Trouble with my bottle palm

Discussion in 'Caudiciforms and Pachycaul Trees' started by munn01, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. munn01

    munn01 New Member

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    I have a bottle palm (hyophorbe langenicaulis) in my front garden that is about 4 years old. For the past 8 months it has been displaying a significant twist to the frond limbs as they age. I checked pH and it is 7-7.5 which seems a bit too alkaline to me, but I'm certainly no expert. It throws new spears with regularity and they seem fine initially, but once fully deployed they begin to twist. The tree was fertilized in late Spring in the hopes it was a nutrient issue but to no avail. I am including recent photos in jpg format in the hopes someone can determine the issue.
     

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @munn01 good afternoon and welcome to the forum. IMO you have a drainage problem, that may have caused the roots to rot. The fonds dropping or wisting as you call it is a sure sign.
    PH of 7 -7.5 is fairly neutral but just on the side of alkaline , so I don't believe this is the main problem, although they do prefer soil PH under 7.
    I would start by investigating around the base of your palm to see how wet it is. Sometimes with root rot upon investigation, you will get the rotten smell as you dig around the base.
    You say you have had it for 4 years, can you remember the planting medium used ? And I see you are in Central Florida, but what is your soil type? Free draining substrate is essential.
    Hope this is of help, but I feel a little more investigation is required by you under the soil.
     
  3. munn01

    munn01 New Member

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    The soil is very sandy to about 14" then becomes hardpan sand strata. When we put in the garden we topped the sandy soil with about 3" of gardening soil mixed with perlite and sand and topped that with about 3" of pine bark nugget mulch. I will investigate the soil further as you suggest. FWI, I have been told by two other sources that bottle palms do this naturally, so I'm a bit confused about the true issue (if there is one). Thanks for your input. I will follow up with a report.
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    This may be a boron deficiency. Note Fig. 15 is of a specimen of Hyophorbe lagenicaulis.
    ENH1012/EP264: Boron Deficiency in Palms
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
  5. munn01

    munn01 New Member

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    Since my last post, I've done some investigating about my bottle palm problem. For background, I've received opinions on the issue ranging from root rot (doesn't seem to be the issue), boron deficiency, weevil grubs inside the palm, and "that's what bottle palms do" (not based on other bottle palms in the area). I do remember reading somewhere that the irrigation water should not be allowed to strike the tree, although the why of that escapes me at the moment. We use well water here and it is very high in iron and moderately in sulfur and my irrigation system does wet the tree, and I'm wondering if this could be contributory. Because we are in the wet season I have not been irrigating and the new fronds do not seem to be as severely effected as previous fronds.
     

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