How to Maximize Palm Growth During Heat Waves

brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)July 19, 2011

1. If its not raining enough and temps are soaring, give all your tropicals a good drink of water in the evening or morning. Evening is better in heatwaves - it gives the palm a chance to absorb the water overnight before the hot sun hits it, triggering much faster growth from heat and water. Well hydrated, your palm is ready to grow fast in the hot sun.

2. Fertlize NOW, then water. Don't wait until the heatwave is over. Your palms are growing faster in this daytime heat and warm nights are a bonus growth period.

3. Northern areas are finally recieving some real southern-style heat action all the way to the Canadan border in many spots. Northern areas tend to over grow. Clear away weeds, vines and brush that may be taking up valuable water, sun or minerials from your palms.

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I think you have nailed it. real tropical palms almost can't get too much water when it is 90+ every day. I got my new supply of Carl Pool a week ago today but waited until Friday to apply it because we had a few days where it was falling to high 50s at night. I water in the evenings when I get home.Because the sun is on the hose I water with slightly warm water so as to not shock the roots. Only thing I would add is if you can collect rain for later nothing works as good as actual rain. When there is a storm the lightning releases nitrogen gass into the air which gets absorbded by the clouds and comes down in the rain. That is why you see the explosion after a good rain much more than just watering and fetilizing. Another thing people can do now is if they have potted palms that they have to move inside in the fall is too apply some systemic granuls to get rid of any possible scale or mites. in this heat they will quickly get absorbed by the roots and knock the bugs out.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:21PM
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Nothing wrong with that plan but in this type of heat...
any time you can get them water is a good time!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 5:16PM
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The more water, the better in this heat! Usually I dont water all my plumerias daily (and if I do water them every day, it would only be a little bit of water), but even they get a soaking in this heat. Everything really gets thouroughly watered. Sometimes I water 2 times a day!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 1:01AM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Good point Andy, I always wondered why my potted citrus trees put on so much more growth during natural heavy rain events. You may recall last year we had the largest Poderosa lemon I post here. It put on its massive size at the end of the summer when a tropical storm with 3-4 inches of rain and sultry tropical air came up the coast. Something about warm tropical soaking rains that persisit all night.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:41AM
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I think the big reason rain is so (potentially) much more efficient is that is often spread out overr a period of hours. When you go over and water with a hose, that water may not really be penetrating the soil--especially if you mix is too peaty. When you water. be sure to water thoroughly. Hope we get an all day soaker soon--we are moving toward drought at an alarming rate now.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:56AM
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We have a shallow well we use exclusively for watering the veggie garden & plants in dry times, the precip that comes from above with the magic formula far out weighs any other form, man, isn't it missed in drought situations!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 2:08PM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Good points all. Here in Brooklyn NY we have had storms miss us for at least 6 weeks now. Oh, we get clipped here and there and receive maybe 2/10 of an inch - but it doesn't even wet under the trees. We have had so many successive warm days its like it almost never rained at all. Any unwatered soil is like powder all the way down deep. Its a drought by me. I have been using drip irrigation at this point so not to loose this great hot weather growth period.

Alex, have you had any heavy downpours in the past month?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 2:27PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

we are havent had rain in weeks some parts of the state for a month or better. I have been collecting about 10-15 gallons of water from my A/C and watering with that. Everything seems to like it.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 5:50PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

Sounds like yall are having some serious palm/tropicals growing temps back east. Speaking of watering if you have a regaular/retention pond or lake nearby you could use that to water your plants. With all that natrual nitrogen from the dying veggie matter and if the water contains fish all the better. Of course make sure the body of water is relaltively healthy. I have a neighborhood retention pond across the street from me that I put fish in years ago. I try to water with buckets of this every chance I get. Seems like everything responds pretty well after being given the pond water vs. municipal water with all that chlorine. We are usually very dry in the summer so its either municipal water, pond water or nothing at all.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 4:56AM
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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

In all the heat, I dont see my coconut doing anything. When I got back from vacation all I noticed was the two back fronds got a little wider, but thats all. I wanna see a shoot come up! Ive had it for a while and youd think a shoot would come up. Anything Im doing wrong or is it just a slow grower? I know my palms are enjoying the heat. My majesty has a frond about halfway open with another shoot already on the way. But my coconut...nothing. I guess its just a slow grower but it still should have done somthing.
I hope someone can help me. Thanks!


    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 11:47AM
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My current coconut palm is not currently nearly as fast as I thought it would be either and it gets plenty of heat, water, fertilizer, etc. I did transplant maybe two weeks ago and it may still be adjusting to the new container. I'm hoping mine is a Golden Dwarf as these make much better houseplants. (Really need to post a pic of it for identification.) Maybe it's putting down roots right now before a growth spurt. In any case, here are some things for you to consider regarding slow growth in your coconut palm::

i.) Is the container size adequate (Palms like deep pots)

ii.) Is the soil appropriate (palms love a good rich humusy soil as long as it has excellent drainage)

iii.) Have you been feeding regularly (palms are heavy feeders)

iv.) Is the sun exposure adequate (they are FULL SUN lovers)

v.) Are you watering enough (these palms love water as long as the soil is well draining and your temps are warm)

And if none of these is a problem, I suggest you stop watching and waiting for it--it's a lot like standing by the pot and waiting for the water to boil. When it's ready to do its thing, it will. :)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 1:38PM
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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

To answer those questions:
1. The container is a good size.
2. Im not sure. I use miracle grow cactus palm and citrus soil.
3. I have never fed it before.
4. I think its getting good sun.
5. Im watering it alot.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 1:52PM
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i.) Try to post a pic (helps with determining pot size dimensions)

ii.) Now a personal RANT: One of my pet peeves is commercial mixes--they can be HORRIBLE! MG sells a potting soil that is virtually PEAT MOSS. I made a big MISTAKE using this disastrous product years ago and I am STILL working to improve the soil. The soil just bakes in the heat and once it is dry, it is virtually impossible to rehydrate. When a soil gets to the point that it virtually repels water it is said to be 'hydrophobic'. You could stand there with the hose forever and the soil remains BONE DRY. Last few days, I have been working to improve the soil in my entire collection (especially for the citrus and palms), by adding humus and coast sand--seems to be working. I know you purchased the 'cactus and soil mix' but I have found this product to nearly as peaty as the standard mix.--Which is absolutely RIDICULOUS for cacti, succulents or citrus. I purchase the MG product of standard soil and essentially use it as PEAT MOSS--again mixing it with good quality humus and coarse sand (don't use the sand marketed as Tropical Play Sand. You can get coarse sand at HD in the construction section--it'll say multipurpose and include gardening uses.

iii.) If you have never fed, this may be a big part of the problem, especially since your mix probably peat heavy and STERILE.

iv.) How do you define "good sun"?
v.) How much watering is "a lot"?

Also, how long has it been it's current pot and location. Sometimes, plants appear to be doing nothing but actually growing roots and preparing for a growth spurt! Happy palm gardening!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 8:21PM
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Forgot to add, that I mix my own soils now (having learned my lesson). I also prefer using the Hyponex brand of soils and amendments.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 8:29PM
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Hunter_M(Kentucky Z.6)

What you said about the soil and sand is what I did. When I got my banana tree, I bought miracle grow peat moss and mixed it with play sand. Now I have no money and am stuck with that. :(

1.I will post a pic tommorow since its getting late.

3.I havent fed mainly because I dont have plant food and I dont know how to feed it.

4.Well, I guess its getting full sun. The fronds are slightly golden in some areas so I thing its getting sun. I have no idea how to tell if its getting full sun or not.

5.I usually water every day or 2. Its been raining alot now so the soil is staying moist.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 8:41PM
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