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Alicehunter2000

Weird Butia Trunk

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Alicehunter2000

Everytime I go to my sisters house in Panama City Beach, I go past this Butia.....It has always looked weird to me so I finally got a picture. It seems there are other Butia in the neighborhood that have a similar white trunk...I wonder if it the result of over zealous trimming, something in the soil, or trees coming from the same grower.post-97-0-93520500-1404937082_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-42816300-1404937119_thumb.jpg

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WestCoastGal

Since it goes all the way up I think it was painted white. Some people do that to reflect the sun's rays and keep the trunks of trees from scorching.

I know they do this over by Modesto through the groves of certain fruit trees (or maybe it's nut producing trees). In fact I saw a video of a grower trim off all the branches of his grove and bring the trees down to a few yards off the ground and paint the whole field of them white to keep them alive while conserving water that he could no longer afford to bring in to irrigate his field. This was just on a newscast the other night. Think it was a story from the Paso Robles/San Luis Obisbo area.

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dalmatiansoap

Pest control

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Alicehunter2000

I don't think it is paint.....look at this tree at my sisters house.post-97-0-78853100-1404996942_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-15899900-1404996971_thumb.jpg

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NorthFlpalmguy

I find it weird you can see it doesn't look as white where there are possible booting shovel marks or where the boots fell off (those scars) on the side. That makes me think that it would be some sort of paint also. I have never seen one that white over here and I would definitely notice as I would be asking to collect seeds off it :drool:

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Alicehunter2000

But if it had boots when it was "painted" ....then how is it possible to have the "paint" between the boots? Surely if it was painted, whoever was doing the painting didn't paint down into and between the boots......weird. I still do not think it is paint.

My sister has lived in her house for over 13 years....they didn't paint it.

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ErikSJI

David I think it may be to over pruning. If the fronds are not there to provide shade to the trunk the trunk gets sun bleached. That is my theory anyways. Where as we get a tan in the sun. A palms trunk will dry out and loose its color as well as drop its boots sooner.

I planted this one a couple years ago. The trunk was brown. Every year it gets whiter as the owner over prunes it.

post-1930-0-08500300-1405031283_thumb.jp

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tbearz

Is there a high mineral content in the local irrigation water that could be causing it? From your sister's picture we can see how that palm is irrigated and if the concentration of (say) calcium is pretty high, one can see how it would build up over time on the trunk, between the boots, up and down the trunk. This happens to the Brahea edulis in San Francisco's Dolores Park that are irrigated with reclaimed water.

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WestCoastGal

From what I remember, the "paint" growers used was made with lime and water and was "painted" on--not paint as you would normally think of (Something whitewashed like that would drip down into the boot area.) I also think it was something repeated every year by growers so in the case of the palm as boots came off it might have been reapplied. It is curious and very noticeably white especially in the first example. It would be interesting to see the coloration of the trunk/boot/petioles where all that plant growth has set in near the canopy.

We have two butias. One of my butias still doesn't have much of a trunk yet, and the other one still has most of its boots on. Both parts are more brownish/gray I guess you can say, so that's my personal experience with butias, no color change there. However I have two mature mules and one young one. I see the boots on the mature ones change colors over the months. Sometimes they can be very black in spots and other times a light gray to a whitish gray or brownish.

Here's a recent photo of one of my mules with the whitish boots (zoom in for a better look):

post-5191-0-67818900-1405039863_thumb.jp 07/2014 post-5191-0-37416200-1405041111_thumb.jp 11/2013

I have no idea why the boots on my mule change colors like this. And maybe it does have something to do with the minerals in the water it is pulling up. There's been no rain here for sometime. Very little real rain this past winter. We did have a number of weeks of below freezing weather this past winter.

Those first two photos are so white I'm still leaning towards lime wash. When it rains and the trunk gets wet, what color is it? Does it gray up and get more white as it dries?

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Alicehunter2000

Eric, that's my theory as well....waaaayyy over pruning of the boots. You don't see it often, but sometimes people around here cannot stand having a booted palm and want to make it smooth. They use a circular, reciprocal or chain saw and cut every bit of the boot off. This is a beach area and the sun is pretty intense so I think it actually dries out the exterior of the trunk resulting in bleaching.

TbearZ.... The water may also have something to do with it as well....we do get calcium deposits sometimes. With no boots on the trunk it would be easy to see how it would be "painted" with mineral water over time.

WCG, from the looks of your mule you can see something similar on the boots. That thing is becoming a beast....how bout a picture of the whole tree.

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NorthFlpalmguy

They dig dolomite (lime) all around the coastline here east of PC beach along 98... so with a combo of irrigation and being planted young, the whitewashed look might be obtained that route.

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