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Manalto

Toppled Mule

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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

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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?

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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. 

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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

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RJ

I see a curved trunked mule in your future B)

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GottmitAlex

What an awesome neighbor!

 

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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
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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

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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

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Manalto

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

imagejpeg_1.jpg

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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?

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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.

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Darold Petty

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

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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

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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! 

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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
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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. 

 

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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.

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Jeff985

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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