Trachycarpus Fortunei spear partially pulled!

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Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum. I have been growing palms on and off for a good portion of my life, and have recently moved into a new home where I have planted a few palms in the yard. Among them are Sabal Minor, Rhapidophyllum Hystrix and also Trachycarpus Fortunei. I live in the northern Atlanta suburbs and there are many fine examples of Trachycarpus that thrive in our area. We are zone 7b according to the 1990 USDA zone map, the 2010 map places my location right on the border of 7b and 8a.

I purchased a distressed T. Fortunei from a local garden center back in April and immediately planted it into the yard. It was in very sad shape with many yellow fronds -the lower fronds being completely brown and dried- but I thought I would give a shot and see if I could rescue the palm. It was actually quite irresistible to try since the palm has a few feet of trunk and was priced reasonably given its condition. When I planted the palm into the ground I did not locate any healthy looking roots, and it appeared the palm had lost its roots during transplant, and I believe it was field dug. I didn't mess around with the rootball as I did not want to injure any existing roots which may still be there.

Since April, the palm has been sulking - and I have not seen any new growth above the trunk of the palm. I have been watering it regularly (nearly daily, never letting the soil dry out completely, but also not having the palm sit with wet feet) and also applying SuperThrive in hopes of stimulating root development and helping the palm establish for the winter. The spear of the palm however was a very light green/grey and brown color. I checked the palm for spear pull a few times and each time the spear remained festly attached to the palm and would not pull. The newest spears opened prematurely and both have a lush, deep green color.

Over the months, the upper fronds have begun to shrivel some and are taking on a bit of yellow, but this process is very slow and I have attributed it to the lack of roots. However, just yesterday I checked the newest spear and it partially pulled. By partially I mean that the individual leaflets of the spear seemed to have detached from the palm about 3/4th the way down, but the bottom section of them are still attached to the palm and do not pull. I have begun to treat it with hydrogen peroxide.

I am concerned if I should leave the palm in its current state or if I should do the drastic surgery and cut a few inches off the top of the palm and check to make sure the main growth point has not rotted. I am tempted to leave it as is - and hope that the palm will recover from this and manage to establish itself by winter, but if the palm is rotting I would be simply wasting my time with this project I am afraid.

What do you all think would be the best course of action for this palm? Leave as is, or perform surgery? It is getting fairly late in the year being July, so any advice would be greatly welcomed. The images I have attached show the growth point before and after the pull, as well as the individual pulled pieces from the spear. 
 

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Mine also suffered a partial spear pull in May, the spear turned grey and only the top half pulled out. I poured peroxide in the crown daily for about a week until I noticed the remaining portion of the spear pushing out, and it was green, which was a pleasant surprise.

I'd just keep treating it with peroxide, I'm no expert but it worked for me.

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If it had more of a canopy, I'd say it might pull through but after looking at the picture i am pretty sure it will die a slow death, which cannot be reversed at this point. Trachys can spear pull right after they are dug if not quickly irrigated, but if the lack of irrigation lasts too long they will succumb, just as this palm will.  I wish i had better news, but thats what you have. You can get away with some marked down nursery plants, but windmills aren't one of them. I wont sell a plant like this as it is taking advantage of the customer and is akin to stealing their money. 

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Spear pull isn't by any means a certain death sentence, but after everything you've described, it doesn't sound good. I know it was difficult to not plant it out, but I honestly would have left it in the pot rather than cause it any more stress by planting it in your yard. Possibly keep it in the pot for this growing season and maybe plant it out in spring of next year. From what I understand, it was in the pot initially, correct? You seem to be doing all the things I would recommend doing, using some kind of root fertilizer and adequate watering. I also wouldn't keep it in too much direct sun. Don't fertilize it, either, as this will stress the palm more. Hopefully it pulls through, keep us updated.

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I would do the surgery so the palm can get past the rot that is deep inside. Treat with peroxide after surgery. I just recently performed surgery on a Butia, See my Butia crown rot recovery thread on the surgery progress. 

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I disagree with brad on this one. Cutting the top off of a healthy palm after winter damage i do agree with,  but if you cut the top off of this weakened palm it has zero chance, which is slightly down from a next to zero chance,  in my opinion.  For your sake i hope that i am wrong. 

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Trachcarpus fortunei has the distinct advantage of being able to out grow (in many cases) crown pull. It will start growth in cooler conditions than other palms. This allows the new growth to out pace the damaged and rotting emerging spears. Does seem odd that this issue is so late in the season though.

Cheers, Barrie.

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Peroxide?  That sounds deadly! 

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I respect your opinion but I have performed surgery on Trachycarpus that had recently been moved and they have recovered. 

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Trachys recover so easy from crown rot. My trachys damaged in the winter, and weakened by transplantation. All recovered, some faster than others, but they all recovered with full crowns. No surgery was done. The rot and transplant shock were so bad on a couple that they lost all their fronds and even spear pulled after winter. Peroxide and coppper fungicide are all I used

 

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A lot of times palms will abort the growth point while

the roots regroup...it really comes down to whether

the palm used up its carb storage producing the new leaves

and whether it has the energy left to regenerate its roots.

 

We cant see this process until the leaves

respond to the(hopefully)new roots...give it some

time if it can regenerate its roots you will see

some push from the spear shortly after but not much.

 

Good luck!

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Thanks for the comments everyone.

I am going to leave the palm as it is this year and not perform the operation. I am hoping that it will develop roots and become established by the winter. I'll continue to treat it with SuperThrive and peroxide throughout the season. If it doesn't make it to next spring, I will just dig it and replace with another non-distressed Trachycarpus. At least this one will have had the opportunity to try and survive. I will post on this topic to let you all know how everything unfolds with the palm. As of the last post, nothing has seemed to have changed with the palm and it looks almost the exact same. 

Thanks again for the suggestions and I'll keep you posted.


 

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On 7/12/2016, 10:56:14, GeorgiaPalms said:

Thanks for the comments everyone.

I am going to leave the palm as it is this year and not perform the operation. I am hoping that it will develop roots and become established by the winter. I'll continue to treat it with SuperThrive and peroxide throughout the season. If it doesn't make it to next spring, I will just dig it and replace with another non-distressed Trachycarpus. At least this one will have had the opportunity to try and survive. I will post on this topic to let you all know how everything unfolds with the palm. As of the last post, nothing has seemed to have changed with the palm and it looks almost the exact same. 

Thanks again for the suggestions and I'll keep you posted.


 

Hey whatever happened to your Trachycarpus?  Did it ever grow back??

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15 minutes ago, Ponds & Palms said:

Hey whatever happened to your Trachycarpus?  Did it ever grow back??

I actually dug it back out of the ground and placed it back in the pot. It wasnt establishimg well and I was concerned about the coming winter. It is still sulking but is showing significant root development, so I am hoping for a good sign this coming spring. I may cut the top of it off in the spring if it doesn't start to push any new growth. Checking the roots around the palm I have found many healthy new roots that established since I dug it up on the 1st of August. I planted another 15 gallon sized Trachycarpus in its place in the yard which has been growing perfectly. I am just nurturing this distressed one in the pot for now.

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22 minutes ago, GeorgiaPalms said:

I actually dug it back out of the ground and placed it back in the pot. It wasnt establishimg well and I was concerned about the coming winter. It is still sulking but is showing significant root development, so I am hoping for a good sign this coming spring. I may cut the top of it off in the spring if it doesn't start to push any new growth. Checking the roots around the palm I have found many healthy new roots that established since I dug it up on the 1st of August. I planted another 15 gallon sized Trachycarpus in its place in the yard which has been growing perfectly. I am just nurturing this distressed one in the pot for now.

Good to hear, I'm sure it will come back!  I wonder if the superthrive helped with the root development, I'm thinking about buying it for some of my palm seedlings to see if I can get the roots established faster. Is that something you'd recommend? 

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Cool

 

Its always a tough decision as to what to do with a damaged

palm that may not be strong enough to make it through winter...

I gave up on a Washy I had because it wasn't growing and when

I dug down I saw a whole new mass of bright white roots all the

was around the base of the trunk...live and learn or learn how

to see through the soil.:badday:

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I just wanted to add that the reason you

had spear damage is that,when the spear stops

growing as in your case where it need to re-root...

the area where all the spears are bunched is very

susceptible to fungus formation while the spear does not

move,the abrasion of them all being together weekens

the surface enough for fungal growth but as mentioned,

they would normally(while growing)grow out of this.

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On 12/16/2016, 12:47:18, Ponds & Palms said:

Good to hear, I'm sure it will come back!  I wonder if the superthrive helped with the root development, I'm thinking about buying it for some of my palm seedlings to see if I can get the roots established faster. Is that something you'd recommend? 

From what I can tell, the Super thrive did seem to help, as the palm did manage to end up rooting itself. I used the whole tiny bottle over the period of months on this one palm.

 

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14 hours ago, Jimhardy said:

I just wanted to add that the reason you

had spear damage is that,when the spear stops

growing as in your case where it need to re-root...

the area where all the spears are bunched is very

susceptible to fungus formation while the spear does not

move,the abrasion of them all being together weekens

the surface enough for fungal growth but as mentioned,

they would normally(while growing)grow out of this.

Good points Jimhardy! I have no idea how long the palm was in this state before I got it, and I hope the rot ceased and I have looked down the crown and except for the spear that broke in half it does seem fine. If there isn't much happening by next year once the weather warms up I will just give it a cut.

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Ok

 

Let me just mention though that when you have

spear damage from cold,trunk cutting can be a very

useful tool...it exposes the fungus to light and air

which it does not like but the spear sure does!

So,anyway....heres my point,you don't need or even

want to cut the spear when it is aborted from root

damage,the shaking while cutting can damage the new

roots and if the palm is healthy,it will bust the spear out

as needed as the roots come in,the only exception would

be if it takes so long that the spear rots but this should

not be a problem inside,usually you just get a dried spear

that breaks rather then pulls.

 

Hope this helps....its up to the palm from here...sounds like.

 

Good luck

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On 12/17/2016, 10:43:34, Jimhardy said:

Ok

 

Let me just mention though that when you have

spear damage from cold,trunk cutting can be a very

useful tool...it exposes the fungus to light and air

which it does not like but the spear sure does!

So,anyway....heres my point,you don't need or even

want to cut the spear when it is aborted from root

damage,the shaking while cutting can damage the new

roots and if the palm is healthy,it will bust the spear out

as needed as the roots come in,the only exception would

be if it takes so long that the spear rots but this should

not be a problem inside,usually you just get a dried spear

that breaks rather then pulls.

 

Hope this helps....its up to the palm from here...sounds like.

 

Good luck

Yeah sounds like a good plan. I don't think there is any rotting happening at the crown, and the spear did rather break than pull, as the entire thing did not come out and rather snapped in half. It will be interesting to see how it does once the weather warms.

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Posted (edited)

I had a bone dry Bizzy on the porch in 23F

on time before I realized it was that cold and pulled

it inside at sunrise,it pulled the same way yours did,

not the spear,just where it broke from the fungal infection....

whats great about the palm being inside is that the fungal

infection died a horrible dusty death and was not allowed to

continue to sabotage  the new growth because it did not have

its favorite conditions......moisture,lack of light/sun and lack

of air flow.

The fungus was stopped dead in its tracks and the spear popped

right back out= dont mist it are get any water in the spear:D

Edited by Jimhardy
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Well, around the middle of last month I performed the operation and ended up removing about half a foot to a foot or so off of the distressed Trachycarpus. I am glad I did because there was quite a bit of rot near the crown. I originally just removed a few inches but the center growth point was still black, so I cut down further, and I did this about three times until I came to a point that was white and showed no signs of rot. After cutting it I proceeded to spray with a fungicide. The palm has grown significantly since I gave it the haircut and it even seemed to show signs of growth immediately after being cut, as in just a few hours after being sliced I could see it forcing out new growth. The root system has grown substantially. IMG-f0b3772c5f2a209b9171d2d7e2c02e62-V.t

This above image is the palm immediately after its buzzcut on February 18th. This is when I got to the healthy section of growth and after I sprayed the fungicide. 

IMG-18b8a210072159f5272afb99d7b0bf80-V.t

This is just a section of the palm, the inner structure is interesting and seems to just consist of 1000s of leaves. Here you can see where the rot ceased as it was working its way down the palm.

IMG-5adaad6a5b2e5d6701f26bce4de0051d-V.t

This above image is the palm on the following day. The palm is clearly pushing out new growth and made a lot of changes in less than 24 hours.

 

 

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IMG-67ff678e4e53698414efd6bd612325b9-V.t

This is just a few days later, lots of activity.

IMG-5d121b4d347ed65b96e5a5a39827ef3f-V.t

This is February 24th. 

IMG-489fd357667e180d946de3c87315425c-V.t

This is February 28th. I would store the palm in the garage any night that dropped below 50 degrees to help keep it warm and to promote growth. 

 

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IMG-9b52d9e17840b3b25fbaa95274cfbd50-V.t

This is March 4th. The partial fronds have started to develop more and are taking on green coloration.

IMG-4016cbcd6f500db3c86e5fdf3454a952-V.t

Skip a couple weeks to March 25th and you can see the partial fronds have opened more and the palm is also pushing out its first full spear. I will take more photos throughout April to document the palms recovery.

Overall so far I am glad I gave this palm another chance, and I think it was wise to go forward with the operation, as the palm now does have a good looking amount of roots and has grown more above ground in the span of about a month than it did the entire season I had it last year. I am expecting this plant to make a full recovery, and it will be interesting to see how it looks by the end of its growing season this year.

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That is AWESOME!!!! YAY!!!!    Cant wait to see it a month or so from now.  It should make a full recovery.  

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 Congratulations,  it is going to make it!! I stand corrected.  

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Awesome 

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So happy to see this! Palms can be pretty amazing and resilient living organisms.

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