Pest of the Month June 2008 – Bacterial Leaf Blight of Fishtail Palm

  • Distribution:  Most common in nurseries with overhead irrigation and in high rainfall areas.
  • Symptoms:  Initial symptoms are small, water-soaked, translucent to light yellow to light brown banded areas running along and around leaf veins.  Mature lesions develop a brown to black color and may have a chlorotic (yellow) halo; lesions range from a minimum of 1-2 mm wide and in length up to the entire length of affected leaves. 


  •      Eliminate overhead irrigation that impacts leaves, irrigate in the morning
         instead of the evening, grow plants under cover from frequent rainfall 
  •      Use preventive sprays of copper-containing or antibiotic-containing
  •      Remove & destroy symptomatic leaves; destroy entire plants if they are
         affected severely
  •      Provide good air circulation around plants to allow leaf drying after they�
         become wet 
  •      Do not transplant symptomatic plants into landscapes

Source: Bacterial Leaf Blight of Fishtail Palm, Scot Nelson, University of Hawai’i Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Cooperative Extension Service Plant Disease PD-65, January 2009.

Bacterial Leaf Blight of Fishtail Palm. Photo courtesy Dr. Scot Nelson, UH CTAHR