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Palmela

Dypsis decipiens, Parajubaea difficult transplant.

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Palmela

The post you are about to read might upset you, especially if you only look at the picture and do not read the reasons for such action. I understand I could be criticized for “destroying” these beautiful plants but I believe I had no other choice to save them, believe me I felt so horrible doing it. I could either make up excuse and hide the story to myself or actually share it with everyone to profit the knowledge of palms in cultivation.

Here is what happened at the Botanic Gardens.

A failure in a 20 000V cable that delivers power to a large number of buildings occurred over a week end. The power company obviously didn’t waste time to fix it and dug an open trench in the middle of the night to find the cable… located under the irrigation line. I just let you imagine the clean up after this!

Parajubaea cocoides:

The ground being damaged by the digging I decided to remove a Parajubaea cocoides that is not hardy enough for the Botanic Gardens.

The palm is growing but showing frost damage every year when temperature drop around -2 dgr Celsius, a touch more tender than our native Nikau. The Parajubaea was planted at the lower part of a bank and we couldn’t use our loader to shift it. I had to severely prune the root system with a spade to make the palm light enough so it could be moved (it was still SO HEAVY!). I later cleaned the cuts using secators and also removed a large quantity of fronds to balance the amount of roots vs foliage. The transplantation was done in the growing season(summer), I used cactus free draining potting mix to repot it and a small container compare to the palm’s size to avoid water excess. I gave it some seasol and watered it every 2-3 days for a month. The palm is doing well and has even started growing again. I will relocate it to a better location in the future, probably one of the warmer parks in the city.

 

Dypsis decipiens:

In the same location I have been trying to grow a Dypsis decipiens that was given to us. I find this palm so beautiful and would love the Botanic Gardens to surprise the public with a mature trunking specimen…one day. I’m aware of someone that has been growing one with success for several years in Christchurch. The palm at the Botanic Gardens suddenly started to turn yellow-brown in the summer and from previous failure with Dypsis decipiens I knew I had to act quickly. I was very surprised as the location was warm and free draining(I even added stones for drainage and heat)….maybe too dry though… or maybe the palm got flooded when the company came to fix the electric cable and damaged the irrigation line at night??? I decided to remove the palm in order to save it, the problem is that it came in a large container bag and at the time it was easy to drop it in thinking we wouldn’t have to pick it up later on! To make the transplantation possible in term of weight, I had to reduce the root ball to a smaller volume than the container bag it came in…scary thought but no choice! Guess what we found once the palm was out??? A piece of the old nursery container bag when the palm was smaller and located just under the bulb of the palm…full of smelly water!!!! The bulb appeared to be rotting a bit on the outside layer but still felt firm underneath. I repotted it using an Air-pot, free draining cactus potting mix, gave it some seasol, placed it in our shade house and only water the outside of the root ball(not the crown). 8 weeks later the Dypsis is doing Ok, its not growing but it’s not going back either…just hoping its busy producing new roots.

I believe most palms can be shifted easy as long as you proceed in the growing season(summer) and you make sure you provide better conditions that they were growing in(moisture of soil/air-nutrients-temperature of soil/air).

I hope you appreciate these feedbacks and that it can help others.

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