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W. Robusta has a lean! How do you correct it?

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RobustaEnvirons

Ever since I got my large W.Robusta I've noticed that it has a curve (or a lean) to one side. I suspect that it's due to the way I potted it in the pot back when I got it.

After getting it, one by one the fronds died off leaving only one large frond remaining. This lean became more prevalent once that happened since the only remaining frond was on one side. The Robusta also then didn't have the other fronds to counteract the weight.

I thought maybe it would grow straighter with time. It hasn't seemed to though. I did notice the trunk wiggled side to side ever-so slightly. So I kinda dug a tiny bit of soil and pushed the soil tighter and then it seemed to stand up straighter.

I also attached a bungee cord around the trunk to straighten it. Is this okay? Will the cord hurt the Robusta? Even with the cord it's still got a slight curve on the small trunk (probably due to leaning for a while like that. I only wanted to straighten it out. It has a new growth frond now by the way. I have hoped that in the future, new growth will straighten it up. I can't tell yet if the new growth frond is growing straight or is following along the direction of the other frond. 

When I potted it, I thought I read that this species always grows straight up? I have kept it so that the sun would allow it to grow straight up (like my houseplant Dracaena Marginata). I had hoped this would straighten it out. 

I'm worried that the bungee cord might hurt it though. Should I use the cord? Or, remove the cord and allow the Robusta to "straighten itself out" over time and growth? I would expect this stuff from my Houseplant Dracaena Marginata, but not from a W. Robusta. Guess I'm still learning. Lol. 

Here's how it looks with and without the bungee cord:

IMAG0905.jpg

IMAG0904.jpg

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Pal Meir

I can’t understand what you did with your Washy. Although they are growing in the desert they need regular watering. And sun. Grown up from seed a Washingtonia robusta should at least look like this seedling one year after germination (photo: Germany 1982-06-17).

PS: Please don’t use that bungee cord.

565a2ef13b5c0_Washingtoniarobusta1982-06

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PalmatierMeg

Stake it until it roots in. And you don't need a massive stake - a 1/2" dowel or length of bamboo will do. Zip ties secure stem to stake. A stake will spread any force on the whole stem rather than stress one area like the bungee cord. Rotate the pot a 1/4 turn every other day so it won't lean toward the light. Palm is small and has plenty of growing to do before you fret over whether the trunk is straight or not.

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RobustaEnvirons
22 minutes ago, Pal Meir said:

I can’t understand what you did with your Washy. Although they are growing in the desert they need regular watering. And sun. Grown up from seed a Washingtonia robusta should at least look like this seedling one year after germination (photo: Germany 1982-06-17).

PS: Please don’t use that bungee cord.

565a2ef13b5c0_Washingtoniarobusta1982-06

I really didn't do anything particular. I bought this large W. Robusta on ebay in Aug/Sep from a seller in St.Petersburg Florida. Its older than 1 year I believe. After I bought this Robusta, I put it in a decent size pot immediately the day it arrived. The seller had it wrapped up very nicely with plastic wrap and even told me that they applied some kind of gel to the roots (to keep it healthy for the journey). By the 3rd day of its potting I had noticed the fronds were turning brown on the ends. I immediately contacted the seller and he informed me that my Robusta is going through "Transportation Shock". One by one each of its 6 fronds browned and shrived. After about a week only 1 of its fronds remained.

I trimmed off each of these fronds as they died off. The only one that remained of its original 6 is the one that looks as if its leaning. Its got a new frond growing out next to the large frond. Its basically in a state of regrowth. 

This is what it looked like when it arrived at my house after purchase:      

 

12003406_10203681519273352_6375039878911740032_n.jpg

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RobustaEnvirons

Ok, I guess the bungee cord wasn't a good idea then. Lol. I'll not use it then. 

Edited by RobustaEnvirons

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RobustaEnvirons
33 minutes ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Stake it until it roots in. And you don't need a massive stake - a 1/2" dowel or length of bamboo will do. Zip ties secure stem to stake. A stake will spread any force on the whole stem rather than stress one area like the bungee cord. Rotate the pot a 1/4 turn every other day so it won't lean toward the light. Palm is small and has plenty of growing to do before you fret over whether the trunk is straight or not.

Ok, I'll head over to Home Depot tomorrow and get a 1/2" Dowel then. I'm just starting out, so I don't have any. Will half an inch be enough? I mean if I put that into the soil it'll probably not even reach very far above the surface since its only half an inch long. I'm sorry. I guess I don't really understand what you mean. I guess I'm a noobie. Sorry, haha.  

Are you saying I should sink that 1/2" dowel into the soil but have it pressed up against the trunk (like a backbone)? And then ziptie them together as one? And this will provide support for it to stand up tall. If this is what you mean, will me putting this into the soil (close to the trunk) damage the roots? The root ball is right below the trunk isn't it? And wouldn't it be better to have a longer dowel? Just wondering.  

Or, are you saying I should put it into the soil further out towards the rim of the pot? But, then it'd be hard to ziptie it I guess and the ziptie wouldn't reach. Lol.

Sorry, I guess I'm a little confused.  

Edited by RobustaEnvirons

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PalmatierMeg

Don't overthink this. Insert a 3' long dowel next to the palm and push it to the bottom of the pot. It won't harm the rootball. Zip tie stem to stake in a couple of places. A 3' stake will allow for palm's vertical growth. Add extra zips as palm grows. If they get too tight on stem, cut them off and replace. Once palm is secure in pot remove stake.

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RobustaEnvirons
13 minutes ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Don't overthink this. Insert a 3' long dowel next to the palm and push it to the bottom of the pot. It won't harm the rootball. Zip tie stem to stake in a couple of places. A 3' stake will allow for palm's vertical growth. Add extra zips as palm grows. If they get too tight on stem, cut them off and replace. Once palm is secure in pot remove stake.

Ok, no problem. I believe I understand you know. That's a lot clearer to me. Thank you for your advice, I do appreciate it. Before taking an interest in palms, I had never done any gardening or anything. So I wasn't sure at first. I know it seems silly to you guys since you're all so experienced and you know what your doing. I do seem to overthink things a lot.

I'm learning as I go. I'm grateful for any help I can get. I'm going to run out tomorrow and pick one up. I think your solution will do the trick! 

Edited by RobustaEnvirons

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RobustaEnvirons

 

On 11/28/2015, 7:34:58, PalmatierMeg said:

Don't overthink this. Insert a 3' long dowel next to the palm and push it to the bottom of the pot. It won't harm the rootball. Zip tie stem to stake in a couple of places. A 3' stake will allow for palm's vertical growth. Add extra zips as palm grows. If they get too tight on stem, cut them off and replace. Once palm is secure in pot remove stake.

How is this? Does this look okay? I made sure the Dowel is straight and right up against the trunk. I pushed it down to the bottom. 

IMAG0911.jpg

IMAG0908.jpg

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John Case

Richard,

 

Once the lean is cured, cut those zip ties or the tree will be strangled.....

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RobustaEnvirons
5 minutes ago, John Case said:

Richard,

 

Once the lean is cured, cut those zip ties or the tree will be strangled.....

I know this probably sounds stupid, but how (when) exactly will I know when the lean is cured? I'm afraid I'll not notice that it's cured and it's be hurt. 

Edited by RobustaEnvirons

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John Case

There is no way to know if the support cannot be easily removed. I use green gardeners tape (it is plastic, green, and stretches a bit). You should be able to find it at any Home Depot, Lowe's or nursery in your area.

The object is to have the support and the tree running parallel to each other but at a distance where the tree may be able to flex a bit, That will help build a stronger trunk over time. Put a little distance between the dowel and the tree so the tree, which is a living thing, can move. IT looks form the photo that the dowel is up so tight to the tree that the tree will no be able to grow, either up or out.

Right now, I am using a large stake and gardeners tape to support a tall Chamaedorea plumose that took on a lean in a recent storm. Once the roots strengthen up, I'll remove the stake and the tape. The stake is about 8 inches away from the tree, In you case, I would separate the tree from the dowel at least an inch.

Good luck!

JC

 

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PalmatierMeg

I agree with John. You don't have to lock the palm into a strait jacket. Allow a bit more wiggle room. I'm not familiar with the tape but am sure it will work. You will know zips are too tight if you can't wiggle them or they begin to cut into the stem. As I said before you have time before the palm starts to trunk. Seedlings are fairly forgiving.

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Palmaceae

This is the green tie tape you can use, it stretches as the tree grows. You can get it at any garden center.

th?id=OIP.Me05319a3d899a8437552f025728bf

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RobustaEnvirons

Aw darn. I guess I messed up. I had a feeling that something like this would happen. 

I wasn't sure if it was too close to the trunk or not. Well, I'll try this again. 

I removed the dowel and got my ruler out. I placed it 1inch or so away. I pushed it all the way to the bottom. 

Tomorrow I'll stop by Home Depot and pick up some of the green tie tape to secure it to the Dowel. I placed the Dowel in there until I can get the tape. 

I hope that I didn't hurt the roots by putting it so close to the trunk? That just always worries me.

Is this how it's supposed to be? 

IMAG0913.jpg

IMAG0912.jpg

Edited by RobustaEnvirons

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RobustaEnvirons
11 minutes ago, Palmaceae said:

This is the green tie tape you can use, it stretches as the tree grows. You can get it at any garden center.

th?id=OIP.Me05319a3d899a8437552f025728bf

I'll stop in at Home Depot to get some tomorrow. Thank you. 

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Pando

I wouldn't even worry about that lean. The plant looks almost vertical, and the single open leaf to one side gives you the illusion that it's leaning more than it's really is. Once you get more leaves you'll see that it will be straight.

Then again, if it really grows a bit crooked it will still be fine, and you can correct the lean next time you repot it to a larger container. If it survives your environment, these things will grow large rather quick, and that lean is the last thing you'll have to worry about.

If the lean really bothers you, carefully lift up the plant from the soil, shake it so the soil resettles while correcting the lean and set it back down. Lightly press down the soil around the stem, water it, and it'll be good. Chances are by correcting the lean now, it may appear to lean the other way when a new leaf opens. :)

 

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RobustaEnvirons
48 minutes ago, Pando said:

I wouldn't even worry about that lean. The plant looks almost vertical, and the single open leaf to one side gives you the illusion that it's leaning more than it's really is. Once you get more leaves you'll see that it will be straight.

Then again, if it really grows a bit crooked it will still be fine, and you can correct the lean next time you repot it to a larger container. If it survives your environment, these things will grow large rather quick, and that lean is the last thing you'll have to worry about.

If the lean really bothers you, carefully lift up the plant from the soil, shake it so the soil resettles while correcting the lean and set it back down. Lightly press down the soil around the stem, water it, and it'll be good. Chances are by correcting the lean now, it may appear to lean the other way when a new leaf opens. :)

 

For some reason the slight lean just bothers me, lol. I don't know why, it just does. When people come over they ask me if my palm is sick. I always say "no its just leaning a little that's all". I may just try to use the green gardening tape and tape it up (as others have suggested) since I've already gone and bought the Dowel and put it in. We'll see if that makes any difference. I would try to lift it up and correct the lean (as you've suggested), but I'm worried about the roots and etc being affected. I've read W.Robusta don't like their roots disturbed.

I do agree that it may appear to lean the other way if corrected. Worst case scenario I'll go with what you mentioned and just try to correct it when I pot it again in a larger pot. 

Do you think it won't survive my environment? I've tried to match the growing conditions as closely as possible to what they might grow in. They like hot, sunny, low humidity, some water, and sandy soil, Problems I'm been having are that we don't get as much sun this time of year as say California does. Humidity in the summer can be bad here too. The humidity in the house here (now that our furnace is always running) is low humidity since its Winter. It seems to be doing pretty good so far, since I bought it from a seller in St. Petersburg Florida. I bought it in Aug/Sept. I've kept it in the bay window and it seems to be going to town. Its come back around full circle, and is growing that new frond. I originally thought it was a goner after I bought it and the fronds started dropping off.       

Edited by RobustaEnvirons

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Pando

These things grow here in dry dirt in a crack in asphalt in the middle of the freeway, without any rain for months. But, I guess it's hard to replicate these conditions indoors... :floor: I would have no clue how to keep one growing in a pot. Probably the less you care for it the more success you might have... Just bright sunlight and heat.

Funny thing is, I'm trying to get rid of them from my yard, seeds and seedlings popping up everywhere. Sometimes I find a volunteer the size of your plant that initially escaped removal. These things are tough rooted in the ground; I can pull a spear out or decapitate it and it grows back.

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Alicehunter2000

Ok....your in Ohio....had to try and figure out where you were located....

I would re-pot it strait at this stage if it bothers you. Carefully roll pot on side and pull our with as little disturbance as possible. Some soil might fall away since it's not established.  

During winter water sparingly. Maybe once a week? Or just let soil dry a bit between waterings...especially with as few fronds as you have. In spring, after freezes are over....move outside into more sun.

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RobustaEnvirons

-Pando

That's amazing that they are so resilient. Around here the only thing that is like that is not really a Palm, but is similar to a palm; Ailanthus Altisima (Tree of Heaven).

They only grow around here in the Summer and hybernate in the winter only to continue rapid growth in the Spring. I can understand hot you guys feel about W.Robusta being like a weed, since Ailanthus Altissima does a similar thing here. 

Edited by RobustaEnvirons

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Pal Meir

I would re-pot it into a much smaller plastic pot with many holes for drainage (see my photo above). Take a photo of the roots before. Use the same soil as now. Then give it a lot of water. Don’t leave water in the saucer. When the soil gets a bit dry repeat watering regularly. On days when the sun doesn’t shine put it under a lamp.

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RobustaEnvirons
51 minutes ago, Alicehunter2000 said:

Ok....your in Ohio....had to try and figure out where you were located....

I would re-pot it strait at this stage if it bothers you. Carefully roll pot on side and pull our with as little disturbance as possible. Some soil might fall away since it's not established.  

During winter water sparingly. Maybe once a week? Or just let soil dry a bit between waterings...especially with as few fronds as you have. In spring, after freezes are over....move outside into more sun.

Haha, yes I live in Toledo Ohio (almost South East Michigan). Unfortunately it's no California or Florida. I have to keep my palms indoors during the Fall/Winter due to cold here in zone 6. 

During Spring/Summer it's nice and warm outside and the palms can thrive.  I'm hesitant to remove it from the soil and adjust it (as you've suggested) because I'm afraid that the Robusta could die. When I first got this Robusta it went through tremendous transportation shock after arriving in the mail from St.Petersburg Florida. I worry about this now if I try to do what you suggest. Do you think if I repot it (like you suggested) it will do this? Or, will it be unfazed?

I will water it sparingly though, I've actually not watered it in a while. It's been a few weeks. I want it to dry out.

If I put it outside in the Spring, will it be able to handle the chance of environment? That'll be a lot of sunshine all at once. I worry about bugs getting into the soil as well. I'll have to bring it back into the house in the following Fall. 

What if I just keep it in the bay window. It's done pretty well so far, I wonder if it could just stay there?

We do have a sunroom I could move it too, it's warm and sunny during the Spring/Summer? It's south/southwest facing. 

Edited by RobustaEnvirons

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RobustaEnvirons

I don't know... :mellow: I'm starting to get confused on what to do with so many different conflicting suggestions. 

I think I'm just gonna put that green gardening tape on it and see how that works.

I agree with Pando though, that it doesn't look too bad, and the big leaf gives the illusion that it's leaning more than it is. 

I'll try the tape and and see if it corrects itself over time. 

Edited by RobustaEnvirons

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Pal Meir

I have grown up a lot of Washies in the past, all in containers, and when still young always in small containers, and I had no loss at all. Here another photo of four Washies in small plastic pots. Small pots allow a regular watering, even during winter. When you got your Washy from e-bay you potted it into a too big pot and gave it too little water, as it looks to me.

565c6a3fac6b3_Washingtonia1982.thumb.jpg

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Pando

I think the plant is quite straight already. I would leave it alone and wait until new leaves open.

lean.jpg.9d3009e149643ea98a2ca7ce1287101

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RobustaEnvirons
31 minutes ago, Pando said:

I think the plant is quite straight already. I would leave it alone and wait until new leaves open.

lean.jpg.9d3009e149643ea98a2ca7ce1287101

Yeah, I suppose I would tend to agree with you. Haha. I'm just going to leave it be and see how it grows. If I tape it, it may send out new leaves that make it look as if its leaning towards the other way! So, I agree with people that it really doesn't look too too bad. And it's young yet so it shouldn't be too too bad in her future hopefully. 

I'll leave the Dowel in there for a little point of reference and in case I ever change my mind. 

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cm05

Mine developed an annoying lean but I corrected it with a rubberized twist tie thing and a rock, essentially the same thing you did with the bungee cord but with less resistance, my palm was much smaller than yours at the time though.

Is it leaning towards the sun by any chance? I can't think of any other reason why it'd be leaning that way, maybe it's the weight of the frond sending it in that direction. I'd just leave it and see if it'll correct itself.

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RobustaEnvirons
10 minutes ago, cm05 said:

Mine developed an annoying lean but I corrected it with a rubberized twist tie thing and a rock, essentially the same thing you did with the bungee cord but with less resistance, my palm was much smaller than yours at the time though.

Is it leaning towards the sun by any chance? I can't think of any other reason why it'd be leaning that way, maybe it's the weight of the frond sending it in that direction. I'd just leave it and see if it'll correct itself.

That's actually what I think it is, the weight of the large frond that's making that lean. Its not leaning because of the light, since the light is the opposite direction from the lean. I never really rotate it. I was trying to see if it would correct itself, growing towards the sun. 

But, I've decided that it's not worth messing with the root system for a lean that small. I don't want to mess with it and have it possibly decline on me. 

So I'm just going to leave it alone. I think once it sends out more fronds it'll be better. I will rotate it 1/4 turn every other day though from now on. 

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