Jump to content
Manalto

Toppled Mule

Recommended Posts

Manalto

I'm not at the house at the moment but my neighbor sent me this photo of my mule palm that has been in the ground about a year. I guess it had blown over in the wind. He staked it for me.

I noticed, the last time I was there and working in the yard, that it was wobbly. It's in the shade  in the early morning  but  gets full sun for the rest of the day. Are they known for having weak root systems? Any suggestions?

IMG_3685.jpg

Edited by Manalto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

Doing a little poking around I found a question about a tilting cidp. Maybe my mule was also planted a little too high? Should I try mounding soil?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jeff985

I don’t know much about the roots of mules, but queens are known for blowing over in high winds. Since one of the mules parents would be a queen it would make sense that it would have similar roots. I don’t think mounding would help with stability much. Since it’s already knocked over, I’d probably just replant it and go a little deeper if you think it’s too high. Careful out to go too deep though. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DAVEinMB
2 hours ago, Manalto said:

Doing a little poking around I found a question about a tilting cidp. Maybe my mule was also planted a little too high? Should I try mounding soil?

How high above the ground is the base of the trunk? I just planted a 65g in September and im starting to wonder if mine should have been placed deeper. Seems sturdy at the moment tho... I'll post a pic with a tape measure today or tomor

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RJ

I see a curved trunked mule in your future B)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GottmitAlex

What an awesome neighbor!

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

I called Mule Palms of Mississippi, where I bought mine, and the owner (his name escapes me at the moment) said that he's had a couple of mules with the same issue. Cover up exposed roots, of course. Staking was the right thing to do (I agree, Gommit, I hit the lottery with neighbors.) and he attributes last year's warm winter and this year's hot wet summer to a lot of top growth, hence top-heaviness. My takeaway was keep it stable and it will eventually grow out of it. RJ, when it gets a little bit of trunk I will deliberately tip it, if possible, for that wonderful curve.

Edited by Manalto
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DAVEinMB
1 hour ago, DAVEinMB said:

How high above the ground is the base of the trunk? I just planted a 65g in September and im starting to wonder if mine should have been placed deeper. Seems sturdy at the moment tho... I'll post a pic with a tape measure today or tomor

@Manalto sorry this was in reference to your mule

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

Dave, I'm not in Mobile at the moment so I don't know how the base of the trunk looks since it tipped. Originally, I planted it correctly and it's up on a wide plateau of soil (several inches higher than the rest of the lawn) because the grower emphasized mules' requirement for good drainage. The weather this past week has been rainy and windy, probably the best explanation for the current situation.

I look forward to your photo.

Edited by Manalto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

MPoM sent me this photo of a mule planted at the proper depth.

imagejpeg_1.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DAVEinMB
On 11/2/2019 at 7:06 PM, Manalto said:

Dave, I'm not in Mobile at the moment so I don't know how the base of the trunk looks since it tipped. Originally, I planted it correctly and it's up on a wide plateau of soil (several inches higher than the rest of the lawn) because the grower emphasized mules' requirement for good drainage. The weather this past week has been rainy and windy, probably the best explanation for the current situation.

I look forward to your photo.

James, here are the photos of my planting. Based on what I've seen on here recently I think im going to add a landscaping barrier around it and build the soil up some. There's a good bit of the root ball in the ground and it does feel sturdy but I'd rather take a proactive approach just in case. After a year in the ground you would think that the yours was rooted enough to withstand some inclement weather. Maybe enough rain to wash away some of the roots "structural" soil?

20191103_163548.jpg

20191103_163602.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

It was unstable when I weeded around it and refreshed the pine straw mulch in August. Because it's protected by two buildings, I wasn't too worried about its stability. I guess I should have been and staked it then. Live and learn.

Your mule looks great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darold Petty

DAVEinMB, I believe that your palm is way too high,  do you have poor drainage?  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DAVEinMB
2 hours ago, Manalto said:

It was unstable when I weeded around it and refreshed the pine straw mulch in August. Because it's protected by two buildings, I wasn't too worried about its stability. I guess I should have been and staked it then. Live and learn.

Your mule looks great.

Well an easy fix at least considering its size. 

Thanks, I stumbled upon it September hidden in the back of a nursery's lot. Def made for a nice Saturday haha

2 hours ago, Darold Petty said:

DAVEinMB, I believe that your palm is way too high,  do you have poor drainage?  :)

I agree. I don't suspect drainage to be an issue where this palm is planted but I wanted to position it slightly elevated just in case. Unfortunately slightly ended up being way too much haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Swolte

Thanks for sharing the post! My first impulse was it being too top heavy (grown too fast for its own good). When you mentioned that it had been raining a lot, a "perfect storm" was created with some wind! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

Plus, according to the grower, the fact that some mules may be prone to weak root systems in youth. (It was wobbly when I last saw it in August.) The grower also encouraged me to plant it on a slightly raised mound, presumably because of Mobile's high rainfall, around 70 inches per year.

Other than nutritional needs, I must confess to not giving a whole lot of thought to the underground parts of plants! This experience has changed my focus a little although I still take more pleasure in the parts above ground.

Edited by Manalto
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DAVEinMB

Well I had some free time yesterday so I decided to be proactive about my less than ideal planting.  I built the ground up around the base of the mule and incorporated some landscaping. The color contrast makes the tree stand out and I have some additional planting area come springtime. 

 

20191130_153514.jpg

20191130_154219.jpg

20191130_161300.jpg

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

Looks great, Dave. I'm going to stay tuned on your progress with this palm because I need ideas for underplantings for a couple of palms that I have, a big sabal and my mule. I'd like to find something with very small leaves so the contrast with the palm fronds will be more dramatic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jeff985

Well done. I used those same blocks at my house. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DAVEinMB
On 12/1/2019 at 5:54 PM, Manalto said:

Looks great, Dave. I'm going to stay tuned on your progress with this palm because I need ideas for underplantings for a couple of palms that I have, a big sabal and my mule. I'd like to find something with very small leaves so the contrast with the palm fronds will be more dramatic.

Thanks James. I have a few ideas for underplantings but I'm in the same boat. Would like to compliment the mule without taking too much away from it. I have some yucca, fatsia, and different grasses at the base of a 16' sabal; I'll get a pic for you, it may help the creative juices :D

 

On 12/1/2019 at 6:53 PM, Jeff985 said:

Well done. I used those same blocks at my house. 

Thanks Jeff, I love the color of them and their workability is awesome. You can make any curve you need just as easy as a straight run. Spring plans are to do the same thing around the other 2 mules. Im gonna have bricks everywhere haha

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto
4 hours ago, DAVEinMB said:

Thanks James. I have a few ideas for underplantings but I'm in the same boat. Would like to complement the mule without taking too much away from it.

 

 

That's why I was thinking small foliage, like boxwood or some species of ilex (yaupon, for example). I'm doing a broad sweep  of a planting about 30 ft long that includes my sabal. A friend who has a good eye recommended good ol' azaleas. If I can keep them low, say under 4ft, then they might be nice with the burst of spring bloom.

Edited by Manalto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chester B

I think anything that has contrast in either leaf shape or color always looks good.  I know they may be a little invasive in the south but some of the Nandinas like "firepower" and "burgundy wine" make a nice contrast.

Evergreen ferns also look good with palms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

My spot is full sun so ferns are out. Nandina is not a good idea in my neck of the woods, it's just too aggressive (and tall). So far, I haven't found anything preferable to dwarf yaupon.

Edited by Manalto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chester B
1 hour ago, Manalto said:

My spot is full sun so ferns are out. Nandina is not a good idea in my neck of the woods, it's just too aggressive (and tall). So far, I haven't found anything preferable to dwarf yaupon.

Figured as much.  West coast vs east coast have different plants even in the same growing zone.  I also like different Mexican orange (choisiya) and Euphorbia martinii varieties like "tassie tiger" or "red robin".  Not sure if they work in your neck of the woods.  Another popular architectural Euphorbia around here is E. rigida.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

I've spent quite a bit of time and did quite a bit of gardening in Portland / Seattle / Bellingham (which I love) but the hot and steamy Gulf Coast with its annual rainfall close to 70" is a vastly different climate despite its similar Zone 8 designation. It will be interesting to experiment with some species from the Northwest north west palette and see how they do here because, as you suggest, there is indeed some overlap.

Edited by Manalto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JLM

I have a 12' queen palm here in Pensacola, what i did was i took 3 metal stakes from a beach tent and some shoe strings and made a support system. Tied the strings about 6-12 inches from the ground and drove the stakes into the ground. This has worked well so far, with the weight of 2 sheets, christmas lights, and 25mph winds yesterday, it did pretty good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JLM

Also considering it was planted back in September and is not settled in yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

I've stacked concrete blocks around the trunk of my mule until I get the time to properly support it. My local palm nursery suggested the same system they use on newly installed sabal palms, shrunken down, in other words, a teepee of three leaning two-by-fours and a band around the trunk.

I know, when staking a woody plant, you need to allow some sway in order to establish a sound, supportive root system - and then it's advisable to remove the supports as soon as possible. Do palms respond the same way or will they grow out of this wobbly state whether they have rigid support or not?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

The palm is staked in a primitive but adequate way. It came through a heavy storm unfazed so I guess it's okay until I return in May. I'm thrilled by its growth; when I brought it home one year ago, the largest frond was the chopped off yellowish one you see in the lower left of the photo. Now it's almost eight feet tall. I'm hoping it will grow out of its wobbly phase!

20200106_170100-1.jpg

Edited by Manalto
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto

Even though this thread is about a mule palm (or mule palms) we did talk about under plantings so I thought I'd include what I did with my sabal. It's a boxwood variety called 'Wintergreen.'

 

20191220_094034-1.jpg

It looks a little dorky now, but this variety is supposed to grow 4 ft tall and 5 ft wide (they're about 18 in tall now) so eventually they will grow into each other in a billowy undulating mass. That's the plan anyway...

 

Edited by Manalto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dartolution

@Manalto I bit the bullet and decided to buy a mule from MPOM that shipped out today. I am in 8a so, we shall see how it does. 

Also, BEWARE those boxwoods are going to get huge! haha They made a good hedge for sure! You can also trim/train them to look like a bonsai tree. Pretty neat. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto
5 hours ago, Dartolution said:

 

Also, BEWARE those boxwoods are going to get huge! haha 

'Wintergreen' (Buxus sinica var. 'Insularis') gets huge? I chose it because the literature and the grower both said it doesn't. Maybe you're joking because you said "haha"? I'm confused.

Good luck with your mule. MPoM seems to have a good strain. (except for that root thing)

Edited by Manalto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chester B

Manalto what size was the palm when you planted it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Patrick

Nice Mule!

 

I bet it will throw out some good roots and strengthen up once the warmer weather hits. The soil probably needs to compact a little bit as well. It will do that on its own. No help needed.

Edited by Patrick
Added information

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto
6 hours ago, Chester B said:

Manalto what size was the palm when you planted it?

It fit on the floor of my truck, with the tallest fronds brushing the headliner, so about 3-4'. Mr. Gautier (MPoM) told me it was eager to get out of the pot (not, apparently, to produce roots - grrr...) and growth would take off. He wasn't kidding!

 

6 hours ago, Patrick said:

Nice Mule!

 

I bet it will throw out some good roots and strengthen up once the warmer weather hits. The soil probably needs to compact a little bit as well. It will do that on its own. No help needed.

Thanks for the words of encouragement. Also, maybe now that it won't whip around in the wind, existing roots will have more stability and a chance to get established. It's really robust above ground. If you read MPoM's website, he's proud of the hardiness of the pollen donor (silver) queen; anecdotal reports have seen it tolerate 15F, and butia shouldn't be an issue here in 8B. It seems logical that the cold hardiness of the parent plants would determine the cold hardiness of the offspring, but I don't know how that relationship works. I sure looks like a good example of hybrid vigor. I think, even as a youngster, it's gorgeous with those big, soft fronds; I planted it where it will be a focal point from inside the house.

Edited by Manalto
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dartolution
17 hours ago, Manalto said:

'Wintergreen' (Buxus sinica var. 'Insularis') gets huge? I chose it because the literature and the grower both said it doesn't. Maybe you're joking because you said "haha"? I'm confused.

Good luck with your mule. MPoM seems to have a good strain. (except for that root thing)

@Manalto No definitely not joking. If boxwoods are left to their own devices they will get massive. If you keep it trimmed it should be fine though. 

Surprisingly the root systems aren't too difficult to dig up. 

I dug up over a dozen of them last spring. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Manalto
25 minutes ago, Dartolution said:

If boxwoods are left to their own devices they will get massive.

 

There are seventy species of Buxus with countless cultivars. They're not all the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DoomsDave

@Manalto

Good to hear from you! (Hain't heard from you in a month of Sundays . . . . )

As others have indicated, I think your mule is planted too high. Queens sometimes do the same thing, as do Buteas. They kinda balance like ballerina hippos, then sometimes fall over.

If you can, mound the dirt around the base of the trunk, so it looks like the trunk is coming straight out of the ground. You can get a set of those scalloped rings and pile dirt in those. And, compact the dirt.

If you have to, wait till spring (March, April) then replant deeper.

Unless you get psycho, I wouldn't worry about planting too deep, especially if you have well-drained soil. An, inch, two, or even three too deep on a palm that size won't hurt anything. If you're a helicopter palm daddy, don't be afraid to stake it, either, won't hurt anything, though I hardly ever do, unless it's windy in that spot.

And, offer your wonderful neighbor a nice cup of their favorite fertilizer . . . . . :)

AND! Let us know what happens.

PS looks like you already followed the advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DoomsDave
On 1/6/2020 at 6:13 PM, Dartolution said:

@Manalto I bit the bullet and decided to buy a mule from MPOM that shipped out today. I am in 8a so, we shall see how it does. 

Also, BEWARE those boxwoods are going to get huge! haha They made a good hedge for sure! You can also trim/train them to look like a bonsai tree. Pretty neat. 

Let us know how your mule grows. And see my PM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Patrick

I had either a Guadalupe or Chinese fan palm fall over in the winter one year- it was small too. I forget which one, it was too long ago. I staked it up as soon as I found it, gave it a little more dirt around the base (not much, just enough to fill in what was displaced) and it grew out of it just fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • PalmatierMeg
      By PalmatierMeg
      For sale is the total 2019 crop from my Sabal bermudana: 60+ seeds. I grew my mother palm from seeds I received from a resident of Bermuda in 2008. This rare, very slow growing native of Bermuda is endangered on that tiny island by development. It is shorter - up to 20' tall -  and stockier than S. palmetto but just as cold hardy. It prefers sun and heat but unlike most Sabals, can prosper in areas with cooler summers, i.e., CA, PNW. 
      Sabal bermudana: 60+ seeds @ $15.00 for the lot. One Lot Only
      Shipping: $5.00 in padded envelope. No shipping outside the US. No shipping to HI
      Total = $20.00
      Payment via Paypal. PM me if you are interested
      Photos

      Mother palm

    • PalmTreeDude
      By PalmTreeDude
      My Needle Palm went from smaller fronds to big fronds over the summer, look at the size of them, and they'll get much bigger! I had to hold the camera way up to get the whole frond in the picture! 

    • cm05
      By cm05
      New York City is a high end zone 7b, cold hardy palms are very rare, but they’re there if you know where to look. Tropical palms, however, are all over the place during the warmer months.
      Sabal minor growing out in the open in Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan:


      It’s flowering, hopefully it seeds so I can grab them all lol, anyone want a Manhattan Minor?

    • RJ
      By RJ
      So I don't tend to post many picks of hybrids I've purchased from Patric until I get a chance to get an idea of what they will look like. I've always really liked the Yatay mule that @_Keith has that is a showstopper. So I did purchase a few from Patric last year and they are now starting to go pinate.  However in talking with Patric he peaked my interest when he mentioned he had a Yatay X (Mule). Now from my understanding Mules tend to have sterile pollen so it's pretty interesting that patric has pulled this cross off. After a few questions directed at patric and a little digging the mule pollen came from one of two palms that @Gtlevine has in his amazing garden. These mules are the offspring of a huge mule that was created by the late Dr. Wilcox and was sent to HBG in Ca. This mule for some reason has viable seeds, or at least some are. Garry germinated two of them and has them growing in his garden- one of them is the daddy to this hybrid.  (Hopefully I have this linage correct)
       
      So I purchased this palm last year from Patric as a 5g plant. As is par for the course, it arrived in excellent shape and I received it in the end of July 2018. I potted it up into a 15g and it has never looked back since. I have not tested this palm in the cold but I would venture to guess given the genetics that this palm is at least a tad but more cold hardy then a traditional mule which tend to be reliable to the mid to upper teens depending on the genetics of specific plant. Given that this palm should be a tad more hardy. It's not as soft as a mule but not nearly as rigid as a typical butia. My hunch is this might be a great alternative to those who can't quite pull off a mule reliably.  I have this plant in 80% sun.  
       
      Here it is Last July 25th 2018 in a 5g:
       
       
       


       
      October 25th  2018

       
      August 20th 2019

×