Thursday | May 05, 2016
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Something eating your palm fronds? The doctor is in

Something eating your palm fronds? Are the leaves a strange yellow color? Bring a frond for the doctor to analyze at the next Hawaii Island Palm Society meeting at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The society invites the public to a PowerPoint presentation and discussion on “Palm Diseases and Pests in Hawaii” by Scot Nelson, Ph.D., in UH-Hilo room UCB-114. UCB is the tallest building adjacent to the upper end of the main parking lot off Kawili Street.

Nelson has worked since 1992 as a plant pathologist for the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Residing in Honolulu, he is responsible for plant disease education and research programs throughout the state of Hawaii.

His photos of palm diseases and pests represent data he collected during consultations with palm growers throughout Hawaii and the Pacific. His material is periodically updated to reflect the latest developments. His presentation will include information on how to deal with these diseases and pests.

Everyone is invited to bring “sick” fronds for Nelson to analyze and indentify the pest or disease afflicting the particular palm.

Nelson has produced a number of palm pest resources to provide problem diagnosis, pest management guidelines and educational opportunities for palm growers and service industries. He developed a new, interactive website with information about plant diseases and pests as well as a free, diagnostic app for smart phones (“The Plant Doctor” app).

He may be contacted through his website at, by email at snelson@hawaii.eduor by telephone at his laboratory at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 513 Gilmore Hall, (808) 956-6741.

The event sponsor, the 200-member Hawaii Island Palm Society, a chapter of the International Palm Society, is an educational group dedicated to demonstrating to the public the variety of palms that can be grown in the Hawaii landscape and to providing information concerning palms and their cultivation.

Each year the group sponsors numerous slide shows and field trips to accomplish these objectives. As a community education project, members continue to plant new species of palms at the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens outside Hilo, and maintain the more than 100 species already planted there. They have also planted a new Cycad Garden at the entrance to the zoo, with cinder hills and meandering pathways that invite you to stroll through the garden.

For more information about this event or the Hawaii Island Palm Society, contact HIPS President Tim Brian at 333-5626 or visit the society website at


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