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Walt

Digging up and transplanting small Howea forsteriana

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Walt

I've posted about this palm 2-3 times in the past several years. I bought this palm by mail order back in 2002. It was about half the size shown in the first photo. I took that photo in March of 2003 the day I stepped it up in pot size. I was growing this palm under my covered entryway where it got mostly indirect sun. After a few months the palm started to decline, I think suffering from root rot by using too heavy a potting soil and over watering it.

I then removed the palm from the pot and replanted it in a small pot and made sure I didn't over water it. After a year or so the palm had recovered. I grew it for a couple of years in the pot and finally decided to plant it out in my yard. The palm was strategically planted under red bay tree canopy to block direct sun, plus to give it more protection from frost during the winter. The palm did well until I lost all my red bay trees to laurel wilt disease two years ago. Then my Howea was exposed to direct sun for most of the day. During the winter months that was okay because the sun was low in the sky, and direct radiation was much lower.

However, since about the end of April my Howea has been steadily going down hill, I beleive being over exposed to direct sunlight. Notwithstanding I water it every day, because my soil is pure sand, the foliage has yellowed for the most part and much of it has died.

I've finally reached my wits end concerning this palm and am tired of looking at the ratty thing. I now plan to dig it out of the ground and repot it and place it in my shadehouse that is screened with 50% fabric. I also plan to water it in initially using a wide-spectrum fungicide water mix.

My question is, to anyone with experience with Howea, do you think my palm will survive a transplant as I described above? I plan on getting as much of a root ball as possible.

If by chance my Howea survives and recovers nicely, the next time I plant it out I will plant it back in a wooded area of my property where it will not get direct sun, only broken sun. Even then, I don't think this palm will ever amount to much. Still, it's the only one I have. Any opinions?

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Above: My Howea forsteriana during healthier days.

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Above: View of my Howea showing yellowed sunburned leaves and dried dead leaves.

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Above: Alternate view of my Howea showing yellowed and dead leaves.

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Above: Short and small diameter trunk of my Howea, and this palm is probably 10 years from seed.

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malcthomas

Walt..

I have a nursery of field planted Kentias. I used to root prune before removing...the last dozen or so I have dug straight out of the ground and have not lost one. I don't intend root pruning these in the future...

regards...

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Kostas

As you may have read in my Pyrgos Garden topic,i get my Howea fosteriana as trios planted in the same pot and split the root ball with an axe to 3 part,relative to the size of the developing trunk of each plant. I then pot them up and place them in shade. None of my Howea fosteriana i have done that to,has shown any distress or lost leafs from this treatment. I usually do this during our rainy and humid season(winter) to minimize the stress on the plant and the need for water uptake from the roots. I know this is not exactly the same as transplanting a palm from the ground,where the roots are far from each other and not crammed in a pot but i think it will be safe to transplant even without root pruning(if you feel the Howea wont last the root pruning period where it is)as long as you place it in a humid place,in shade,away from sun or dry air. That will give it the time it needs to grow more roots and support itself. From my experience with them,Howea can take a fair amount of draught without damage,so i doubt your soil is bad for them,especially since they grow on the beaches as well in their habitat. Too much water can rot them from what i keep hearing from people keeping them indoors and keeping their soil constantly moist(and loosing them). I have never had a rot problem with my Howea but i dont overwater them and their soil drains well. Watering your Howea every day,even in full sun and sandy soil,may be too much for it. Once every 2-3days,taking into account your sandy soil,may be more suitable. Also,placing shade cloth above it till the move will help it cope with the sun(even a 30% one would help). They,supposedly,are able to take full sun undamaged after a certain age though so it may adjust if left there,maybe with an initial acclimation period with the help of shade cloth. Given the rarity of seeing Howea in FL though,it may indeed be wiser to move it in a shaded area.

I wish you success with the move if you decide to go for it!smilie.gif

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CardiffPalmNut

Walt - I have field dug several without any root pruning, haven't lost a one they are pretty tough palms.

Good luck

Aloha

Bill

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chris.oz

I grow them in sand, with good topsoil. They do better in filtered sun. They can actually handle full midday sun here but IMO only those with a bigger caliper. If your palm got to that stage with a thin

trunk like that, then its a runt, and doesnt have yet have a well developed root system, not to mention the compromised leaf area that drives the plant as a whole. Poor canopy=poor root system.....

I have 2 howea with 6" diameter trunks growing in filtered sun and they are very robust and look very very nice. I also have one like yours, and it always burns and never became "robust".

If you were prepared to persist, it might come good, because they do survive in sand. However, it doent look good. Maybe time to change it out for a better looking palm !

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Walt

Thanks to all for your timely and informative replies. I don't have time today, but tomorrow I will dig my howea up and repot it in a size container appropriate to the root ball I end up with. While I don't have realistic high expectations for my howea to ever amount anything (growing to normal size), I will keep it for what it's worth (I agree with Chris.oz that it's probably a runt). I realize now I may as well buy another howea, and this time grow it in the less strong lighting conditions and with less water. If my howea recovers I will reply back to this post for all to see. Thanks again.

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DoomsDave

HOweas are one of the easiest palms to transplant. If you do a reasonably job of getting a rootball from which the plant can regenerate its roots, you should have a near 100% success rate.

let us know how it goes

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Walt

HOweas are one of the easiest palms to transplant. If you do a reasonably job of getting a rootball from which the plant can regenerate its roots, you should have a near 100% success rate.

let us know how it goes

Thanks, Dave, you just made the consensus (that howeas can be moved mostly successfully) stronger. Now I wished I'd had moved it two years ago when I lost my shade trees.

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MattyB

Can't kill them here in ca.

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Treebert
On ‎6‎/‎15‎/‎2011‎ ‎7‎:‎27‎:‎57‎, Kostas said:

As you may have read in my Pyrgos Garden topic,i get my Howea fosteriana as trios planted in the same pot and split the root ball with an axe to 3 part,relative to the size of the developing trunk of each plant. I then pot them up and place them in shade. None of my Howea fosteriana i have done that to,has shown any distress or lost leafs from this treatment. I usually do this during our rainy and humid season(winter) to minimize the stress on the plant and the need for water uptake from the roots. I know this is not exactly the same as transplanting a palm from the ground,where the roots are far from each other and not crammed in a pot but i think it will be safe to transplant even without root pruning(if you feel the Howea wont last the root pruning period where it is)as long as you place it in a humid place,in shade,away from sun or dry air. That will give it the time it needs to grow more roots and support itself. From my experience with them,Howea can take a fair amount of draught without damage,so i doubt your soil is bad for them,especially since they grow on the beaches as well in their habitat. Too much water can rot them from what i keep hearing from people keeping them indoors and keeping their soil constantly moist(and loosing them). I have never had a rot problem with my Howea but i dont overwater them and their soil drains well. Watering your Howea every day,even in full sun and sandy soil,may be too much for it. Once every 2-3days,taking into account your sandy soil,may be more suitable. Also,placing shade cloth above it till the move will help it cope with the sun(even a 30% one would help). They,supposedly,are able to take full sun undamaged after a certain age though so it may adjust if left there,maybe with an initial acclimation period with the help of shade cloth. Given the rarity of seeing Howea in FL though,it may indeed be wiser to move it in a shaded area.

 

I wish you success with the move if you decide to go for it!smilie.gif

I agree totally with Kostas. 10 months ago i transplanted a 5m howea which i have just posted about and sadly isn't looking to good. i was disciplined and resisted the urge to over water. Following soil conditioning with seasol 4 months ago the palm instantly browned (i regret this day). Once a week i would water it and each time the palm took a turn for the worse. In a last ditch attempt to save i have mulched heavily and will only lightly water when absolutely needed.

 

I hope your palm recovered Walt

 

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