Fox Tail Palm Problem

pego1200(z9 Central FL)June 15, 2007

I bought a Foxtail Palm (about 8 foot tall) 2 years ago at a local homedepot. I planted the palm and it lost all leaves and the remaining spear looked dried out. I suspected a cold damage, because there was a light freeze right after I planted the palm, and I did not protected it properly by mistake. Finally, I removed the palm after 11 months, but I was surprised that the roots were looking strong. I may made a mistake.

I received a replacement Foxtail then (8 months ago) and planted it at the same spot. Now, the same thing is happening. The palm is slowly loosing its leaves and the spear is not visibly growing (maybe 2 inches in the last 6 Months). Does someone know if Foxtail Palms in general need a long time to recover from replanting? Or what can be the problem. Cold damage is definitively not the problem here. Also water and fertilization should not be an issue.

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maxcat(7 SC)

I would leave it along and keep watering it. When they hurricane cut big Cabbage Palms (Palmetto) they cut all the roots back to they are about four inches long. Some times they go all the way. When they are planted the old roots rot and fall off. Then they put out new roots. The trees star dormant till they get a new root system. That can be up to two years. That might be what is happening to yours. Some palms donÂt like to be moved more than once. Here is a picture of a palm I planted last july forth week. It had no roots and made it through a South Carolina Winter where we had temps in the twenties. I am not worried about it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo bucket

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 4:25PM
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Foxtails are z10 palms. The ones at the entrance to SeaWorld defoliate almost annually.

I feel bad for the growers who are bullied into taking back palms that are not cold-hardy for the areas they're sold in. I suppose they make their mony on volume.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 7:00PM
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These palms dont like to be cool and moist very much. I have lost several myself to fungus in the crown.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 8:56PM
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pego1200(z9 Central FL)

Hi Maxcat, that sounds pretty reasonable to me. I also suspected that the roots were trimmed too much when I bought it. I just didnt know that it can take up to two years to recover. I will be patient this time.

Even if my place is officially 9B, I have a lot of z10 palms here (for example Bottle, Spindle, Majesty, Travellers Tree etc)and they all are doing very good. When a cold night is projected, I cover the ones which are not established. With my first foxtail, I was not aware that it is a z10 palm at that time; it was labeled wrong as a z9 palm, but I do not think anymore that the cold did any harm to it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 11:47AM
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cfkingfish(10 SWFL)

When you bought the Foxtail, did it go from shade to sun immediately? This is what I would say are possible problems:

-Air pocket in the soil causing airpruning
-Sunburn causing shock
-Underwatering (not probable)

Do you know how cold it gets where you live? Where do you live?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 12:55PM
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pego1200(z9 Central FL)

Hi cfkingfish, after I bought it, I planted it directly in the sun. I was not aware that this could cause serious problems. The leaves turned light-green. So sunburn could be the cause. Does the plant recover from it?

I took special care to avoid air pockets. I dont think that is the problem.
I live in the Orlando area, but cold damage is definitely not the problem with this palm. It was properly protected during the cold days.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 12:22PM
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A lot of nursery stock is grown in houses or under shade cloth. Putting "full sun" palms into full sun often results in burned plants. It might take two years for the crown to regrow, tolerant of full sun.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 2:43PM
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palmshaun(z10a Fla)

Alex is absolutely right and its really annoying that some nurseries do this(with full sun palms).

After a little bit of observing, one can determine if certain palms have been grown in shady conditions. I personally shy away from purchasing those because they will indeed fry up without a lot of water/shade.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 7:36AM
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What i try to do is put that palm under or around taller trees so it will have a little shade my foxtail is
in a pot it is about 6 ft tall and it is also behind my taller majestys on my deck that way it gets the sun it needs but not too much. Good luck !

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 9:53PM
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We justed planted a fox tail and all the branches are brown. The brown seems to be moving up the tree. The guy that sold us the tree said that it could be in shock, or there could be airpockets. We have planted many of trees, so I dont think its air pockets. He said that the tree should come back in about a month. Does anyone know if this is true.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 6:48PM
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If you live in a 9b zone or above your palm probably will be ok if you planted them at the same depth as they were in the pot. Don't over fertilize and over water just make sure they are in well drained soil and not soaked but moist soil.It helps when you put your zone and "general" location in your profile to tell what might be needed.Also if you can shade them in the heat of the day it will help but if not just wait till they acclimate.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 7:49AM
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I live in the Orlando FL area and I have three Fox Tail Palms which were planted about two years ago. They were about 10 feet tall.
They thrived beautifully for two years until we had that severe frost back in January 09.
Since then the leaves have turned brown on all the branches from the outside in - even on the new growth, and the branches eventually fall off.
I do not over water the trees and direct sun does not appear to be the problem as they were doing so well until the frost.
Does anyone know if these trees are dying? They still seem to be getting new growth, it's just that the new growth is then turning brown.
Thank you very much.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 11:50PM
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Miriamh, I live in Orlando, FL as well and just replaced 14 Fox Tail palms that I'd planted about 2 years back and they were approximately 10-14 feet tall. The January nights of 20 something degree temperature killed all but one of my trees. I am replacing my Fox Tails with Queen palms which I should have planted originally. The company that originally planted the Fox Tails is planting my replacement Queens. Also, they are now recommending Queen palms instead of Fox Tails since Queens aren't as sensitive to the cold. Previously, they were primarily recommending Fox Tails for their beauty. They stated that they lost approximately 500 15 gallon Fox Tails at their nursery due to the nights of cold we had in January. I am done with Fox Tails from this point forward.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 1:58PM
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royalpaulm(Cen Fla 10a)

I live in windermere next door to Orlando and see no dead foxtails in my area. A few in my neighborhood have some slight damage but that's all. Even. Christmas palms and royals are fine. The cold did kill a small bottle though. My yard saw 28f but both Orlando airports bottomed out at 30. Curious what part of the area you're in to have seen such drastic damage? Foxtails should be able to take 26f. Sorry for the loss.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 3:12PM
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royalpaulm, I am in Oviedo and the company that I bought my Foxtails from is in St Cloud. They lost 500 Foxtails from their nursery. Also, my neighbor lost their Foxtails as well approximately 5 or 6 trees. In addition, I lost 2 of my 3 Xmas palms as well. Apparently the Windermere area was lucky.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 7:25PM
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I have tw palms that were hit buy freez one is rotton at the top about 2ft its 2years old and about 15 ft shout I cut of the rotton part the other may follow but so far ITS still sold at top

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 7:26PM
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The rotten one is very likely dead but you can cut it and see what happend (but its very likely that it wont grow back). As for the one thats solid right now, does it have a center spear or does it have absolutely no leaves. If it has no leaves and no spear than by now its almost definitely dead.

I hope it makes it.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 7:55PM
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Foxtails are not very cold hardy and not a good palm for areas that get frost every year or go below freezing like Jacksonville where they will die for sure. If you live in 9b or less and you have the problem I listed above I would try another palm. There are lots of palms more cold hardy than foxtail and look better in my opinion.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 9:02PM
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I do like the look of foxtails a lot but there are better more cold tolerant options. I think Royal palms are a bit more cold tolerant and they are native to the warmest parts of florida. And they are beautiful!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 12:19AM
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While it may be true that a Wodyetia can tolerate a modicum of frost, one really needs to treat it post frosts EVERY time with an antifungal to the crown. These are extremely wimpy, sensitive and very unhardy palms, and personally one should not invest in them if planting in a zone below 10a... and even that is somewhat marginal for these palms in some areas (not all zones are created equal as I am sure has been discussed before ad nauseum). They do tend to grow much better and faster on the east coast than the west coast, but we also don't experience the severity of frosts on the west coast you do there in the east. So sometimes our foxtails will eke through a cool winter and survive in a zone 9b-10a, but most eventually croak here, too in these transition zones, unless well protected against a house, or under some sort of canopy. The Los Angeles arboretum planted about a dozen of these 5-6 years ago in an open area and did not see too much frost there... but still eventually lost all but one. They were replaced by king palms which are much hardier (here in California) and those are doing fine. Royals are significantly hardier than Foxtails.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 9:54AM
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I have more than 1000. Foxtail and I plant in a pot I trying to plant in the grown how can I do this plaese tell me

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 2:38PM
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I live in Riverview Fl. We just moved down from PA. Last August we had a Fox Tail palm planted by a local nursery. First it had black spots on the fronds which moved upward. We treated these as recommended and cut off the badly damaged fronds. We also fertilized the tree as recommended by the nursery. It has had only one spear which has not opened in 6 months or so. The winter frost damaged the other fronds and we cut all of them off except one which is starting to green up. What can we do with the unopened spear? No growth appears to be taking place. I keep being told to just wait and it will eventually open. I would like to resolve this problem and either get it healthy or replace with another type of palm

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:42AM
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I also recently moved to FL from PA. I planted 5 Foxtails (3-4 feet tall) along my driveway last June. The trees went dormant and didn't do anything for 9 months. Recently I've noticed that 4 of the 5 trees are showing signs of growth and have produced new fronds. The 5th one has green fronds with a lot of brown spots. The spear is also brownish but green on the inside. I plan on giving it until the end of this year before replacing it. I've read where it can take a Foxtail one full year to show any signs of growth. If I were you, I'd be patient and wait it out for at least one full year.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 9:14AM
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I have two fox tails they are around 15ft in height. The one on the west is doing great and the one on the east has the brown spots after the spear comes up and the spear dies within weeks. I thought it might be a fungus and if so what can I do to take care of the problem. It has a baby from it and the small one does the same thing.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:30AM
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