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Manalto

Am I Out of the (Cycad) Woods Yet?

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Manalto

Last Saturday, I received delivery of three plants: a Cycas debaoensis, C. deb. panz. hybrid, and a Sabal causiarum, all small, all bare root. I planted them immediately and have been keeping them moist but not soaked. They're in dappled shade under a big live oak. When do I know if they're doing okay? Any tips on ensuring their survival?

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Swolte

Great question. I'd be interested to know as well. I only have a growing experience of 2 years with these but here's what I'd tell myself 2 years ago:
- Really protect them from cold when they're young as growth, otherwise, will be slow. Meaning, you'll have some fronds emerging and then have half of them die back the next winter. Repeat. 
- Water and fertilize so they bulk up. Once they obtain a certain mass, they're less fussy (I hardy ever TLC my larger cycads).  

How big are yours? Pic?

Edited by Swolte
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Manalto

IMG_20200621_191356.thumb.jpg.eda912e1339ca3a46173376563dabc1f.jpg

This is the hybrid. The image is hard to read but there is no good angle; the big leaf in the front is upside down and lashed to a stake to keep it off the ground. Awkward.

IMG_20200621_191241.thumb.jpg.9461451a84720b950f137d94b4ea7193.jpg

Here's the debaoensis. The foliage is yellowish but doesn't seem to have declined in the last week, with the exception of the senescent leaf at left.IMG_20200621_191304.thumb.jpg.2b992af77a32a37efc04a052a31c4bc8.jpg

The good news on the deb are these two newly-emerging leaves that have increased in length in the past week.

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Yea they're flushing. 

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Manalto

I guess I'm okay then. I just wanted to be sure that I was doing everything right and not neglecting anything.

What made me particularly nervous was the fate of the small sago I moved to make room for the hybrid. After a week in its new location, the sago had yellow blotches and was covered with white dots - mealybugs? (I disposed of it.)

Rain is predicted in the next few days. I always relax a bit when a new transplant gets the relief of overcast skies and natural watering rather than the stress of full sun and artificial (chlorinated) irrigation.

Edited by Manalto
Correcting autocorrect

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DoomsDave

@Manalto, good to hear from you again!

I'm not the big cycad person, as much as for palms, but I'm getting into them. I've got about 35 in pots.

In general cycads are a lot tougher than palms, though not as fast, at least not at first.

Sometimes they take forever to make apparent recovery from transplanting, etc. I've had a number just sit for a year or more, not doing anything, then boom, they flush leaves.

I'm with @TexasColdHardyPalms, looks like you're in good shape so far.

Do, please, keep us apprised!

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Those are solid plants. I guarantee it.  Theyll look like totally different plants in 2 years. 

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Manalto
3 hours ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

Those are solid plants. I guarantee it.  Theyll look like totally different plants in 2 years. 

Please don't think I'm doubting the quality of the plants - I'm delighted! What I'm doubting is my ability to properly take care of them, given my inexperience. I'm new to palms and cycads, so that's why I came here for advice (and maybe a little reassurance). 

Edited by Manalto

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TexasColdHardyPalms

I looked at the pics again. I'd reccomend burying those caudices some more. Just mound more soil all around. 

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Manalto
2 hours ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

I'd recommend burying those caudices some more. 

I'll do it tomorrow morning first thing. I'm glad I asked; I made the same mistake with my mule palm and it toppled over. Planting too deeply is a common mistake with woody plants, so I guess I tend to err on the side of caution.

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knikfar

I'm glad to see this thread. I planted three Cycas Taitungensis in my yard, here in Raleigh NC Zone 7B, this past spring. Two of them have done absolutely nothing after being in the ground for about three months. Of those two, one only has a single frond that's half brown and half green. The other has two green fronds. A third, planted at the same time but in a sunnier location, had one new flush, only a single leaf, a few weeks ago. But then it just turned brown and dried up. That one still has two green fronds on it. But I'm worrying they won't do anything at all and just die. 

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Manalto
4 hours ago, knikfar said:

I'm worrying they won't do anything at all and just die. 

I'm worrying too, but I suspect it's not going to do either of us any good. I'm putting some confidence in the casual attitude that I detect here and hope that, although slow, they'll eventually come around. 

As if the stress of worrying about my cycads weren't enough, in a few weeks I've got to leave the area and they will be left to their own devices. I'll mulch generously with pine straw and beg the kid who mows my lawn to water if it's dry, and keep my fingers tightly crossed.

 

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TexasColdHardyPalms

You guys worry too much. Cycads outlived dinosaurs so they're pretty resilient.  I've forgot I planted cycads all over the place just to be surprised a year or two later when I see leaves coming out of the ground. 

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Manalto
1 hour ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

You guys worry too much. 

That's exactly what I wanted to hear!

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Manalto

On the other hand, the dinosaurs didn't dig up cycads and mail them hundreds of miles in cardboard boxes to other dinosaurs of varying ability to care for them. 

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knikfar

The one I have that had a new leaf suddenly turn brown, that one is pushing out another new leaf! Woot! 

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Manalto

TWO new leaves on the debaoensis are open! It's looking gigantic! Well, okay, it's filling in.

IMG_20200708_100952.thumb.jpg.504ea7d066a89f8244978d8fdbe0a7e6.jpg

(Those are watermelon at the base. I'm using them as a ground cover to hopefully suppress weeds.)

I read somewhere that debaoensis will abort new leaves if encountered with drought, an evolutionary strategy I imagine. That will not be a problem here. We are into the season where mornings usually start out sunny and thunderstorms roll in in the afternoon. The pattern is pretty reliable, so the new plantings are getting regular, natural water.

Edited by Manalto
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TexasColdHardyPalms

Most cycas will abort the leaves during drought conditions when young

 

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Manalto
6 hours ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

Most cycas will abort the leaves during drought conditions when young

 

It's not an unusual stress response in the plant kingdom (Ficus benjamina, for example, is notorious for this. it will drop its leaves if it doesn't like the way you look at it.) but very good to know when trying to get young cycas established.

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