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Flajko

Washingtonia robusta dying

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Flajko

Hi everybody! I got this palm a year ago and it was doing great in the beginning, but after some time leaves started drying out faster than new ones grew. 

Here is a picture from a year ago:

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And now...

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I had a problem with bugs at one point, so I treated it with neem guard oil which got rid of the bugs.

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Aside from loosing leaves even the new ones look pale compared to normal. I tried adding "phostrogen" to the water a few times but it doesn't appear to help.  Obviously I'm doing something wrong but I can't figure out what.  
I live in Dubai, day temperatures vary from around 20C(68F) during winter to more than 45C(113F) during summer with very high humidity.  There are a lot of these palms growing outside(with artificial irrigation) so I'm guessing temperature is not a problem.
Soil is a mix of regular potting soil and sand it was originally in when i got it. PH is around 6.5-7. I repotted in bigger pot same day i got it. It has good drainage. Pot is about 75L(20gal US). I made drainage holes at the bottom. 
I used to water it every day to once in two days in the beginning(at evening only), but I have reduced to once in a 4-6 days fearing that I'm watering too much.

Any help would be appreciated! 

Thanks!

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Allen

Guess---  Is sun coming thru the glass scorching it?????  Does it have moist soil at all times?  Honestly no idea.  Your area I'm not familiar with palm wise.

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Rickybobby

What is your fertilizer and water schedule like?

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Flajko

Hi,

Thanks for your replies.  I don't think the glass should be a problem as it is tinted, but i can move it to the shade if you think that will help. As for the watering I'm not sure how moist should the soil be. To be honest i was approximating the amount of water and I was watering it every day or two during summer and reduced afterwards to once every 4-6 days. I used 8L(around 2Gal) bucket. Recently I got moisture meter so i now water it when scale is in the middle at around 15cm(6in) from the surface. As for fertilizer I added phostrogen to water a few times over the past couple of months but didn't see any improvement. Do you know what is the correct watering and fertilizer schedule? Also what is the best fertilizer to use amd how often should i use it? 

Thanks!

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Allen

The correct schedule is to take your finger and push down 3-5 centimeters and feel is soil is relatively moist.  if not water.  I don't really like the high sand content in the pot.

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Rickybobby
40 minutes ago, Allen said:

The correct schedule is to take your finger and push down 3-5 centimeters and feel is soil is relatively moist.  if not water.  I don't really like the high sand content in the pot.

I agree even with your sun and temps. You only water when the soil a few inches down becomes dry. I feel like I’ve been here before. A lot of the conditions happen from over watering even in hot conditions. Let the soil dry and like my friend said. Push your finger down until the knuckle and wait it dries more. Also when you water do you remove that saucer or let water sit in it?

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jimmyt

What is temp on that balcony when the ambient air temp is 113 F?  At my house in middle Texas in summer when the temps are in the 100’s, my covered patio concrete temp reaches 140 F. where the sun touches. Those pots sitting in the same spot reach near similar temps and the plants do not like it.  I cannot leave anything but cacti in my sun pit. The sun is probably scorching the leaves and cooking the roots.  The roots want to be in the cool earth. There is ample reflected sunlight even in the shade on your balcony.  That is my minority opinion.

jimmyt

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Flajko
8 hours ago, Allen said:

The correct schedule is to take your finger and push down 3-5 centimeters and feel is soil is relatively moist.  if not water.  I don't really like the high sand content in the pot.

When I got it it was potted in smaller pot with only sand. I repotted the same day by removing as much sand as possible without damaging the roots and and adding soil around in bigger container. I could get it out and wash all the sand than pot again in new soil if you think that will help. 

8 hours ago, Rickybobby said:

I agree even with your sun and temps. You only water when the soil a few inches down becomes dry. I feel like I’ve been here before. A lot of the conditions happen from over watering even in hot conditions. Let the soil dry and like my friend said. Push your finger down until the knuckle and wait it dries more. Also when you water do you remove that saucer or let water sit in it?

How dry should it be at the top? Completely dry or just a little bit moist?  And how much water should i put at that point? I wasn't removing the saucer, should I? If yes can I just remove it completely or make drainage holes on it as the pot is quite heavy? 

6 hours ago, jimmyt said:

What is temp on that balcony when the ambient air temp is 113 F?  At my house in middle Texas in summer when the temps are in the 100’s, my covered patio concrete temp reaches 140 F. where the sun touches. Those pots sitting in the same spot reach near similar temps and the plants do not like it.  I cannot leave anything but cacti in my sun pit. The sun is probably scorching the leaves and cooking the roots.  The roots want to be in the cool earth. There is ample reflected sunlight even in the shade on your balcony.  That is my minority opinion.

jimmyt

Hot enough that I'm considering to quit smoking rather than going out for a cigarette :) The balcony is on north-west side so there is direct sun only between 2pm-6pm during summer. Also I have seen these palms outdoors in open areas, although in much bigger pots.  I hope temperature/sun is not an issue... 

 

Thank you all for your replies, and sorry for my lame questions :) This is my first try to grow a palm and google is not really helpful, too much conflicting info especially on watering. 

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Allen

I looked at your weather and humidity is 20's to mid 30's.  That's pretty low but I don't know what washingtonia's can live with?  What palms are planted in the ground around there?

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Flajko
On 6/6/2019 at 5:27 AM, Allen said:

I looked at your weather and humidity is 20's to mid 30's.  That's pretty low but I don't know what washingtonia's can live with?  What palms are planted in the ground around there?

Those numbers seem wrong. In the past few days it was over 50% and that is still good(low) compared to July and August. 20-30% sounds plausible in December/January.

There are a lot of washingtonias planted just in front of my building(same side as mine and no shade) and they are doing great but they are all in the ground(sand) and have artificial irrigation. 

Over watering is probably the problem. I watered it last time 8 days ago and the soil is still moist about an inch from the surface. So once in 2 days was definitely an overkill. I have also moved it in the shade, drained the saucer. The good thing(i hope) is that there is a new leaf still growing so it is not dead yet. Anyway I will let you know what happened.

Thank you all for help!

p.s. Any suggestions for fertilizing? Type to use and how often

Edited by Flajko
p.s.

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Allen
3 hours ago, Flajko said:

Those numbers seem wrong. In the past few days it was over 50% and that is still good(low) compared to July and August. 20-30% sounds plausible in December/January.

There are a lot of washingtonias planted just in front of my building(same side as mine and no shade) and they are doing great but they are all in the ground(sand) and have artificial irrigation. 

Over watering is probably the problem. I watered it last time 8 days ago and the soil is still moist about an inch from the surface. So once in 2 days was definitely an overkill. I have also moved it in the shade, drained the saucer. The good thing(i hope) is that there is a new leaf still growing so it is not dead yet. Anyway I will let you know what happened.

Thank you all for help!

p.s. Any suggestions for fertilizing? Type to use and how often

In Dubai I don't know what you have access to.  On amazon you can get Palmgain or Osmocote which both are good.  They are slow release it will tell how often on the bag.  Usually every 4-6 weeks on palmgain or 3 months or more on Osmocote when palm is growing well.  I hope your palm recovers well and it is a good sign that you have washingtonia in the ground locally there.   I need to go check out Dubai one day I guess.   Good luck with it.  

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