The disease is severe in several gardens in hilly belts of the district, especially at Narkilakkad and Elerithattu of West Eleri panchayat

Bud rot, a lethal disease affecting coconut trees, is spreading fast in the hilly tracts of Kasaragod district, providing yet another blow to the farmers, reeling under poor market for their produce.

The disease is severe in several gardens in hilly belts of the district, especially at Narkilakkad and Elerithattu of West Eleri panchayath, and many palms are virtually destroyed or in the grip of serious stages of the deadly disease.

Spindle damage or breakage due to wind was also rampant in these areas, an assessment made by the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) here said. CPCRI team visited Narkilakkad and Elarithattu on August 19 interacted with about 120 farmers.

Remedy

The bud rot disease is caused by a fungus called Phytophthora palmivora, which lead to rotting of the growing bud of the palm, eventually destroying the palm. Low temperature and high humidity, coupled with steady rain this year across the State, helped the fungus multiplication and thereby spreading the disease in select areas, they said.

In most palms, the spindle was damaged or broken due to the monsoon wind or rhinoceros beetle attack. The damaged spindle acts as a site for fungal infection chancing for occurrence of the disease, in case effective fungicide treatment module was put in place immediately. In order to avoid further destruction of palms owing to bud rot, the broken or damaged spindle is to be removed and the wound should be swabbed with the fungicides- mancozeb  5 gm in 300 ml water and covered with a polythene sheet till the new bud emerges.

Further spread of the disease to coconut palms in the vicinity can be achieved by placing of two perforated sachets containing 5 gm of fungicide- mancozeb in the innermost leaf axil as a prophylactic measure. The already dead palms should be removed from the garden and destroyed. Control measures need to be adopted immediately to save the affected palms as they succumb to the disease very fast, an official said.