June 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the June Edition of my newsletter. Please feel free to reply with a comment. I am always looking to improve on the content for my subscribers.

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Florida palms getting the wrong kind of "Bronzing" this summer
Disease called 'lethal bronzing’ is killing Florida palm trees

Florida's iconic palm trees are under attack from a fatal disease that turns them to dried crisps in months, with no chance for recovery once they become ill.

Spread by a rice-sized, plant-hopping insect, lethal bronzing has gone from a small infestation on Florida's Gulf Coast to a nearly statewide problem in just over a decade. Tens of thousands of palm trees have died from the bacterial disease, and the pace of its spread is increasing, adding to environmental woes of a state already struggling to save its other arboreal icon, citrus trees, from two other diseases.

Florida's official state tree — the tall, broad-leafed sabal palm — is especially susceptible and Florida nurseries, businesses and homeowners are taking a financial hit as they scrap infected palms. Some preventive measures can be taken, but once infected, uprooting the tree is the only practical solution.

"Getting this disease under control is essential because it has the potential to drastically modify our landscape," said Brian Bahder, an entomologist who studies insect-borne plant diseases and is a leader in the state's battle against lethal bronzing.

If nothing is done, Bahder said, "I don't think all the palm trees will die, but the issue we see will get a lot worse before it gets better."

Lethal bronzing, which experts say likely originated in Mexico, also is found in parts of Texas and throughout the Caribbean. Some worry it will migrate to California and Arizona, infecting date palms and damaging that fruit crop. The disease has already heavily damaged Jamaica's coconut plantations, and Brazil is taking preventive measures to avoid invasion.

Lethal bronzing's first Florida appearance came near Tampa in 2006, but it's now found from the Keys in the south to Jacksonville in the north. The disease is transmitted solely by the haplaxius crudus, a tiny winged insect sometimes called the American palm cixiid or, generically, a treehopper. These specific treehoppers (there are other kinds) inject the bacteria through their saliva when feasting on the sap from a palm's leaves. Any palm cixiid that later feeds from the tree will pick up the infection and pass the bacteria to more palms.
Once inside a tree, the bacteria migrate to its base, multiplying until they clog the circulatory system — much like human arteries getting blocked by fat and cholesterol. The blockage makes it impossible for the tree's cells to get sufficient nutrients and sugars, starving them. As an infected tree dies, its fronds and central spear leaf transform from green to a tell-tale shade of bronze as it succumbs in about six months. The disease doesn't infect humans or animals.

Genetic testing shows lethal bronzing likely originated in Mexico's Yucatan region. Bahder's hypothesis is that 2005's Hurricane Wilma, which tracked from the Yucatan to Florida, or a storm with a similar path carried infected treehoppers across the gulf to Tampa. Those insects infected area palms, which infected native treehoppers. The disease spread when winds blew infected bugs to new territories or they hitched rides on vehicles. Bahder said the palm cixiid is particularly attracted to white cars.

"Florida citrus industry continues to be vital player in state's economy"
Despite a decrease in citrus production, the Florida Citrus industry contributed more value to the State of Florida in 2019-20 than the previous season. According to a study conducted by the University of Florida, the Florida Citrus industry had an economic impact of $6.762 billion to the state and supported more than 33,300 jobs.

Even at a time when many industries faced economic uncertainty, the Florida Citrus industry continued to provide strong economic contributions to the state of Florida and the many small communities it serves and supports,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus.

“As consumers increasingly turned to Florida Citrus for its health and wellness benefits in recent months, the Florida Citrus industry delivered the great tasting and quality products we are known for worldwide. While challenges remain, it is clear the Florida Citrus industry continues to create immense value for not only the state but all Floridians.”

The report indicates that the majority of the industry’s value in 2019-20 came from the manufacturing of citrus juice and byproducts at $4.741 billion. Citrus fruit production accounts for $1.816 billion and the process of moving fresh citrus from grower to the packinghouse door accounts for another $204 million.

The report also shows that the industry supported 33,381 fulltime and part-time jobs in 2019-20 with labor income contributions amounting to $1.531 billion in wages, salaries, benefits, and business proprietor income.
World's Richest Tarpon Tournament
June 10th-12th

Boca Grande Pass


Cabbage Palms-"Heart of Florida"

The common name cabbage palm comes from the fact the ‘heart’ of the palm – the active growing point – can be eaten raw or can be cooked into what was known to early settlers as ‘swamp cabbage.’  The problem with swamp cabbage is that harvesting the growing point leads to the death of the entire plant. Most palms, including Sabal palmetto, lack the ability to branch or regrow after the growing bud is removed.
The seed of the cabbage palm are also said to be edible. One survival manual published by the US Army says that the seed can be ground up and used for flour. Have you tried it? The Seminoles had other, diverse use for the Sabal palm as well. The seed were used to treat fever, headache and weight loss.
Native Americans in Florida have long used the palm for building. The plants provided wood for construction and the leaves were used as thatching. In addition to construction, medicine and food, the fronds of the palms were sometimes used for weaving and the leaf petioles provided a material to make brushes and brooms.
As a Florida native plant, the cabbage palm is well suited to our Florida landscapes.  
Source: Blog
137+ Riverfront Acres
10531 SW Kissimmee Rd. Arcadia, FL 34269
Gorgeous, undisturbed "Old Florida" river front property for your private estate or recreational hunting and fishing retreat. Offering 137.84+ acres full of oak hammocks, cabbage palms, and pine trees with approx. 1,970 feet of frontage on the Peace River via the quiet inlet "Lettuce Lake." A county maintained public boat ramp is just around the corner. Property is fenced and includes 1,800 sf steel building. Less than 15 minutes to I-75, and just 45 minutes from Sarasota or Ft. Myers. A rare find with navigable waters to Charlotte Harbor.

Total Acres: 137.84
MLS: C7437985
Listing Price: $2,399,000
35+ Acres Zoned RMF-6 with Improvements
9881 Lettuce Lake Rd. Arcadia, FL 34269
35+/- Acres in DeSoto County less than 15 minutes to Interstate 75.This property is zoned RMF-6 allowing for a total of 211 units. Improvements have already been completed such as paved roadways, retention pond, curbing, fire hydrants and lift station. Previously approved development plans are available for review. Opportunity to be in a growing area located near the Peace River with river access 2 minutes away. This property is centrally located between both Kings Hwy and Hwy 17 with quick access to Arcadia, Port Charlotte, or Punta Gorda. Only 45 minutes to Sarasota and Fort Myers.

MLS: C7442469
Total Acres: 35.71
Listing price: $2,900,000
Ready to Build? 10 Acre Parcels
Martin Lane, Arcadia, FL 34266
10 Acres of desirable land is waiting for YOU! Offering a quiet and private setting, yet within minutes to Kings Hwy with convenient access into Arcadia, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda. Ideal building site for your dream home with plenty of space for a barn or animals. Zoning is A-10 which allows for agriculture and residential and NO deed restrictions.

Click below to find out more:

150 Acres off Washington Loop with Cabin
36551 Washington Loop Rd. Punta Gorda, FL 33982
150+ acres situated on Shell Creek in the highly sought after Washington Loop area of Charlotte County. Four parcels combine to form this ideal recreational property with 1 Bedroom/1 Bathroom Cabin, cook shack, and private dock with ramp. Encompassed by beautiful sloughs, old Florida Oak hammock’s and Saw Palmettos this is your perfect getaway. Property is located less than 15 minutes to Interstate 75 and downtown Punta Gorda and centrally located between Tampa and Naples. Bring the fishing poles, ATVs and enjoy!

Total Acres: 150.50 Acres
List Price: $1,190,000

250+ Acres Recreational and Hunting Property
2251 Durrance St. Arcadia, FL
Sportsman's recreational paradise. ~250 Acres located off of Hwy 31 in Arcadia, FL offering an authentic Florida sanctuary. High fenced hunting preserve quality managed with Elk, Deer, Red Stag, Turkey and Hogs. Mature oak hammocks provide ideal habitat for the abundant wildlife. Joshua Creek flows on property year-round, and borders the north portion of the property. Come build your dream cabin and have a great place to gather with your hunting buddies or family. Property lays perfect for entertaining with ATV's, fishing, buggies or horse trail riding. Additionally, the property has access road, paved county road frontage, well, and power. The tract is perfectly located within one hour to Florida’s Gulf coast and less than 5 minutes to downtown Arcadia, but secluded enough for the avid recreational hunter. Actual acreage will be based on final survey.

MLS: C7440717
Total Acres: 250
Sold price: $1,875,000
Three 5 Acres Parcels
Liverpool Rd. Arcadia, FL 34266
5 acres is ready for you to come build your dream home in the Sunnybreeze area of Desoto County. Only two minutes away from 2 public boat ramps with access onto the Peace River. Just a short drive into Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Arcadia or I-75. NO DEED RESTRICTIONS. Bring your animals and come build on this beautiful piece of land!
Total: 5 Acres each
MLS: C7442699
MLS: C7442694
MLS: C7442691
List Price: $110,000 per parcel

Prairie Creek Estate on 10 Acres
2080 Sandy Pine Dr. Punta Gorda, FL 33982
Looking for the ideal country estate? Look no further! This 5 bedroom 4 bathroom is ready for you with all the upgrades! Located on 10+ prime acres in Prairie Creek Estates. The fenced drive welcomes you to the brick paved courtyard with huge 3 car garage. As you enter the spacious home you will appreciate the cathedral/vaulted ceilings with wood crown molding, a living room with built in shelving and gas fireplace, den, office, and a family room with another gas fireplace. Kitchen is a Chef's dream with top of the line stainless steel commercial appliances, walk-in pantry, breakfast nook, granite countertops, and solid Mahogany cabinets. Master suite overlooks the pool with zero radius sliders. The master bathroom has his and her vanities, dual entrance walk-in shower, and a relaxing, soaking tub. Entertain in the huge second floor recreational room with its own private balcony overlooking the two story screened lanai with gas heated pool and spa.. There is also a fifth bedroom/ bonus room on the second floor. Property is cross fenced and contains aerated pond, spacious barn with plenty of storage for your equipment, and pristine pastures perfect for your horses and animals. Prairie Creek is just a short drive to downtown Punta Gorda’s restaurants, shopping, and Charlotte Harbor.

MLS: C7437967
Total Acres: 10
Listing Price: $1,295,000
Two 10 Acre Groves DeSoto
NW Hwy 70 #20 Arcadia, FL 34266
Two 10 Acre parcel orange groves off Hwy 70 on the East side of Arcadia.

Total Acres: 20
List Price: $100,000

About Walt Bethel
Walt Bethel is a fifth generation Floridian, born and raised in Arcadia, with a vast knowledge of all areas of Florida Real Estate and an ardent appreciation for Florida history.  
The purchase and development of his first orange grove when he was just sixteen years old fueled Walt's passion for real estate.  
Since then, he has bought, owned, and sold a wide variety of properties throughout a successful business career. His investments have included acreage, agricultural properties, residential homes, condos, and commercial properties. 
Walt's marketing and sales experience was cultivated over time at his family's business, Bethel Farms, where he marketed, managed, and sold products to "Big Box" retailers across the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.
From an early age, Walt's dad instilled in him the values to work hard and always have a goal, to look for a better way of doing things, and to constantly improve on them.  
The daily implementation of these principles, coupled with his enjoyment of networking with new people and his experience in business, sales, and marketing, have contributed to Walt's success as a Realtor.
Walt has served on various boards and committees throughout the years. He has coached and actively supports local youth athletic programs and leagues. 
He and his wife Jill, also a fourth generation Floridian, reside in Punta Gorda. They have two children, a daughter Peyton and a son Truman.
Walt Bethel | RE/MAX Harbor Realty| 863.990.1748 | wbethel@waltbethel.com| www.waltbethel.com