help! Mexican Fan Palm turning brown

jjm2958March 3, 2008


We recently moved into a house that has a nice size Mexican Fan Palm (about 25 feet tall). It seemed to be doing great until the last month or so. I've noticed that the palm leaves are turning brown at the tips on all the palms (bottom to top). I thought maybe it was due to the cold weather/winter season, however several other people in our neighborhood have palms and none of them seem to look this way. I've been reading up on diseases/problems with them, and my best guess is that it might be a potassium deficiency (??). I've attached some links to pictures. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Photos of tree:



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I would also say cold damage or lack of water maybe? It could be that you have a pure Robusta, and the neighbors have Robusta/Filifera hybrids, so yours is more suceptible to cold damage. It seems a little too extreme to be a deficiency.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:20PM
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shortleaf2002(5b 6a KCMO, USA)

Hi Jared, nice Palm.
What has the watering been like?
Maybe the outgoing residents there before had the plant's care on the back-burner?
Just a thought,

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:20PM
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Insect problem?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 2:36PM
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Thanks for all of the comments. I haven't see any insects anywhere near the area, but I will double check.

Also, as far as cold goes, I don't think it went much below 30 degrees or so this winter (not sure how cold-hardy this species is, but I figured I'd mention it in case anyone thought we had a really hard freeze locally)

I'll have to admit that it could be a watering problem. What would be the typical need for a tree this size?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 2:41PM
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I agree with the possible robusta and cold damage angle,looks like ice and cold damage followed by sun the good news is if it is cold damage should recover rapidly-if next leaves after say the next few new ones are damaged well....who knows palms more then any other plant(I've grown) can suddenly "pass" hpoe yours makes it!should find out one way or another with spring right around the corner.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 4:37PM
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try this

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 6:18PM
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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

Looks like cold damage to me.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 7:39PM
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My guess is that they just planted it before you bought the house and it did not get established well.
See if you can find out how long it has been there.
Give it plenty of water when the weather warms up.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 9:27PM
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Topher2006: Thanks for the link - those might come in handy no matter what happens.

I'll give it a good soaking this week and continue to watch it. Hopefully we are about done with the cold weather here in Austin and it can start to come back.

Thanks for all of the advice...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 9:45AM
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Cold Damage. If you're in Austin, it's probably pushing growth all year, so don't worry about it.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 8:26PM
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My limbs are all brown looks dead. Will water heavy in Spring time. I am thinking they are in shock. We are expecting snow this weekend. I have other palms that are all green ....Pindo Palms are fine. The four 9ft Mexican Fan palms are the all brown and dead looking....any advice?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 4:00PM
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