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Trunk splitting of foxtail palms

11 posts in this topic

A buddy of mine (we are both master gardners at our county extension office) has a neighbor across the street from him with a grouping of foxtail palms, and asked him for advice concerning the palms.

Two of the palms have severe splits in their trunks. The other two or three (not sure of exact count) trunks are fine (no splits).

I only know the palms were planted about one year ago and had no splits at the time. I also know the owner has an irrigation system. Also, being lakefront property, the water table is high where roots could sink into lots of water for uptake).

I've seen root splitting before, as I have many Archontophoenix cunninghamia palms with split/fissured trunks, but have never seen trunks with such damaging splits as the ones shown in the below photos (or that Cocos nucifera in a related post I just replied to).

Anyone (Aussies?) had a similar experience with Wodyetia bifurcata? What is you opinion, conclusions, etc.? My buddy would like to aprise the palm owner as to the possible causes of the splitting. Also, should the trunk be treated with any kind of fungicide or other corrective actions?

The below three photos were taken this morning (12-15-10). There's been no freezes lakeside, so I'm ruling that out as a cause.

2291985800042496162S600x600Q85.jpg

2739101540042496162S600x600Q85.jpg

2800432340042496162S600x600Q85.jpg

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Walt,

It's because the palms already had woody trunk when they were planted. You're right, they are finding lots of water and they are happy to fatten up. So happy that they are splitting their britches. It's best not to buy skinny, woody trunked palms if they are a robust species.

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I'm by far no master gardener, but I have a guess.... :hmm:

I haven't dealt with foxtails too much as it gets just a tad too cold here. I looked where you're at and It looks like you're in a pretty nice area of the state as far as south (warmth) goes. If it's never frozen there at the lake then that can't be the issue.

But what's got my wheels spinning is the fact that you said the guy has only had these in the ground for a year. Where did they come from before that, and could this possibly be cold damage showing up way after the fact. Were they dug up from a location in northern Fla.? It got pretty cold up there last year didn't it?

That's my two cents, but I'm not ruling out some other reason by any means.

Edit: I like Matt's answer better :D

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Walt,

It's because the palms already had woody trunk when they were planted. You're right, they are finding lots of water and they are happy to fatten up. So happy that they are splitting their britches. It's best not to buy skinny, woody trunked palms if they are a robust species.

Matt,

What will eventually happen to the palm as it splits? Will it die or grow a new layer eventually?

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Walt,

It's because the palms already had woody trunk when they were planted. You're right, they are finding lots of water and they are happy to fatten up. So happy that they are splitting their britches. It's best not to buy skinny, woody trunked palms if they are a robust species.

Matt,

What will eventually happen to the palm as it splits? Will it die or grow a new layer eventually?

I had the same thing happen to me about 5 years ago. The Foxtail seemed to allmost heal itself, but it was wiped out by last years freeze so i cannot supply a pic.

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Walt,

It's because the palms already had woody trunk when they were planted. You're right, they are finding lots of water and they are happy to fatten up. So happy that they are splitting their britches. It's best not to buy skinny, woody trunked palms if they are a robust species.

Matt,

What will eventually happen to the palm as it splits? Will it die or grow a new layer eventually?

Any one of those things could happen. Sometimes the crack is an invitation for pink rot to set in and eventually rot the whole plant out. The less severe cracks tend to pretty much heal up as the palm continues to expand from within. Sometimes the larger cracks rot away a bit to leave a crevas and the palm still lives on doing fine.

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looks like mechanical damage to me, from installation maybe. May have just looked like a scrape or blemish early on.

Alan

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looks like mechanical damage to me, from installation maybe. May have just looked like a scrape or blemish early on.

Alan

They were using this device ? ? ? post-1729-006191800 1293211344_thumb.jpg

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PTD, Palm Torture Device, from the middle ages.

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cover up the split with a nice epiphyte like this antplant

or even better an Elkfern

post-354-067553900 1293232449_thumb.jpg

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Yeah, I too, concur with Matty.

Sometimes cracked palms have problems, but, in my experience, in a good environment, the plant will generate new tissue to at least partially fill in a crack.

Those are really nice Woodies, by the way.

Keep us apprized. What happens, one way or another, will inform all of us.

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