Is something wrong with my newly planted landscaping?

styler32May 5, 2012

Hi everyone! Long time reader, first time poster to the palm board. We recently had our landscaping done the first week of April and everything was going great until now. My husband and I are new to keeping plants, flowers, trees, etc. alive and worry if we are over watering or under watering. Everything is planted in full sun (we face North) and I'm about 1 mile from the Gulf of Mexico.

The first 3 weeks we watered everyday. Around the fourth week we went to every other day. Now I've been watering every 2 days. Based on my pictures, can anyone tell me what's going on, and/or what we're doing wrong?? (Picture heavy)

-Bottle Palm

The frond is turning completely brown with a little bit of dark green but doesn't look anywhere near opening. The leaves are turning brown, some with spots and every tip is brown.


A ton of leaves are completely brown and 2 fronds will not open and the tip that did open out of 1 have leaves that turning brown. It also has some black stuff that I can scrape off on the trunks.


It's starting to yellow a lit bit all over, with one frond completely yellow and brown.


This is 1 out of 3 we have planted. For some reason it has yellowed and the leaves are starting to curl.

We'll take any advice you can give. Thanks!

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Hi! Welcome to the fourm! Your palms all look pretty good. The damage is probably just some normal wear. Although if it's very hot outside, then they may need some more water as well. Judging by the type of landscape, Im going to say you live in Texas and Texas is known for a lot of heat and occasional droughts and those palms really love humidity and water. Usually a nice green lawn helps add moisture to the surrounding air, but white colored rocks will do just the opposite. You can replace the rocks under the bottle palm with some mulch and nice flowers or groundcovers which will help, and/or make sure you water really well. Once the palms are established and once the weather cools down in the fall you will be able to water much less.

The Bottle palm looks good. The newest frond hasnt opened yet because it's not ready to. It will probably be at least another week before it even looks like it's going to open but by this time in June, the frond will be completely opened and looking nice. Bottle palms dont hold a lot of fronds so its possible that once the new frond grows, the oldest one will start to brown. Just cut off the brown parts and cut off the whole frond once it looks bad. I've never really seen a bottle palm with more than 4-5 fronds at a time when relatively young.

The Foxtail palm also looks good. The dry fronds are just normal damage for plants that dont get enough water or are newly planted. My foxtail palm has the same problem, but it will grow out of it with some good waterings during hot weather. The black stuff on the trunk is normal for foxtail palms.

The Robelenii palm also looks good. If the fronds are yellowing, cut them off and maybe even add some epsom salt to the water as you are watering them. I hear that helps add some magnesium to the soil. You can look for the exact concentation of epsom salt you need to add per gallon of water (for plants) online somewhere Im sure. That might help. Cut off the yellow frond and the others look pretty good, they aren't supposed to be a dark green when in full sun and as long as they arent really light green, they will be fine!

Not sure about the agapanthus. The soil around it looks a little dry in your pic so that could be the reason. They need a lot of water to get established and they also prefer shade during the hottest part of the day in climates that are really hot and sunny. I've seen them do well in areas like California, but the ones in Florida are always either surrounded by lots of other Agapanthus when in full sun, or they get partial shade (but not too much since they need the sun to bloom).

Good luck and welcome again!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 8:02PM
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That's a lot of rocks- they're probably baking.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:28AM
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It looks like you live at North Padre Island. You may be over watering your plants at this point. Even though North Padre is a semi arid climate, you don't need to be watering every other day. A good deep watering once or twice a week is better for your palms and other plants than watering every day or every other day once they are established.

I would apply a good organic granular fertilizer in June in a 6-2-4 or 12-4-8 ratio with all the micro nutrients that palms need, again in late October, and again in late February (3 times per year) then water in the fertilizer really well. MicroLife 6-2-4 from San Jacinto Environmental Supplies in Houston is a very good organic fertilizer for the Gulf Coast, but the Corpus nurseries do not carry it. You can use Medina Hasta Gro Lawn 12-4-8 ratio with micros as a foliar spray on your palms now. I believe the mixing ratio is 1 ounce per gallon of water. Use a hand held spray bottle available at any nursery and label it so you know what it is. Then spray the fronds of your palms really well with it. You can do this again in a couple of weeks.

I would mulch around all your palms starting a couple of inches away from the trunk and go out in about a 2-3 foot radius with the mulch to a depth of about 2 inches. This will help retain moisture, add necessary organic matter to the soil as it breaks down, and help reduce weeds too. Use one of the native Texas mulches. NEVER USE ANY CHEMICAL WEED KILLER NEAR YOUR PALMS!

I would actually like to move to the Corpus Christi area, so if you know of anyone who might be hiring, please let me know. I can email you my resume. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Development, and I have studied palms and other tropical plants for many years. I have landscaping experience as a landscaping supervisor, and I would like to get into landscape design. I also have office experienc as an Administrative Assistant and File Clerk.

John Purcell
(979) 703-1090

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Also, as Alex said, the black stuff on the trunks of your foxtail palms is normal, so don't try to remove it. Triangle palms also have this on their trunks.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 10:59PM
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My bottle palm drives me crazy, because it grows so slowly, and the spear takes forever to open. But that's normal, and yours looks great. Mine gets those black and brown spots in the winter, and the leaves take so long to grow out, I just have to put up with it looking rough all spring.

But, yeah, I think on the whole, everything looks nice. I would give the agapanthea a couple friends, to diffuse the harsh light a little. And some mulch would be a good idea. But it's looking pretty cool.

Sometimes when I look at the stuff in my yard too much, I think something is wrong. But if I ignore them, except for the water, for a few weeks, I'm amazed at their progress.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:44PM
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