AGNET - The Palm Tree Whodunnit, Part 1
By Laurie Sheldon
Based loosely on Robert Northrop's presentation at the 2012 FNPS Conference.
|Ruskin, a sleepy little town on Florida's west coast.|
|"My tree is dead and someone just|
mistook me for Barbara Billingsley!"
I was on field patrol, Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industry Division, with my partner, Phil Shannon. Our boss, Captain Crunch, was out fishing. My name is Sunday - Moe Sunday - I carry a badge.
Our day got started in a hurry. "Lady, calm down," I said, "did you see the perpetrator?" "No - only the victims," she replied, “they’re all around my neighborhood and one of them is in my front yard.” "Can you describe it to me?" "Yes,” she responded, “it’s 20' tall and looks like it had a run-in with a hairdresser who was bad at highlighting.” I took down her address, instructed her to stay put, and headed out the door with Shannon.
|(left) Phoenix canariensis with Fusarium wilt. (right) Close-up of unilateral leaf damage.|
We heard a voice coming from the radio in the squad car. “Crunch to Sunday and Shannon. Do you copy?” I grabbed the handset. “10-4, Captain. What’s up?” He told us about a sick Phoenix dactylifera (date palm) he saw on his way back from fishing that morning. “I have a hunch it’s Ganoderma,” he said, “but I was driving and didn’t get a very good look at it. It’s on the southeast corner at the intersection of SE 14th Avenue and SW 1st Street, just off the Tamiami Trail. Please check it out before you return to headquarters. Also, bring me a donut - something with sprinkles.” “10-4. Over and out,” I responded.
|Ganoderma basidiocarp (a.k.a. "conk")|
|P. dactylifera with fruit drop|
|Flame sterilization of drill bit|
Monday, December 11, 2006, 8:30 A.M.
|Neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree of|
phytoplasma 16S rRNA gene sequences