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mxcolin

Issue with Chinese Fan Palm

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mxcolin

I have a Chinese Fan Palm growing in a container and it's starting to go yellow and brown. I live in an area that has hot, very sunny, rainless summers. I'm watering the palm with a drip line every 4 days for 30 minutes and I've fertilized twice in the last few months. New growth is coming and I've removed a few fronds recently that were really brown. The roots aren't water logged, the container has ample drainage and I've tried to test this by putting a wooden stake all the way down to the bottom of the container, it comes back out bone dry. Can I put this down to just hot dry summers and not enough water or do you think there is something else at work here?

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zoli

As a rule of thumb, it is said that on average, your palm should be getting about as much water per week as the size of the container it's in. That looks like about a 5 gallon container to me. So unless your drip system is dishing out at least 5 gallons a week in that one hour that it's running, your palm may well be drying out. Not to mention that container grown plants in general are more prone to drying out than their in-ground counterparts. Then there are potential heat and exposure questions to further complicate things. If that palm is sitting on average 4-6 hours a day in full blazing California sun, then I think it is safe to say that you should be drenching this guy with water at least twice a week.

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GottmitAlex

Looks like sunburn to me. But like Zoli said, it needs more water. I water my south-facing potted palms three times a day. The scorching sun hitting the wall behind and the pavement beneath them cook them. Water evaporates very quickly.

Up the ante on the waterflow in that drip line. 

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mxcolin

Thanks. I’ve adjusted the water flow. The container faces east, maybe a little north east but summer here is constant sunshine. 

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Jim in Los Altos

Livistona chinensis really don't like full sun in hot dry areas. Partial shade or full shade are best. Also, water should be freely running out of the drain holes after watering so as to both thoroughly wet the soil and prevent salt buildup in the soil. 

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mxcolin

I may try to introduce some shade although it only really gets morning and early afternoon sun. Summers here are pretty brutal though so even then I'm guessing it needs some shade.

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Fusca
30 minutes ago, mxcolin said:

I may try to introduce some shade although it only really gets morning and early afternoon sun. Summers here are pretty brutal though so even then I'm guessing it needs some shade.

Colin,

I'm dealing with the same issue with mine and it's in the ground.  My sunburn isn't quite as bad but we've had mostly cloudless skies and 100°+ afternoon temps continuously for weeks.  I'm sure yours will do better soon with more water and less severe sun.  Welcome to PalmTalk!

Jon

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mxcolin
1 hour ago, Fusca said:

Colin,

I'm dealing with the same issue with mine and it's in the ground.  My sunburn isn't quite as bad but we've had mostly cloudless skies and 100°+ afternoon temps continuously for weeks.  I'm sure yours will do better soon with more water and less severe sun.  Welcome to PalmTalk!

Jon

That's my hope, we're heading out of the worst of the summer so more water and less sun will hopefully turn it around. 

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Chris Chance

I have one in the ground here and they definitely get sunburn like that. Good news is it seems to handle it better the older it has gotten. I've seen them trunking in my town and they looked great in full sun but filtered light is probably the best. 

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gtsteve

Yes, what everyone else said, classic textbook sunburn pics.

And one more thing, sometimes although a set amount of water goes through the pot, it may not all go evenly through the soil mix.  A condition called tracking where most of the water goes down a few tracks. This can be prevented or corrected by the application of a surfactant. This ensures that all of the medium is evenly wet and holds enough until next time. If you have not use done yet I would apply it about every 6 months. It is quite cheap at the usual gardening places. 

I use it in all of my pots.

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Chester B

I did the same thing I thought they could handle some sun.  I kept it inside all winter and it looked great even though it was in not the brightest room.  Brought it outside in the spring in a spot that got some sun.  Long story short mine looks far worse than yours.  Lesson learned.

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Patrick

I agree with the sunburn. I have an interesting situation that I've seen here at my place. Let me ask this question: are there any windows nearby?

 

I have a Monstera in my side yard and when the windows shine on the double pane windows of either my or my neighbors house, the double pane windows act like a magnifying glass and burn the leaves. My double pane windows have a slight vacuum on them and that makes the glass concave. Where the sun reflects in the plant it really cooks the leaves. Perhaps this may be a contributing factor for you?

 

Was this in a different location recently and was moved? Just curious, trying to figure out the sunburn. I totally get it, I'm out in Brentwood- like an hour from you.

Edited by Patrick
more information/ questions.

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Fusca

Interesting observation Patrick - in my case this could be a factor.  I have noticed reflection of the sun off of the neighbor's window but never thought about the reflection hitting my plants before.  My L. chinensis and several sunburned Chamaedorea sp. are on the east side of my house so they're only getting direct sun in the morning but if there is reflection off the neighbor's west-facing window it is stronger afternoon sun.  I might recommend solar screens to my neighbor!  :) 

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mxcolin

It hasn't moved in over a year, it's too heavy :-)

However there is some reflection from the opposing windows during the late afternoon. I never thought of that.

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Pal Meir

Water, water, and still more water:

696804681_Livistonachinensis1989-09-07.thumb.jpg.72a4bcaebaa3a7f31899a7fccb50f055.jpg

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Patrick

I'm nervous, my neighbors moved out a few weeks ago and they were chronic overwaterers. My Lvistonas over there surely were enjoying the swampy conditions. I hope the new neighbors continue the trend, but it doesn't look that way :( 14 years and around (guessing) 6' of clear trunk from a 5 gallon- it has really taken off since the trunk developed.

 

As for the sun/ magnifying glass thing, you will know it's happening because if you catch it, it will be a BRIGHT beam of light on the leaves- think of a kid burning up an ant with a magnifying glass. It will be something like that- though not as extreme. A little extra nearby light isn't gonna do it it's gotta be like a vector shining right on the foliage. If you hold your hand under the beam you will feel the heat.

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Patrick
On 9/11/2019 at 1:02 PM, Fusca said:

Interesting observation Patrick - in my case this could be a factor.  I have noticed reflection of the sun off of the neighbor's window but never thought about the reflection hitting my plants before.  My L. chinensis and several sunburned Chamaedorea sp. are on the east side of my house so they're only getting direct sun in the morning but if there is reflection off the neighbor's west-facing window it is stronger afternoon sun.  I might recommend solar screens to my neighbor!  :) 

Since I'm only 10' away from the next house I would LOVE to stretch some sort of shade cloth between the houses, that would provide a great opportunity for some of the more tender, shade loving plants I have...

 

Alas, it will never happen, plus city code enforcement would probably have a fit...

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Fusca

I've kept an eye on this at my place.  Here it's closer to 15' between my neighbor's house and mine.  I've seen the magnifying reflection hit the grass but thankfully not the palms.  Although this might be different in late spring/early summer when the angle of the sun is different.  Shade cloth between the houses would be a good idea, but like you said - not going to happen!

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