PRESS RELEASE BY THE PLANT HEALTH DIRECTORATE: Plant Health Directorate: Guidelines for the use of palm fronds on the occasion of Palm Sunday (2017)

As Palm Sunday is fast approaching, the Plant Health Directorate within the Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change would like to emphasise the importance of ensuring that palm fronds used for this celebration are deemed to be free from any presence or symptoms of the red palm weevil.

It has to be emphasised that fronds are not to be taken from the crown, but that older leaves are to be used instead.

Palm trees from which fronds are taken should be sprayed with an appropriate insecticide after the fronds are removed according to the guidelines which may be found on the Directorate’s website http://agriculture.gov.mt/en/phd/Pages/Guidelines.aspx. For maximum protection this treatment should be applied for three consecutive times. Fronds should be cut as short as possible to minimise the use of infected wood which is usually found at the base of the frond. The wounds created by the removal of fronds should be painted over with mastic paint since the red palm weevil is attracted to fresh-cut wounds, and thus would find a suitable place to deposit the eggs.

In order to achieve better pest control, the Plant Health Directorate is requesting the co-operation of the public during these Holy Week activities, so that these may continue to be experienced by future generations.

Source: Government of Malta