen palms have lethal bronzing. Will Neem Oil protect my healthy palms from the mites that transmit this? Can I use Neem Oil safely on Cabbage Palm? I have heard about tetracycline injections to cure Palms that have contracted lethal bronzing but are in the early stages. Would a prophylactic tetracycline injection program protect my healthy palms? I am removing the dead palms tomorrow and would like to protect my healthy trees. Thanks.

https://www.mysuncoast.com/2019/08/20/disease-called-lethal-bronzing-is-killing-florida-palm-trees/#:~:text=Lethal%20bronzing's%20first%20Florida%20appearance,or%2C%20generically%2C%20a%20treehopper.

Comments for Neem Oil to Prevent Lethal Bronzing on Cabbage Palms?

Click here to add your own comments

Never heard of it
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

The neem oil does have smothering properties that might kill off any insects, but not sure what effect it will have on the plant itself. There doesn't really seem to be much information on that.

If you're going to do it, test it on a small area first.

There is evidence that these kinds of infestations attack plants that are already ailing in some way, so that would be where I would go first to see if the plants are deficient in some mineral. That might be an easier fix, especially if the trees are big.

However, if they already show signs of the color change, it's too late. The little channels that transport the sugars from the roots to the leaves are already plugged.

In the link you've put in the submission, it says that there is no cure once the tree is infected, and that nurseries are culling any infected trees. So if professionals are doing that, I don't think there's much hope. Sorry.

I feel that when plants die en masse like that it's a signal that the climate is changing too fast for them to adapt, and it's time to find replacements that actually like the conditions.

It's like the Mountain Pine Beetle infestations here where I live. Pine tree species are the only ones affected, and they like it cold and dry in the winter. If they don't get that, the Pine Beetle seeks them out and infests them, killing them off. Think of it as mother natures way of making room for other more suitable species to grow and thrive.

As for tetracycline, that's not one of the recommended uses for it, so no idea if it would work, or just be an expensive experiment.

Sorry not to have better news. Try to get ahead of it by researching some different options of trees to plant instead of flogging a dead horse.

Thanks for your input
by: Valerie

Thank you for responding ! I so appreciate your time and expertise.

The problem is, as you can see from the photo, I have numerous large and well-established native Cabbage Palms in the yard. I would hate to lose them, as replacing them with large palms of another more-resistant species is going to be very expensive. So far they appear healthy. Prior to this blight, Cabbage Palms were xeroscape-worthy, being native to this area and not particularly ornamental or delicate. I was thinking perhaps the NEEM OIL would act as a bug repellant, making my healthy palms taste bad to the tree hopper bug that carries this Lethal Bronzing, and maybe they would move on to another tree (not mine) that doesn't have NEEM OIL on it. Also, I want to protect my healthy palms during the actual physical removal of the dead palms, and maybe NEEM OIL would protect my healthy trees from any bugs spread during tree removal.

I do understand there is little written on this, that's why I was asking.

Having said the above, I read and understand you answer to be .... not the best news, probably not going to help.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Horticulturist.