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oliver

?Natural Death

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oliver

Having grown palms for many less years than lots of people on this board, I laready have a few that are at their "maximum" size. I have a few D. lutescens at my house approaching 40 ft of trunk, some Texas sabals at my office (which were established when I bought the property) at 75 ft and some Royals at about the same amount of clear trunk. What determines when a palm will die - ? natural causes such as fires, infection, or hurricane. Do they just stop growing or do they keep getting bigger until something kills them (like a fish) - maybe this should be in the newbie forum, but I have never seen one just die because it got beyond the "maximum size" criteria in the book.

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John Case

Many palms are monocarpic, that is, they flower and die.

Looking at the likely candidates for long life, Phoenix, Jubaea,...

Short lived candidates,....any palm in my yard....

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rozpalm

oliver that is a good question. A friend of mine just lost a very tall coconut that basically stopped growing. Maybe it couldn't move water and nutrients through its vascular system anymore or just ran out of energy.

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DoomsDave

Ron's almost nailed it.

Some palms get struck by lightning, or blown over in storms.

But, eventually, a palm (or other tree) will get so tall that its vascular system will no longer transport water to the leaf crown. In a palm with one leaf crown, that's fatal. That's a common cause of death here in California. Some of the Washies on the Westside and older 'hoods are so tall and so old that they're starting to die.

Even Redwoods have the same problem, except they can keep regenerating new tops below the tops that die.

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Dave-Vero

Palms are inherently mortal because the living phloem tissues (food-conducting) tissues of the stem don't renew themselves. In an old Jubaea, those are incredibly old cells.

An exception might be the saw palmetto, Serenoa repens. I think there's a published paper estimating stems to be 400-500 years old. It's native to areas with very frequent fires (as much as nearly annually). The creeping stems apparently tend to branch when the terminal buds are injured, so a single stem can gradually turn into a substantial colony. At the beach between Melbourne and Sebastian Inlet, Florida, you can spot clones by leaf color. Most are intensely siver, others sort-of-green, a few yellowish.

Here's Kissimmee Prairie State Park south of Orlando. The firebreak roads are necessary for management, but the knee-high vegetation with lots of grass and tiny saw palmettos is essentially what you would have seen circa 1830. This area has a high frequency of lightning strikes and consequently had a very high rate of fire ignitions at the start of the rainy season. This was just two weeks ago. I think the fresh burn was a lightning fire.

post-275-1246339993_thumb.jpg

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