The diseases explained

Fruit rot disease is characterised by rotting and heavy shedding of immature nuts.

In case of bud rot, the fungus can attack the bunch stalk or the tender portion of the stem. It can enter directly through the outer leaf sheath into the tender growing point leading to crown rot.

Bud rot and crown rot can occur frequently in fruit rot-affected palms either independently or following severe fruit rot.

Bud rot is characterised by rotting of growing bud and the surrounding tissues. The initial visible symptom is yellowing of the spindle leaf. The affected spindle loses its natural green colour and in the advanced stages, turn to yellow and can be drawn out with a gentle pull. When the infection becomes severe and spreads to adjacent leaves, they turn yellow, droop and drop off ultimately leaving a bare stem.

In case of crown rot, infection initiates from the base of outermost leaf sheath or from the stalk ends of infected areca bunches or developing inflorescence and slowly spread to the internal tissues of the stem.

The first visible symptom is yellowing of the outermost leaf sheath. When the infection becomes severe, internal tissues of the crown rots, leaves turn yellow and finally, the palm dies.

(Source: Arecanut, book published by the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute, Kasaragod, Kerala.)

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