Common Landscaping Insects and Diseases to Be Aware of in Florida

You probably imagine beautiful sunshine, beautiful beaches, warm temperatures, and green palm trees when you think of South Florida. While this stunning natural beauty makes Florida a major attraction for tourists and residents alike, this type of climate unfortunately also attracts various insects and diseases that affect landscaping.

If you’re interested in purchasing property in South Florida, especially if that home also has an element of landscaping, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the common insects and diseases that could affect your property. Keep reading to learn more about the top six most common issues you may run into regarding your landscaping and pests, as well as the best ways to tackle these issues if they do arise.

Ficus Whitefly

Ficus whiteflies are small, winged insects that belong to the Order Hemiptera, including aphids, scales, and mealybugs. These insects typically feed on the underside of leaves with their “needle-like” mouthparts. Whiteflies can seriously injure host plants by sucking nutrients from the plant, causing wilting, yellowing, stunting, leaf drop, or even death. The ficus whitefly has few natural enemies and can cause significant damage to Ficus Benjamina hedges and trees. To control and remove this pest, a landscaper will need to drench the affected plant’s roots with a pesticide – this can be expensive. 

Ganoderma Butt Rot

This lethal fungus has killed many trees and palms in the last several decades. Ganoderma butt rot is a soilborne disease, so if your plant or palm is found to be infected, all of your plants will likely need to be removed in that area to prevent the spread of the disease. 

Fusarium Wilt of Queen and Mexican Fan Palms

Fusarium wilt of queen palm and Mexican fan palm is caused by the fungus F. oxysporum f. sp. palmarum. The fungus causes vascular wilt of the palm and has no known cure. This disease is primarily spread by birds and insects and is identifiable by palms turning yellow to brown on one half of the palm frond.

Fusarium Wilt Pheonix Canarienisis

Similar to the above fusarium wilt, this disease affects Phoenix varieties of date palms. It is deadly and has no known cure. 

Lethal Bronzing

Unlike the above diseases, lethal bronzing affects many palm species throughout Florida, such as Queen Palms, Mexican Fan Palms, and Sable Palms. This disease is transmitted by a leafhopper insect from tree to tree and has no known cure. 

Lethal Viral Necrosis

Also called Mosaic Virus, Lethal Viral Necrosis was first found in West Palm Beach in 2014 around Wellington and Western Boynton Beach, Florida. Unfortunately, the disease has spread to multiple areas around Florida, such as Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Hillsborough, and Collier counties. Symptoms are most visible during the fall and winter months when lawns are growing less vigorously.

The virus replaces the chlorophyll in the leaf blade reducing the formation of sugars and starches known as photosynthesis, causing the decline, necrosis and dieback. We have noted an increase in this disease on properties pulling water from lakes or canals. Lethal Viral Necrosis can be transmitted by mechanical means, aphids and other potential insect vectors.

Our Procedures

At Cutters Edge, our team uses ISA Arborists and Certified PCO to identify areas of concern. If we find any areas of concern, we can send samples to the University of Florida to determine what is affecting your landscaping. If any of the above diseases are confirmed, our team follows the following procedure:

  • Clean and disinfect mowers and sanitize equipment between properties to make sure you isolate diseases or insects to the serviced property.
  • Disinfect or dispose of chains used to trim affected palms or trees.
  • Mow affected turf areas to slow the disease spread to other areas of the property.
  • Provide an estimate to the property owners to remove affected turf areas, trees, or palms identified with any of the above diseases.
  • Provide an estimate to the property owner to replace turf, trees and palms that are not susceptible to insects or diseases.

At Cutters Edge, our goal is to provide the highest quality service and products at a fair market value so every property owner, from the smallest to largest, can afford to improve their property’s values. We are proud to serve the Tri-county area and lead the landscape industry in all of Broward. From Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Hollywood, Coral Spring, Weston, Plantation, Tamarac and Sunrise to Lauderhill, Oakland Park, Dania Beach, Pompano Beach, Hallandale and Miami Gardens. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your landscaping issues!