Protect Your Palm Trees: Phantasma Scale, the New Palm Pest

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Protect Your Palm Trees: Phantasma Scale, the New Palm Pest

Palm trees can give your property a beautiful tropical feeling. A vibrant yard with healthy palm trees can make your backyard the destination of the summer but beware. It can also bring in some unwanted, dangerous guests. This article discusses how to protect your palm trees from a new parasite, called Phantasma Scale, that has surfaced in South Florida in recent years. 

What is the Phantasma Scale?

The Phantasma Scale is a palm tree parasite that has been recently discovered in Miami-Dade county. Previous to its discovery in Florida, it had a well-known presence in Hawaii.1

Phantasma Scale are roughly 1.25 mm long and mussel-shaped. They may also have red stripes that run horizontally across their bodies. As they’re relatively small in size, they may be difficult to detect with the naked eye. These parasites tend to live in temperatures where palm trees grow, so they are not seasonal and may be present year-round. The Phantasma Scale tends to populate on the upper surfaces of palm leaves.

Signs Your Palm Trees May Have Phantasma Scale

The Phantasma Scale feeds on several ornamental plant species, such as the palm tree. Cautionary signs of Phantasma Scale are blotchy yellow patches on your palm tree’s leaves, resulting in leaves dropping.1 Other signs of the parasite’s presence are loss of plant vigor and stunted growth.2

If you see symptoms of Phantasma Scale on your palm trees you may want to contact a certified arborist for a consultation. 

Steps You Can Take for Phantasma Scale Removal

Upon suspicion of Phantasma Scale, or any parasite, we recommend reaching out to our certified arborists in South Florida. These experts specialize in parasite protection and removal and are authorities in dealing with parasites native to South Florida, such as the Phantasma Scale. As the Phantasma Scale is a relatively new parasite, there are currently no known home remedies and treatments that we can recommend for its eradication. 

It is crucial to quickly limit the damage caused to your palm trees and prevent it from spreading to palm trees that may not be infested yet. These parasites cannot move far distances; however, gusts of wind can facilitate spreading.2 

If your palm trees seem healthy, it is important to keep them that way. At Zimmerman Tree Service, we provide tree pruning services that can make sure your palm trees are healthy year-round. 

Related Readings:

How Can I Tell If My Tree Is Sick?

Different Types of Palm Trees Grown In South Florida

 

Sources:

1New Palm Pest in Florida: Phantasma Scale (Fiorinia Phantasma)

2Eppo Alert List – Fiorinia phantasma (Hemiptera: Diaspididae)

 

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