Ponytail Palm - Top has to come off

Discussion in 'Caudiciforms and Pachycaul Trees' started by Foosdiva, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. Foosdiva

    Foosdiva New Member

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    I have a ponytail palm that’s at least 25 years old. I got an infestation of about every bug possible. Likely from a plant I brought home from Lowe’s. I’ve never had bugs in any of my plants until recently. I ended up losing every plant except this one. Trust me. I tried everything; organic, nonorganic, new pots, new soil, heating the soil, on and on. They just won’t leave! I got so frustrated the other night and decided the leaves had to come off. I’m kind of glad bc I was shocked at how many bugs were still alive! Now, I know the plant won’t survive without leaves. The caudex is still hard and I don’t feel great about the roots. The bark freaks me out. The stem is alive from top to bottom. Any advice before I kill this very old plant from my husbands deceased grandfather? I’ve read any article I could find on progagation and it seems as though people have good luck cutting the top off.

    I put it in a smaller pot thinking that might help to get it growing

    TIA Jamie
     

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  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    It would help to know what kind of bugs it was infested with. I would have treated the plant with insecticidal soap after having removed the leaves, repeated over a number of applications as usual with 7-10 days in between. That would kill the remaining bugs. Do it even if you don't see any bugs as there will likely be eggs or juveniles (too small to see) still left on the plant. I hope there aren't any mealy bugs amongst the roots. That would be another matter.
     
  3. Foosdiva

    Foosdiva New Member

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    I tried the insecticidal soap and it was unsuccessful. :( I did have mealy bugs on my Hoya (one of my favorite plants). I didn’t find t until it was too late. Their leaves make it the perfect environment. I know there were mealy bugs on both of my palms. The ponytail, I don’t think it’s mealybugs. I could be wrong. I’ve looked at some many bugs under my kids cheap microscope, I’m not sure I can see anymore of those nasty things!

    I thought maybe thrips at one point. It’s so hard to identify what it is (for me anyway). There’s so many bugs that do the same thing. They appear to be tiny black dots but when removing a leaving, the base looks like a smudgy black blob. There’s was definitely honeydew.
     
  4. Foosdiva

    Foosdiva New Member

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    Here’s the only other plants I have in my house. They are very far apart. I just noticed the knat like bug last night. I can’t catch a break.

    My current method is neem oil.
     

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  5. Foosdiva

    Foosdiva New Member

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    Do you think it has a fighting chance without leaves? I’m scared it’s hollowing out and I just don’t know it. Would the stem still be alive if that was the case?

    Thanks for your help!

    What about some hydrogen peroxide in soil? I did spray the roots with hydrogen peroxide when I took her out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2019
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    Pests that produce honeydew are scale and aphid. I've seen black blobs with thrips. Perhaps you have multiple pests. Effectiveness of insecticidal soap depends on the pest and in how it's used. For example, it is ineffective against adult scale; therefor adults must be dealt with by physical removal, leaving the task of killing the juveniles to the soap. A systemic pesticide can be considered for stubborn or severe infestations.

    If the plant was relatively robust, removal of its leaves should be all right; new foliage will develop using the plant's energy stores.
     

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