Question: A tree trimmer said my royal palm is diseased and should be removed. Another source said it was a possible lightning strike but should recover. There is new growth at the top of the tree. Do I replace the tree or wait? -- Dave Prostejovsky, Davie

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<big><b>Robert answers:</b> Lightning strikes usually kill the palm and exit holes with oozing sap occur at the base of the palm. All the palm fronds hang down after a lightning strike. There is no evidence of disease from the photos. The holes and oozing in the crown shaft are probably caused by the rotten cane borer. The new growth is pale and indicates a fertilizer treatment. Palms do not heal any wounds and must be protected from the weed whacker. I would remove the palm and replace it with an Alexander palm which is more suitable for your space. The Alexander palm is self pruning and is disease and pest free except for occasional scale. You should fertilize the palms with palm fertilizer in March, June and October.</big>

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Robert answers: Lightning strikes usually kill the palm and exit holes with oozing sap occur at the base of the palm. All the palm fronds hang down after a lightning strike. There is no evidence of disease from the photos. The holes and oozing in the crown shaft are probably caused by the rotten cane borer. The new growth is pale and indicates a fertilizer treatment. Palms do not heal any wounds and must be protected from the weed whacker. I would remove the palm and replace it with an Alexander palm which is more suitable for your space. The Alexander palm is self pruning and is disease and pest free except for occasional scale. You should fertilize the palms with palm fertilizer in March, June and October.

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