Strange canker disease on Plumeria

mjhuntingtonbeachJuly 14, 2010

Hi folks. Over the past month I've noticed a strange canker developing on my Jeannie Moragne which is in it's third year from cutting for me. About a month ago I noticed some splitting on the trunk, figured it was just due to the trunk growing. Later, I noticed a sunken area - it covered about half the trunk, and seems to be gradually spreading to the point where I'm afraid it's going to girdle the tree (about three feet tall) and kill it.

It looks as if the living tissue in the outer bark has died down to the wood core. I noticed the same thing on a Kaneohe Sunrise cutting I had about two years ago near the soil line but when I raised the level of the plant in the pot it seemed to heal over. I took the attached pictures, and then looked around at my other plants and noticed something similar on a three year old Jungle Jack's Inner Peace.

Does anyone have any ideas of what this might be and how to treat it? I googled plumeria diseases and could only find the usual about rust, mildew and comments about how disease resistant plumeria normally are. No mention of this strange sort of girdling canker. I'm guessing I'll have to cut off the tree above the canker and re-root later in the summer but I'd really rather not.

And by the way, it's not sun scald as only a small portion of the trunk gets sun and we're just now getting out of our miserable June Gloom this week. And on the Inner Peace it seems to be starting on the underside of the branch.


Jeannie Moragne:

Inner Peace:

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I have had a similar problem. I have had a few plumeria s that are dead wood in the middle of the branch or trunk and have had to cut them and root them.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 11:48PM
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I have the same problem with one of my in ground plumerias (been in the ground for 4-5 years). The cracking and peeling of the bark has been severe and left just the core of the trunk. In fact, a couple of branches no longer have any strength and are hitting the ground. No one can seem to tell me what caused the problem. I have another plumeria that is developing splits like you've shown. Have you received any information regarding this condition? Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:46PM
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sunseeker53(10a CA USA)

Wow, I haven't seen anything like this before, but it is quite worrysome. Please post your findings if you ever find the information. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 1:48AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone.

I agree with sunseeker, it doesnt look good.

Could it be some kind of beetle (borer) that is infecting them. I remember Karen from Maryland said that she had them at one point. Maybe you can find her email..if u have a hard time finding a post from me and i can relay the message for you.

Is the stem still hard? SOft?

How many are infected?

One thought...if u wanted to try and do an experiment on one and see if this would help...

Take one of the limbs and use the tile and sealant that we all use in Brown ot tan,whuch ever matches your stem and "patch" it up with that.

It would be nice to see if there are answers to this...

Have you called FLorida Colors or ask anyone from MPG Forum?

Hope this helps...

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 8:40AM
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Hm, the first six photos look like a sunburned area that split from the stress. It looks like cambium tissue starting to overgrow the dead sunburned area, trying to heal itself.

Then the seventh photo looks like all the "cankers" are starting at the point of leaf nodes, especially in the bottom node where you can see the black of possible rot. Maybe the rot caused dead tissue which, again, is being overgrown in an effort to heal the area.

The eighth photo also has what looks like sunburn. Maybe this is what happens when unusually hot weather is followed by periods of cooler, damp weather on a plant stressed by sunburn?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 10:04AM
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I have seen this on an outlying branch in one of my trees last year. I left it alone and have not observed ill effects. However...I am pretty sure it was not a flower producing branch this year nor did it put out much green wood. I don't know enough to say if its related or not.

I treated with Three in One Fungicide at a later point for spider mites (unrelated in my opinion) and gave a pretty good dousing to that area as an afterthought. Perhaps it helped.

I agree with Jen it may be sunburn related. It would seem odd to me that an insect would precisely attack at leaf nodes.

Maybe treat with a neem oil fungicide for 1 or 2 treatment cycles and then seal like Laura says? Or treat and let it scar over by itself. Supposition on my part but I don't think Neem oil has ever damaged a Plumeria.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 4:48PM
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Correction: after taking a closer look I found both tips on this branch have active inflos.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 8:33PM
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