Fusarium Wilt and the Palm Quarantine
Texas Department of Agriculture has issued an emergency quarantine on Mexican Fan and Queen Palms from the State of Florida.
Effective February 8, 2016, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has imposed an emergency quarantine on the shipments of Mexican Fan and Queen Palms into the State of Texas from the State of Florida due to the threat of Fusarium wilt. This is a temporary quarantine, and will remain in effect until TDA is confident Florida’s standards of testing are sufficient enough to protect our industry from the spread of this disease. When that threshold is met, TDA has the authority to remove the quarantine.
The disease has been present in Florida since 2010 or earlier and is currently widespread throughout most of the state. In 2013, Fusarium wilt was identified in a Mexican fan palm sample received from a dying landscape palm in Harris County, Texas, by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. However, there have been no confirmed cases in Texas since then. During November-December 2015, a total of 31 samples were collected by TDA at nurseries and in landscapes in Cameron, San Patricio, Harris, Hidalgo and Cameron counties; all of the samples tested negative for F. oxysporum f. sp. palmarum. All the samples were taken from established symptomatic palms. The mode of spread of this disease to mature landscape palms remains unknown, but is suspected to be via airborne spores.
TDA and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will continue to test suspect samples here in Texas.