Salacca zalacca or commonly known as snake fruit is the fruit of a palm tree that grows prolific in the tropic. Even though it is a tropical fruit plant yet some gardeners reportedly has been successfully grown it in colder climates.
When cultivating a plant you will certainly experience many problems. Incorrect planting techniques is the number one mistake most beginners make. Additionally, there are also various aspects that affect the growth and the production including pests and diseases.
So, today I will discuss about the pests and diseases that attack a snake fruit tree and how to control them. This might also be applicable in other palm trees.
Snake fruit pests
Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about what pest is and then I’ll lists this unwanted creatures that attack a palm tree, especially snake fruit tree and how to control them.
According to the Australian Government of The Department of Health, a pest is a living organisms (animals, plants or insects) that endanger or harmful to human concern.
An organism that carry one or more of these 7 characteristics can be defined as a pest:
- Carry disease-causing micro-organisms and parasites
- Attack and eat vegetable and cereal crops
- Damage stored food
- Attack and eat farm and station animals
- Damage clothing
- Damage buildings
- Bite people
The pests that attack a snake fruit tree are mainly insects and mammals. Below are 6 known pests that attack, damage and eat snake fruit :
Asian Palm Civet
Believe it or not, besides coffee beans it turns out that civet also likes to eat snake fruit seeds. I actually have written a story when I Nyoman Mertha Kong King, a snake fruit farmer from Bali caught a civet eating snake fruit seeds on his farm. Check it out!
Asian palm civet will not drastically reduce the fruit production as long as the population is relatively small, but when the population increases then you should consider controlling it. The best way to protect your plant from civet is by creating a trap around the tree.
Some of you might have had that experience when you look at your garden in the morning and saw this cute little mammal damaging your palm tree.
“Arrrrrg! Those darn squirrels!”
How to get rid of squirrel as a pest in 4 easy ways:
- Create a live trap
- Minimize foods source that attract this animal (bird seeds or food leftovers)
- Seal entry points
- Cut tree branches that over hang outside your garden
Unlike civet, rat will eat the whole fruit from the tree and its population usually is larger than civet. The best method to get rid of rat in your garden is by using rodenticides poisoning or a trap.
Termite perhaps is the most destructing pest of a snake fruit tree. This pest will attack all parts of the plant, starting from the leaves, the stems, the fruits, and the roots.
If you see termites in your garden you must act immediately, don’t wait till your plants died. You should watch for termite nest or termite mound, if there’s any than your garden perhaps is already has a termite infestation.
The best way to get rid of termites in a snake fruit tree or in your garden is by using insecticide.
White lice are usually found on the surface of the lower leaves. This pest alters the leaf by sucking its fluid. In consequence, the leaves color turns into yellow and withering.
The best way to deal with this pest is by applying systemic insecticides. However, if there are only several trees that are infected then you can just cut off the affected leaves.
Beetle larvae are the most common pests found in the young snake fruit tree. This pest usually spreads through eggs carried by manure. The newly hatched beetle larvae will immediately hoist the stem and part of the root. Pest infestation usually occurs at the shift from the rainy season to the dry season.
The best way to get rid of beetle larvae is by giving insecticides such as Furadan 3G. Apply the insecticide along with fertilizer either chemical fertilizers or manure.
Snake fruit diseases
Snake fruit diseases are caused by a fungal infection that is common in the environment. A common fungus infection found on a snake fruit tree includes Pestalotia, Snow fungus, and Corticium salmonicolor. Below are the diseases of a snake fruit tree:
Snow fungus is the cause of fruit rot in snake fruit plants. When the fruit is infected by this fungus it will become very watery and unattractive. You can prevent further infection by removing the rotten fruit so that the other fruit won’t get infected.
Black spot is caused by Pestalotia infection. The plants that are infected by this pathogen have symptoms including black spots both in young and old leaves. A humid environment is the main factor causing this pathogen to infect the plant.
To prevent the infection you should remove lawn weeds and prune the tree regularly. If your plant has been infected, you should immediately spray them with fungicide.
This disease is caused by Corticium salmonicolor. The infection is characterized by decay in the stem and the fruit. This disease is usually referred to as red or pink rot because you will find a red fungus on the infected tree.
To prevent and control this disease you can do the same method as how you deal with black spot disease.