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Wendaddy

Some are OK, some are dying!

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Wendaddy

I recently moved into a house in the bay area, CA. There are about a dozen palms around the house. I have no experience with them. To my eyes, many are not doing well. I even found two dead trees, with trunk in the ground. I have pictures taken. I asked my neighbors and someone at Lowes garden department. They mentioned 2014 winter has been cold, so it can be due to freeze damage. The question I have is why these palms 100 feet from each other, but they look very different. Some are OK, some are dying! Palm (1) looks OK. Palm (3) is dying. So far, I had only put palm food in March. What else should I do to save them?

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Brahea Axel

All the palms shown in your pictures are queens. These are not suffering from frost damage, but from very poor nutrition and lack of water. Buy some specialized palm fertilizer and water properly, and they should green up and regrow nicer crowns.

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Wendaddy

Axel, Thanks for your tips. I have more questions. I have fed them Miracle-Gro Shake'n Feed Palm Food 4.5lb and Scotts 20-lb Synthetic Palm Trees Plant Food Granules (8-4-8) at the end of March. I am not sure which is better, but they are both slow release. I prefer the bigger bag just because 2 bags of Miracle-Gro is not enough to feed them all. Instructions says apply every 3 months during growing season. Should I apply more fertilizer for the ones are dying? There are also many plants around the dying one (#3). Could the surrounding plants contribute to the poor nutrition?

I have not done any special watering, but relying on automatic sprinkler systems. Previously it waters every 2 days. Because of it is the raining season, I have it waters every 3 days now. One run takes about 60-80 minutes. It is in a hill area, so I found plenty of water running out of the yard half way through watering. I guess the sprinkler are not sufficient for some of the trees. I have also found a couple of Deep Drip Watering Stakes in the ground near the dying trees. I assume previous gardener knew about the problem. How should I use the Deep Drip Watering Stakes? I read links on queen palms. It mentions the roots are shahow.

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Brahea Axel

Since the palms look drought stressed, you can't assume that your existing watering setup works. Make sure you dig at least down 6-12 inches to verify the soil is properly moist. I recommend drip as opposed to sprinklers, especially if you're on a hillside. Sounds like you have applied the fertilizer, just keep in mind you will need to make sure that water penetrates the soil where the fertilizer is located. If you switch to drip, I'd recommend using palm stakes and place the drip on top of the stakes.

You will not see immediate improvement on your palms. The ones in less of a funk should make new green fronds and look healthy by the end of the Summer. The ones in a deeper funk will take longer to recover.

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Xerarch

Check your fertilizers to make sure they have micronutrients, queen palms are famous for showing manganese deficiency in calcareous soils, so make sure you are applying some things like manganese and iron in whatever fertilizer you are using. I had some queens in AZ that did the same thing, I got a liquid fertilizer and drenched the root zone and it didn't take long before they greened up and normal looking fronds started growing. Oh ya, with the manganese deficiency, it is the cause of "frizzle top" in queens, which I don't necessarily see in your photos except maybe on that one that is severely stunted, the leaves come out deformed, if this happens, there is no way to fix a deformed frond, just help it to grow regular ones in the first place. Iron deficiency is one (but not the only) possible cause of the yellowing.

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