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Shea

Medfan Palm with one trunk dead fronds. WHY?!

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Shea

So, I’ve had this Mediterranean fan palm for about 15 months now.  As you can see, there are 3 major trunks and 2 smaller trunks at the bottom. All the trunks with the exception of the smallest major trunk have been thriving. This specific trunk still grows new fronds but over the past 9 months, the newest fronds start dying from the tips of the leaves and slowly down towards the crown. They are also droopy.  The older fronds don’t seem to be as effected. I’ve had to prune the completely dead ones.  As you can see in the pics, they start out very green and healthy. So, why just this one trunk and what is causing it? I’m in Dallas TX.

Here are some of the remedies I’ve already tried:

1. Fungicide. - I’ve been spraying a cooper fungicide into and around the crown about every month.

2. Insecticide- Sprayed for bugs with a palm safe treatment.

3. Winterized. This has been happening before winter but, I wrapped the trunk and leaves anyway. Winter wasn’t that bad either here in Dallas. 

4. They get plenty of water, but not over watering.

5. They get palm fertilizer twice a year. 

Seeking advice from you professionals as I’m a newbie to palms. Thanks in advance.  

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Edited by Shea

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aztropic

Are all the trunks coming from 1 plant or were multiple trunks planted together to create the effect? Often,when multiple separate plants are planted next to each other,1 or 2 become dominant and the third struggles.

 

aztropic

Mesa,Arizona

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Shea
1 minute ago, aztropic said:

Are all the trunks coming from 1 plant or were multiple trunks planted together to create the effect? Often,when multiple separate plants are planted next to each other,1 or 2 become dominant and the third struggles.

 

aztropic

Mesa,Arizona

This is one tree, which really has me scratching my head. 

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Shea
1 minute ago, Shea said:

This is one tree, which really has me scratching my head. 

This is the base. 

06B40B40-E09D-413E-ADA6-72A301E9A422.jpeg

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PalmatierMeg

I don't have a definitive answer but among some of my clustering fan palms, i.e., Chamaerops, Serenoa, I have noticed that occasionally smaller, weaker trunks start declining until they die. Even though they are supposedly identical genetically, there still must be competition going on between stems.

But the first thing I noticed when I first saw your photos is that you or someone else really loves to prune the !@$%^ out of the palm's crowns until each stem is left with a tiny topknot of leaves. Aside from the "scalped" effect which I really don't care for,  you have left the poor thing with few resources for photosynthesizing and hacked off critical nutrients it could have withdrawn for future growth. The other possibility is that if you didn't thoroughly disinfect your pruning equipment you may have introduced disease pathogens into the struggling/dying stem, which, of course, is a possible conduit for those pathogens to invade the rest of the palm. My personal experience is that when one stem of a clustering palm - Serenoa, Areca, Pinanga, etc. - dies of disease, the rest often follows suit.

I'm not trying forecast doom or bum you out and I hope your Chamaerops continues to thrive. But now it has those nicely sculptured stems, please consider giving it a reprieve from extreme pruning.

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Shea
25 minutes ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I don't have a definitive answer but among some of my clustering fan palms, i.e., Chamaerops, Serenoa, I have noticed that occasionally smaller, weaker trunks start declining until they die. Even though they are supposedly identical genetically, there still must be competition going on between stems.

But the first thing I noticed when I first saw your photos is that you or someone else really loves to prune the !@$%^ out of the palm's crowns until each stem is left with a tiny topknot of leaves. Aside from the "scalped" effect which I really don't care for,  you have left the poor thing with few resources for photosynthesizing and hacked off critical nutrients it could have withdrawn for future growth. The other possibility is that if you didn't thoroughly disinfect your pruning equipment you may have introduced disease pathogens into the struggling/dying stem, which, of course, is a possible conduit for those pathogens to invade the rest of the palm. My personal experience is that when one stem of a clustering palm - Serenoa, Areca, Pinanga, etc. - dies of disease, the rest often follows suit.

I'm not trying forecast doom or bum you out and I hope your Chamaerops continues to thrive. But now it has those nicely sculptured stems, please consider giving it a reprieve from extreme pruning.

Thank you! The pruning must have been done prior to its move to my backyard. I haven’t pruned any fronds except for the ones that were completely dead on the trunk that I mentioned. I guess they just do that for some reason. 

Should I leave the dead leaves? I know it looks like crap, but I’m more interested in the health of the palm more than anything. 

My pruning shears have only been used on my palms but again, only pruning what was dead. 

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aztropic

Probably was overpruned to help establish.Generally,brown or yellow frond removal won't hurt anything.Also,anything below horizontal,even if green,can be trimmed if you want a high and tight look.Avoid going above a horizontal trim... 

Here's 1 I trimmed about a month ago.It is a male that has since flowered.I will trim off the dead flowers, but nothing more till fall.

 

aztropic

Mesa,Arizona

IMG_20190428_100358158_HDR.jpg

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Merlyn2220

My parents have a relatively newly planted Med. fan palm in their place in Austin.  It was planted in February as a 5G with 4 small trunks starting.  2 out of the 4 now have dead spears, we *think* it is because the palm bounced around in the back of their car on the drive home from the nursery.  Apparently a 7G Pindo rolled over on top of it.  So my guess on theirs is that it had some physical damage to the two trunks that broke or killed off the growing point.  Maybe it'll keep growing, since the spears are still "tight" in the trunk.  It has sprouted 4 or 5 new offsets at the bottom, so it is otherwise fairly happy with it's new location.  So physical damage when planting is a possibility on your palm.

Another, less happy possibility, is that it has an infection of something.  I posted a few pictures of a few Queens at a nearby hotel that were apparently killed by Ganoderma, and there's a now-dead Med. fan palm about 20 feet from the dead Queens.  At the time it looked similar to your stunted trunk, with older fronds and the tip drooping off to one side, and older fronds dying first.  It completely died a week or so ago, and the offset at the bottom is now dead too.  Here's the photos at the bottom of page 1 and top of page 2:

 

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