Palm trees are a widely use landscaping plant both for indoor and outdoor landscapes. They are generally easy to care for and thrive with sunlight, warm temperatures and good soil. Most species of palm perform very well in southern Louisiana. When their leaves turn yellow to brown have many people at at a loss as to what to do.
There May Be a Problem With Your Palm's Diet
Palm Leaves Have Yellow Spotting
If your palm has yellow spots appearing on an otherwise healthy tree, it needs some potassium. Apply a slow release fertilizer with a good amount of Potassium. Potassium in the middle number in the fertilizer breakdown on the front of your fertilizer package.
Palm Leaves Have Yellow Stripes
If there are yellow stripes on the lowest and oldest leaves then your palm has a magnesium deficiency. Use fertilizer with added magnesium and some extra dolomite on the soil around the tree to turn the tree's health around. Magnesium will be listed as Mg on most packaging.
Older Palm Leaves Turning Yellow
When older leaves begin yellowing, there is a lack of Nitrogen in the soil around your palm tree. The tree is literally canabalizing its older leaves for the nitrogen in them to support new growth. A bag of fertilizer labeled for palm trees from any nearby hardware store should have the tree looking great in no time.
Your Palm Tree May Have a Bug or Fungus Problem
This probably means you are dealing with either a fungus or an insect.
Fungus will usually appear to be blotchy or spots of yellow on the leaves. An example of palm tree fungus would be fusarium wilt or bud rot. There may also be a powdery substance on the leaves. Insects will usually be accompanied by black soot on the plant, holes or tears in the leaves and damage to the trunk. An example of insects damaging to palms would be giant palm borers or thrips.
There Isn't Any Signs of Pests and the Soil is Fertilized
The palm has proper nutrition, but the leaves are still turning brown. This is natural. as long as the transformation is fairly even. The leaves will eventually turn brown as part of the tree's life cycle. There is no need for them to turn prematurely though. Keep your palms fertilized and they will stay looking good for a much longer duration.
Pruning Palm Trees
In best practice, you should not prune the leaves off the palm until they are completely brown. Doing so removes some of the nitrogen and other nutrition stored in the plant. That being said, a lot of people do not want leaves on their palms to be any color but green. If you are one of these people, you can prune the lower yellowing leaves off as long as your have the soil properly fertilized. If the leaves at the top of the palm are yellowing, you have one of the problems mentioned above. If you begin seeing other leaves yellow soon after pruning, your soil may not have had the correct amount of fertilizer.
When pruning your palm, be sure to follow the same pattern of cut as all of the other branches have been cut so the trunk of the tree is uniform. Usually all you will need is protective glasses, a hat, gloves, a pair of loppers, a ladder and someone to hold it for you. If it is your first time pruning a palm, remember to take your time, be careful and it will probably take you a lot longer per tree to prune than you originally thought, especially if its been a few seasons since you pruned last.
WHAT IS A SATSUMA?
Satsumas are a variety of Mandarin orange. They usually perform very well in the southern United States given full sunlight and a moderate amount of water. That isn't to say they don't also have their occasional health problems. Treating a satsuma is nearly identical to treating other citrus plants.
fungus problems on satsumas
Sour Orange Scab, Brown Rot, Greasy Spot, Anthracnose are all very common and usually can be taken care of by applying a copper based fungicide. Sooty mold is usually the symptom of insects on your plant. Treat the insects and the sooty mold should clear itself up. Some of these fungus are spread by rain splashing off of the ground and getting to the leaves. A good preventative measure is to keep the area around the tree mulched.
Insect infestations on satsumas
Scale, aphids and whiteflies seem to love satsumas. Paraffinic oil or Horticulture oil can easily take care of these pests. Permethrin is another option that can be used to treat whiteflies if you find you need additional control. Be sure to spray both the tops and bottoms of the foliage to get total coverage. Leafminers can be controlled using spinosaid made for citrus plants. Spinosaid should be applied when there is new growth on the plants or when the leaves have fresh damage for best results. Mites affecting satsumas can be treated with a miticide.
Most satsumas don't need to be pruned very often, if ever. If you do choose to prune, major pruning should be done in early spring. Dead or infested limbs should be removed at the time they are discovered.
how to fertilize a satsuma tree
Citrus plants usually need a little more iron and magnesium than most other plants. You can treat the soil around the tree with a fertilizer utilizing a higher amount of both iron and magnesium. Alternatively, you can use a chelated foliar spray on both the tops and bottoms of the leaves to ensure proper absorption.
With any pesticide, be sure to read the label to make sure it is okay to treat your plant with it. There are plenty of pesticides on the market that will treat your problem quickly but may also harm you if you ingest the fruit due to their residual control.
WHY ARE PARTS OF MY YARD DYING?
In southern Louisiana, both in early spring and again during mid to late summer is prime time for Chinch bugs. If you notice an irregular yellowing pattern in your lawn at these times, it's worth taking a look. A few moments of your time keep your yard from dying.
IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
You can make the insects visible by getting down to grass level and parting the grass. If you can't readily spot any insects, you can try the "soapy water test." Get one gallon of water with one tablespoon of lemon scented dish soap and pour it all in your problem area. You should see the insects move up to the grass blades. Adult chinch bugs are black with white wings and a white triangle on their back while young chinch bugs are either reddish or black with red bands.
TREAT THE PROBLEM.
Once you have them you can either treat them with an insecticide or you can let them destroy your grass. They will not leave until there isn't any food, what we call grass, left! Fortunately for you there is an abundance of products at any hardware store or even most grocery stores with an outdoor section. I find insecticides containing either Bifenthrin or Imidacloprid to work fairly well on chinch bugs.
WHAT IF I DON'T FIND CHINCH BUGS?
If you start looking and you find some other little monster in your grass, the first step is still identification. Resist the urge to apply the first insecticide you see since you may end up killing beneficial insects and doing nothing to the ones damaging your yard. You can always look online, call out a professional lawn care company or try bagging the little bugger and bringing him to the hardware store. If you don't find any insects, you may want to check your irrigation coverage.