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PricklyPearSATX

Images of bud rot

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PricklyPearSATX

A few days ago, the two newest leaves on this juvenile sabal brazoria were dried and discolored. The next day, the spear pulled. It was planted in March 2008. Sabal brazoria is a variation of sabal minor.

I pretty much knew that it would die, so I pulled up the plant. Thought I would take some pictures.

I think I know what caused the rot. Probably overwatering.

The picture below shows the roots missing on one side. This is the side where I had put the irrigation. (The only other possibility was some bug. I've dealt with agave snout weevil and their damage is similar)

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PricklyPearSATX

The second picture shows the hollowing of the underground stem.

It hollowed from the bottom up.

The sides were intact.

The blue arrow points to where the spear was.

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Tala

young Sabal are notorious for getting some bud damage in cold wet weather. The soil has to have excellent drainage. They are also well known for growing out of it if you leave them be. Not saying this would've happened in your case but it could. The bud on Sabal eventually reaches around 4 ft below ground before it is finished. They make many leaves down there for around a decade easy. A wise old palm grower once taught me that however many healthy fronds you see on any palm that is about how many are already formed in the bud.

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DoomsDave

Replant and wait.

Sabals dont' die easy

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SubTropicRay

Give it time and all will work out. Sabals are very resilient plants.

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Ken Johnson

The roots are only on one side because that is how the palm grows when young. Did you see the "heel"?

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PricklyPearSATX
The roots are only on one side because that is how the palm grows when young. Did you see the "heel"?

I dunno what a heel is????

You can tell I'm new at this. I've got a lot to learn. LOL

I've been going nuts because other palms are giving me grief.

A med fan palm wilted on me. Overwatering wasn't the issue. Checked the spear. It pulled. Checked the base of med fan and it was "hollow" also.

I called the University of Florida and they said the hole in the base was probably caused by bugs.

Checked for bugs and ended up finding a hole next to the sabal and another hole next to the med fan.

These are very long tunneling holes.

Could a rhino beetle make a hole like that? (About 1 inch in diameter, but at least several feet long. Couldn't dig all the way through it. So, I don't know how long the hole is. )

I'm thinking a rodent...

I guess I need to call the exterminator.

What next? :huh:

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PricklyPearSATX
The roots are only on one side because that is how the palm grows when young. Did you see the "heel"?

Meant to edit my post, but it didn't work.

Question about the heel?

Is it the same as the crown in a traditional plant?

Where the base of the plant meet the roots?

Because the crown is hollow.

Also, the crown is hollow in the med fan palm.

Got brave and started digging into the hole. Found a grub in it. The grub was not a rhino grub.

Don't think it was a June bug. (Would take a pic, but camera out of batteries)

Grub was thinner than a June bug grub. About the same length. Brown front legs. Black insides. More of an aggressive digger than a June bug. It seemed pretty good at tilling hard clay!!

I moved the bug away from the plant. So, I could save him to get a pic later. Ran off to get a pot to stick him in. It was gone in a flash. Fast bugger.

(Off Topic: Anyone here have experience with agave snout weevil? (Aka tequila worm) Nasty. The damage to the heart of my palm is quite similar.

I'm finding that the anatomy of a palm is somewhat like the anatomy of an agave. Both have fleshy hearts.

I don't have agaves, I have beautiful agave relatives called beschnornias. They are so pretty that the nursery thought and sold them as tropical spider lilies. Nothing like a tough succulent that looks like something else!!!)

I don't know if agave snout weevils attack palms.

All I know is, based on this forum palm growers are the smartest gardeners in the world.

The lady at the University of Florida agreed.

These monocot, one budded, plants are baptizing me into a whole new realm of gardening fire. :wacko:

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Tala

not sure if those weevils attack palms, I kinda doubt it but its best you check w/ locals on this, they would know better than me. Any question is a good one, ask away here.

I can't find it intact on your pics, the "heel" is actually a portion of the initial root system. It starts out at the surface and then sometimes pushes up above soil level. Not all palms have this, in fact the vast majority do not. It is usually indicative of a palm that originates from a very dry habitat or a place that is subject to seasonal droughts. All Sabal species have it. It grows along as the palm does, slowly enlarging and the entire palm's development will take place below ground; the bud actually burrows down into the soil. Sabal palms will go down about 4 ft before the growth bud stops. Then each successive frond is produced a bit higher until finally (a good ten yrs from seed in Fl.) the growth bud is above ground. For instance I could take a chainsaw to a Sabal palm with less than 4 ft of stem above ground, and cut it down, even with the soil. It would grow back without a hitch! Just driving down I-95 you can witness evidence of this in construction clearings.

Its doubtful any insect caused the hole, but they are the result of the rotted cavity; some palms (when under stress or shock) will give off pheromones that can attract palm weevils to them. I once saw some flying along side a tractor trailer hauling a few CI Dates down the turnpike to Miami. Bet those installers were in for a surprise. Adult palm weevils are very large and colorful insects, easy to ID. The "grub" or larvae are the ones doing the actual damage. they can hollow out a large palm in a matter of wks, and sometimes no one is the wiser until the canopy starts dying back or begins to tip over. Google for a good pic of them, these are bad muthas...

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PricklyPearSATX

Tala:

Thank you for the helpful information.

Is the heel the little wooden triangle that supports the bud? It's on one side of the young palm?

The heel was intact on that sample. I don't have it anymore. I sent it to a pathologist.

I didn't think it was palmetto weevils because they have a specific habitat. When I posted, I was a little frazzled and my thoughts were a bit racy.

Also, thank you for the info about contacting locals.

My yard happens to be full of rhino beetles at the present time.

I never thought rhino beetles were harmful. Then I found out last night.

I went to a meeting where the speaker was an IPS member. He said rhino beetles are very harmful to young palms.

Here is a picture of the hole that was next to my med fan palm:

I determined that the hole was made by a rhino beetle, because in another hole in my yard, there are rhino beetle parts.

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PricklyPearSATX

Next step was to ID the rhino beetle. Here is an internet picture of the rhino beetle. (Obtained from a Texas database) It is called: Strategus aloeus

The next step was to determine if it strategus aloeus was determinal to palms. I found several articles. This was the most straight forward.

Excerpts from article:

"S. aloeus is found in widespread distribution in the Americas, and is a common pest in coconut and oil palms (Bondar 1940, Hartley 1967, Mariau 1976, Genty et al. 1978, Chinchilla 1997). It is found in almost all the states of Mexico (Morón et al. 1997), and has been classified as a species detrimental to the coconut palm (García 1981)."

"Strategus aloeus normally restricts its activity to young palms, especially those in their first two years in the field (Hartley 1967, Lever 1969, Mariau 1976, Genty et al. 1978).

The feeding patterns of O. rhinoceros and S. aloeus show notable variation. The first species establishes itself in the bud of the plant and then works its way down to the terminal shoot. The adult S. aloeus digs into the base of the plant and then works its way up (Child 1964, Piggott 1964, Fremond et al. 1966, Hartley 1967, Lever 1969, Genty et al. 1978). "

Article link: http://www.asd-cr.com/ASD-Pub/Bol16/B16c3Ing.htm

Rhino beetles are whole different topic. I have no idea which ones are harmful to palms, except that strategus aloeus is in my yard and it is harmful to palms.

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Tala

yikes, not a palmetto weevil but just as bad I guess. I have them here too but they have never caused any damage to my palms; most likely they are different species, now I have something to research. Most of the beetles I notice here will have horns on their heads, kinda like a Triceratops dinosaur would have; but I think that IDs the sexes not sure. You may have to eventually consider applying some insecticides as a preventive measure, ask your local ag ext. office what to do and use. There are some Sabal species native to Texas so you should be able to plant this genus. Seems like there are always some obstacles to having fun...

That wooden triangle is indeed the "heel", for future plantings you will want to keep it well above soil level even if they palm you are planting did not come out of the container that way. I often refer to these palms growth habit as tillering, the bud pushes its way down into the soil, and on very young palms that heel will go right down there with it. So starting it "planted high" is not detrimental to the palm's health, in fact it helps to ward off rot or other potential fungal problems. Some have success by planting these types of palms on mounds instead of even with the surrounding soil. Good luck!

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PricklyPearSATX

I always thought our soil had good drainage. I've come to realize that palms need excellent drainage.

Plant 'em high. Plant' em high

They're won't have "real wood" for quite awhile.

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