Basal stem rot of coconut is known as Thanjavur (Tanjore) wilt in
Tamil Nadu. It is also called as bole rot.
In India the causal agent of basal stem rot of coconut, Ganoderma
lucidum was first recorded in Karnataka State by Butler in 1913.
This disease was noticed in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu after
the cyclones of 1952 and hence the name Thanjavur wilt. In a limited
survey conducted in 8 districts of Tamil Nadu during 1980, the incidence
ranged from 2.6 to 13.5 per cent.
In some of the severely affected gardens in Muthupet and Thambikottai,
the incidence is as high as 31.4 per cent. The disease has been reported
in India, Malaya, New Guinea, the Philippiness and Sri Lanka. In Tamil
Nadu, it occurs in all coconut growing districts.
It also occurs in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka. Kerala,
Maharashtra and Orissa. While root (wilt) disease of coconut is a major
constraint in the production of coconut in Kerala, basal stem rot of
coconut is threatening the coconut industry not only in Tamil Nadu but
also in the neighbouring States.
The diseased trees show the following typical symptoms in different
parts of the palm viz., stem, leaves, inflorescence and roots.
The first visible symptom of the disease is found on the basal portion
of the stem. Diseased palm shows exudation of reddish brown, viscous
liquid from the basal portion of the stem upto three metres. Discolouration
of the stem and internal rotting are commonly noticed upto the height
of bleeding (exudation).
In advanced stages of basal stem rot the basal portion of the stem
Some palms show wilting symptoms without external bleeding. In some
trees, the bark of the stem peels off. The fructifications of the fungus
can be observed at the base of the tree just above the ground level
in diseased palms in the advanced phase or in the bark of dead palms.
In diseased palms the leaflets in the outer one or two whorls show
yellowing and drooping. In advanced stages of infection, the remaining
leaves droop down in quick succession except the spindle leaf.
Delayed production of new leaves and reduction in size of leaves are
other symptoms. Outer leaves fall off. The spindles become short and
do not unfold properly. In some trees, leaves break off near the base
along the midrib.
Under certain conditions, buds show soft rot and emit bad smell. In
advanced stage of the disease, the crown is blown off leaving the decapitated
Inflorescence and nuts
In the diseased trees development of flowers is arrested and button
shedding is common. As the leaves of diseased palms droop down, the
substended bunches also hand down.
The quality of kernels from such bunches is poor, in most of the cases
nuts are barren. When the disease progress is slow, only very few normal
nuts are produced.
Most of the coconut trees bear profusely just prior to and at the
time of initiation of symptoms. In severely diseased palms, nut and
kernel weight, water content, copra weight and oil content decrease.
Decay and death of finer roots preceeds bleeding symptoms in the them.
With the advancement of the disease rotting spreads to other roots and
may show rotting in 70 per cent of the total number of roots.
Production of new roots in a diseased palm is very poor. Root rot
was 42 to 75 per cent upto 60 cm soil depth and 17 per cent at deeper
Ganoderma lucidum (Leyss) Karst. Mycelium is hyaline, thin walled,
branches with frequent clamp connnections. Chlamydospores are ellipsoid
and slightly thick-walled. They may be terminal or intercalary and some
time found in chains.
The fruit body is perennial, stipitate, usually lateral and sometimes
sessile, It is corky at first and becomes woody later. Hymenial surface
is white or cream at first and turns brown later. Pores are small, round.
Basidiospores are thick-walled brown, minutely verrucose, truncated
at one end
The disease appears to spread from a particular focus of infection
towards the periphery in a concentric fashion, the annual rate being
0.2 to 4.8 per cent. The spread is mainly through root contact (root
graft) between diseased and healthy palms.
Uncontrolled flood irrigation in the entire field or running irrigation
channels along the palm rows where diseased palms exist or repeated
ploughing in the affected garden aids in the rapid spread of the disease.
The disease incidence is more between the months of March and August.
In general, bleeding symptoms and number of wilted trees are more during
Aureofungin-sol 2 g + one g Copper sulphate or 2 ml of Tridemorph
dissolved in 100 ml water may be applied as root feeding. The active
absorbing root of pencil thickness be selected and a slanting cut is
The solution is taken in a polythene bag or bottle and the cut end
of the root is dipped in the solution.
Forty litres of 1% Bordeaux mixture should be applied as soil drench
around the trunk in a radius of 1.5 metre. Neem cake (5 kg/tree can
be applied along with fertilizers and Azotobactor (200 g/tree).
For early diagnosis of Thanjavur Wilt, an EDTA test utilising the
root samples has been developed and based on the O.D. values the disease
intensity can be detected.
Disease intensityOptical Density Value Mild-0.18
- 0.22 Moderate-0.24 - 0.59 Severe-> 0.59
Healthy palm-0.02 - 0.10 The test is simple and cost
Intercrop banana to reduce the severity of Thanjavur Wilt.
Application of phosphobacteria mixed in 10 Kg of FYM is effective
in the management of Thanjavur wilt. Five Kg of Neem cake is to be applied
in the basins of the diseased tree.
After one month, one packet of phosphobacteria (200 g) mixed with
10 Kg of FYM is to be applied. This may be done preferably between September
and January months and trees should be given regular irrigation.
In sandy soil, organic matter status of the soil has to be improved.
For this, green manure crops may be raised and ploughed in situ or well
decomposed farm yard manure at 50 kg per palm has to be applied every
year. Only if organic manures is applied,will the fungicides be effective.
Coconut root (wilt) disease was first reported in Kerala following
the great floods of 1882.
Since then it has been spreading slowly towards North and South Kerala
extending to few gardens in adjoining Tamil Nadu.
In Tamil Nadu it occurs in Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari
In advanced stages of the disease there was 80 per cent reduction
The disease is non-lethal but debilitating.
The characteristic symptoms are conspicuous bending of middle and
outer whorls of leaves, flaccidity (ribbing of leaflets), yellowing
and necrosis of leaflets.
In the diseased zone over 20 per cent of the affected palms succumb
to leaf rot disease, rendering deterioration of such palms faster.
Abnormal shedding of buttons and immature nuts, poor setting of nuts,
inferior quality of nuts, lack of ability to produce female flowers
and a degenerated root system are important symptoms of the disease.
In diseased palms drying up of the palms and necrosis of spikelets
from the tip downwards are other symptoms.
Most of the pollens are sterile or with low viability.
The nuts in the diseased palms have thinner husk and the fibres are
thin and weak.
MLO is spread by lace wing bugs, Stephanites typicus (Distant). Palms
of all ages and all soil types are affected, but those of pre-bearing
and early bearing stages are more prone to infection. Palms contracting
the disease in pre-bearing stage remain unproductive.
Spray the leaves with
Monocrotophos 0.05 ml/lit or Endosulfan (1 ml/lit).
Apply balanced doses of fertilizers (1 kg Urea, 1.7 kg Super phosphate,
1.7 kg Muriate of potash and 3 kg Magnesium sulphate per palm per year
in two splits, 1/3 during April-May and 2/3 during September - October
for rainfed palms and in 4 splits during January, April, July and october
for irrigated palms).
Apply 50kg of farmyard manure/palm/year.
Grow green manure crops like Pueraria phaseloides in basin and incorporate
at the time of fertilizer application.
Control the leaf rot disease by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.3%
(3 g/litre) Copper oxychloride or 0.3% (3 g/litre)Mancozeb.
Irrigate the palm during summer months at the rate of 600-900 litres
of water/basin once in 4 to 6 days.
Avoid water logging by providing proper drainage during rainy seasons.
It is one of the mot important disease of coconut and mostly found
in Tanjavur and Kanyakumari districts.
The characteristics symptom is the exudation of reddish brown fluid
from the cracks in the stem.
The fluid trickles down several feet on the stem and the exudate
dries up forming a black crust.
The tissues below the cracks turn yellow and decay.
As the disease progresses, more area underneath the bark gets decayed
and the bleeding patch extends further up.
The vigour of the tree is affected and nut yield is reduced.
The tree is not killed out right but becomes uneconomical to maintain.
In extreme cases, the trees may become barren and die.
The fungus produces two types of conidia. Macroconidia are produced
on conidiophores singly or in chains.
They are spherical and dark green in colour. Microcondinia are produced
endogenously inside the long cells of conidiophores and cell ruptures
when mature and release the microcondia in long chain.
Microconidia (endoconidia) are thinwalled, hyaline and cylindrical
in form. C. paradoxa also produces hyaline perithecia with a long neck
base is ornamented with knobbed appendages and ostiole is covered by
numerous pale-brown, erect, tapering hyphae. Asci are clavate and ascospores
are hyaline and ellipsoid.
Copious irrigation or rainfall followed by drought, shallow loamy
soils or laterite soil with clay or rock layer beneath the soil, poor
maintenance of gardens and damages by Diocalandra and Xyleborus beetles.
Mode of Spread and Survival
The fungus survives in the infected plant debris and soil as perithecia
Spread is mainly through wind-bome conidia.
Irrigation and rain water also help in the disease spread.
Beetles which feed on the diseased plants also help in transmission.
The bark of the trunk should be removed in the bleeding area and Bordeaux
paste should be applied in this area.
Preparation of 1% Bordeaux mixture:
A quantity of 400 g of copper sulphate should be dissolved in 20
litres of water.
400 g of lime in another 20 litres of water separately.
The copper sulphate solution should be added to the lime solution
constantly stirring the mixture.
Earthen or wooden vessels alone should be sued and metallic containers
should not be used.
To find out whether the mixture is in correct proportion, a polished
knife should be dipped in the mixture for one minute and taken out.
If there is reddish brown deposit of copper, additional quantity of
lime should be added till there is no deposit in the knife.
Preparation of Bordeaux paste: Take 200 g of Copper sulphate and dissolve
it in one litre of water.
Take 200 g of lime and dissolve in one litre of water separately.
Both are mixed simultaneously in a third vessel and the resultant
mixture can be used as a paste.
Tatipaka disease is a slow debilitating disease of coconut in Andhra
Pradesh and it severely affects the productivity of coconut. Declining
yield of coconut trees in Tatipaka village in Andhra Pradesh.
As the disease was first reported from 'Tatipaka' village, it is known
as Tatipaka disease. It is not a serious one in Tamil Nadu.
Tatipaka disease is found mostly in coconut trees of 20 to 60 years
age. At the initial stage of the disease the root growth is vigorous.
With the advancement of the disease root growth is reduced. Diseased
palms show extensive root rot.
Root regeneration is highly reduced which results in slow decline
of diseased palms. Tapering of the stem below the crown is one of the
characteristic features. Diseased trees show twisted trunk or trunk
bent in 'S' shape below the crown. Diseased palms have reduced number
of leaves. Leaves become small, light green and slowly turn yellowish
In the early stages, only lower leaves show yellowing symptoms. Subsequently
all the leaves turn yellow with marked reduction in leaflet size. In
some cases, leaflets of some leaves adhere together without normal splitting.
This gives a fasciated appearance to the leaf. Water-soaked lesions
may appear on leaflets of some trees. The fronds instead of bending
at the tips as in normal trees, shows a bow-like appearance due to bending
at the middle.
Some fronds are found twisted. The dried up fronds usually hang below
the crown instead of naturally falling to the ground.
The spathes are very small with less number of rachille. Diseased
palms produce less number of bunches year after year. In early stages
of the disease, normal but small sized nuts are produced.
With increase in disease severity, number of normal nuts get reduced.
Atrophied nuts are found increased in diseased bunches. Some trees may
bear only atrophied nuts. Atrophied nuts are small, contain no water
and copra and are even without shell.
They are full of fibre. Some nuts show longitudinal cracks with gum
formation. In extreme cases of tatipaka disease, the palms do not produce
any nuts and become barren.
Nuts in diseased trees change from elongated to round shape. Hard
mesocarp becomes soft with number of depressions. Water content and
copra weight are reduced. Such nuts have very short storage life.
The disease can be controlled by eradication of diseased palms. Dwarf
cultivar, Gangabondam in the disease prone area is found to be free
form the disease.