Management of basal stem rot in oil palm
Very few diseases are noticed on oil palm grown under irrigated and rain fed conditions. During recent times sporadic occurrence of basal stem rot was noticed in farmers’ gardens under irrigated conditions. Following technology is suggested for identification and management of the disease.
Basal stem rot (BSR) is a major pathogenic disease that may cause huge loss to oil palm. Generally the disease is seen in coastal area plantations where it has already affected the old coconut, arecanut, rubber plantations, palmyrah (toddy) palms and several forest trees.
Symptoms include withering, yellowing and orange discoloration of leaves followed by necrosis on one side of older fronds. Necrosis occurring in the lower leaves, extends progressively to younger leaves of the crown.
Affected palms appear pale and produce excessive number of spears.
In the affected palms, the disease produces dry rot of internal tissues. This severely restricts the supply of water and nutrients to the palm.
Adopt field sanitation by removing stumps along with roots of the dead palms and disease affected palms, shredding into pieces and burning insitu.
Isolate the disease affected palms from the neighbouring palms by digging trenches 3 – 4 m away from trunk, 1 m deep and 30 cm wide to prevent root contact.
The trenches have to be made around the disease affected palm and the neighbouring healthy palms.
The palms should be given normal recommended dose of fertilizers. Add organic manures in the form of FYM/vermi compost or by growing leguminous cover crops or through leaf mulching.
Application of 50 gm talc powder formulations of trichoderma viride in combination with 5 kg neem cake/ palm/ year to the basins of basal stem rot affected palms and the surrounding palms will control the infestation spread.
Sufficient soil moisture has to be maintained through irrigation coupled with mulching.
M.V. Prasad & M. Kochu Babu
National Research Centre for Oil Palm
Pedavegi, Andhra Pradesh
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