Need help for my windmill palm quickly!!

MissingMyGreenThumbApril 6, 2013

I am really new to gardening but am trying my best here! I bought a double windmill palm last year and planted it by my pool. It has been declining for some time now. I tied up the leaves and covered it with burlap this winter and I could see that the fonds started turning more and more brown throughout the winter. Now I have uncovered it and the fonds are all brown and one of the trunks is starting to slump and feels kinda squishy at the top. The fonds are easy to pull out and are a little wet. Can it be saved? Someone please give me some hope!!

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Here's a pic

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 6:33PM
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Start a few inches from the top and start cutting at an angle(low side to the south)as soon(if)you see green or-more likely white living tissue stop...and leave it at that point-if the trunk is still alive and temps are warm enough you should see the center raise up in a few days...

Heres an example-

Start out with a few inches off the top...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:21PM
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Update..we used a tractor to get it out of the ground and the roots appear to still be white. The smaller trunk has a green fond in the center that doesn't come out when pulled pretty hard. I put it in a pot but haven't added any soil because the soil caked around it really wet. What should be my next step? I figured I'd wait a day or so and let the roots dry a bit and then give it a good watering with 50/50 hydrogen peroxide mixture.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:23PM
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Thank you Jimhardy, I just saw your post. I was telling my husband that I thought we needed to cut away the dead (top) part of the trunk. So I am going to remove all the fonds in this process? If you see my update above, we removed it from the ground because I don't think the area we had it in was draining well, so I was afraid it was getting root rot. We now have it in a pot, going to try to nurse it back to health, and replant. Any further advice would be much appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:28PM
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Sounds like you didn't protect the crown with a copper fungicide spray. It is important to keep the crown dry or else you invite fungus and mold to grow which can wind up being lethal to the palm. How did you cover the the fronds and the tops of the trachies?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 4:29PM
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We tied up the fonds and wrapped the whole tree in burlap..I could just see the tips of the fonds sticking out. We don't get very harsh winters, last winter it didn't even get below freezing. This winter, we had two brief freezes. We just cut down the larger trunk, the one that was starting to get soft at the top. As we started pulling on the fonds to remove them in order to start cutting, the whole center came out. The trunk was hollow about a foot down. We had to about 18 inches of it off but we finally found white trunk. I'm attaching a picture. Any hope for it? Also, if we lose one of the trees, is there any hope for the other? What should my next step be?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:10PM
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Picture of trunk

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:14PM
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Two things:

I'm not an expert but based on your description: the opening that you left at the top (with some of the fronds sticking out) served as a catch for any water from rain. Gravity sent the water down the frond to the crown where it collected and with no air to keep it dry-fungus and bacteria formed to eat away at the crown and then downward. Ironically, given the size and your Trachy coupled with your mild winter, you probably would have not had any problems had you left it unprotected with only sprays and mulch.

Two: when you bought the palm, was the connecting trunk exposed(above the dirt line)?
I ask this because it is bad to raise the dirt line on any tree and I noticed that you can't see it in the pictures.

As far as a remedy, Jim gave you the best advice to save the taller trunk. The only other thing I would do is spray the top of the new trunk with copper fungicide to make sure it is all killed. You can use my Beet/Banana formula to give it a nutrient rich boost which couldn't hurt. Hopefully the whole specimen can come back. Good question about cutting away the damaged trunk-I honestly have no idea. Logically speaking, it's not like they share a heart or any other vital organs so I don't why it can't be done. But again, that is an opinion and not based on expertise. Either way, I would hold off and see if you can save it as a whole first. Good Luck and I wish you Guys the best.

This post was edited by Kokomo-JB on Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 10:42

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:58PM
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I completely agree with you. Had I just left it alone, it would probably be doing much better. I was just worried because it was fairly newly planted and not well established and winter was starting. Every now and then we get shocked with some snow..but that was far from the case this year. I will do a copper fungicide treatment today on both trunks. Where can I find your beet/banana formula?

The connecting trunk was not exposed when we bought it. The guy even had to tell us that this was a "true" double palm, not 2 palms in the same bucket. If we raised the dirt line any, it was minimal. Should I lower the dirt line a bit or leave it be?

One last question..what should my soil mixture be like while I've got it in the pot trying to nurse it back to health? I've got tons of sand but should I mix that with something? We got this thing out of the ground because I'm pretty sure we didn't have it in a well-draining can I avoid this when we replant?

Thank you so much for all your help and patience!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:12PM
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When you replant it you may want to consider positioning it a little above the ground using a berm. This should help you with drainage. The Beet/Banana mix is a super food nutrient blast that will help the palm recover. Go to the supermarket and buy:

1 Can of "Sliced Beets"
2 Bananas

This is the proportion, if you need to make more in one shot, add proportionately IE: 2 cans of Sliced Beets/4 Bananas

Put it all in a blender as set it for "Puree". This stuff truly needs to come out as liquified as possible. Be careful with the beets as they will stain your clothes.

Take any container/cup that you would use for watering. Pour in 1/3 mixture to 2/3 very warm water and mix well. Keep unused mix in refrigerator as you will need to repeat this process everyday for 5-7 days.

Pour it all over the soil so that it spreads out to reach the entire root system.

Normally, depending on the condition of the roots, you should see it perk up in a day or two. since you have no spears, you
will have to just take a wait and see approach and look for positive signs of progress.

Good Luck and let us know what happens.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 4:51PM
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You need to cut the other one too-they can never recover from that kind of damage with out removing all the dead tissue.....somewhat unlikely they will come
back as the roots are also damaged now by the move.....why not try though?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 6:37PM
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I gave it 2 servings of the beet/banana mixture last night, cut down the other trunk, and treated both with fungicide. Now we wait...I've come this far, might as well keep trying. It's cold and rainy here today so I moved it under the carport, but will move it back out into the sunlight tomorrow. Thanks again for all the advice.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:41PM
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The roots need to be kept warm if it is to survive/recover,being left out in the cold and wet at this point will finish it off.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 5:57PM
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