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Fertilizing palms in winter 9B/10A

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TampaPalms

Today I went ahead and added some Epsom salt to my arecas and foxtail palm. I was at thinking of adding a light light palm fertilizer to them especially the arecas to keep them nice and green as we just had a cold snap. I am in zone 9B in Tampa. Anyone in 9B or 10A have luck fertilizing palms in the winter? I'm afraid if I do so we will have another borderline freeze the new growth will be more susceptible to be killed.

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NickJames
38 minutes ago, TampaPalms said:

Today I went ahead and added some Epsom salt to my arecas and foxtail palm. I was at thinking of adding a light light palm fertilizer to them especially the arecas to keep them nice and green as we just had a cold snap. I am in zone 9B in Tampa. Anyone in 9B or 10A have luck fertilizing palms in the winter? I'm afraid if I do so we will have another borderline freeze the new growth will be more susceptible to be killed.

I’ve seen mixed viewpoints on this. 
 

I did use Lutz potassium spikes on my d. Decaryi today. 

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Bazza

I mentioned in another thread my routine using liquid fertilizer once a week. Miracle-Grow hose end feeder with Liqua-Feed. It's a 12-4-8 and provides a nice boost of readily available nutrients so crucial to a palm's health - or any plant really. Especially if you have any "weak" or struggling specimens....this is the way to go to nurse them back to health. Use the "stream" nozzle setting and soak the rootball and then spray it all over the foliage where possible.

Of course if the palm/plant has some kind of cultural issue or pest problem, this won't resolve that. But as far as fertilizing goes...very simple to apply and the palms/plants love it! 

I typically only use it for my potted material but sometimes on planted too if I'm trying to give them a boost.

I also use a slow release granular complete ornamental fertilizer. Whatever I have on hand. I buy bags of this from local nurseries and also the local (Daytona) Site One (13-3-13,12-2-14, etc.).  Last time I bought a 100% slow release triple 14. I also use Milorganite. Using a dry granular is crucial and then the liquid supplement as described above.

I definitely don't hold back. Not here where I am anyway.....

 

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Mr. Coconut Palm
2 hours ago, TampaPalms said:

Today I went ahead and added some Epsom salt to my arecas and foxtail palm. I was at thinking of adding a light light palm fertilizer to them especially the arecas to keep them nice and green as we just had a cold snap. I am in zone 9B in Tampa. Anyone in 9B or 10A have luck fertilizing palms in the winter? I'm afraid if I do so we will have another borderline freeze the new growth will be more susceptible to be killed.

Joey,

Welcome to the forum.  I have upped my fertilization from twice per year, Spring and Fall, to 4 times per year (mid February, mid May, mid August, and mid November) and this includes on my 3 in ground Coconut Palms, which are considered marginal here.  The November fertilization and February one seem to help strengthen them up to make it through the winter and to come out of any winter injury more quickly.  My biggest Coconut Palm is about 16ft. tall in overall height, and just started flowering this year, and has 8 baby coconuts on it now.  I have a total of 25 species of palms planted in my yard here, including a Florida Royal Palm, Puerto Rican Royal, Foxtail, and Bottle Palm.  I only use ALL ORGANIC fertilizer, and when you go ALL ORGANIC, you can actually strengthen up your tropical trees and plants by as much as 2F to 4F depending on the species, so for those of us growing cold sensitive tropicals in marginal climates, that can make a world of difference.  I use MicroLife Ultimate 8-4-6 All Organic Biological Fertilizer with over 70 minerals and micronutrients as a slow release granular fertilizer around the root zone, and I use MicroLife Ocean Harvest 4-2-3 as a foliar spray at the rate of 2 ounces per gallon of water to spray the crowns with a few times thoughout the winter.  This seems to really help them too, and helps to keep them from succumbing to Potassium deficiency, which Coconut Palms and some other cold sensitive tropicals like Bottle Palms can suffer from in marginal climates, where they have a hard time taking up Potassium from the soil in the wintertime.

John

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Steve in Florida

Adding Epsom Salt (magnesium) by itself during the winter will encourage potassium deficiency, especially after cold spells.

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BayAndroid

9b in the Bay Area CA? 

Anyone got an opinion on this area? We typically don't warm up as much in the day time here in the winter. 50s and 60s are the typical highs. My palms are getting some slight yellowing, not bad, but if they would benefit from some fertilizer, I'd like to hear some people's experiences. 

 

 

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Silas_Sancona
1 hour ago, BayAndroid said:

9b in the Bay Area CA? 

Anyone got an opinion on this area? We typically don't warm up as much in the day time here in the winter. 50s and 60s are the typical highs. My palms are getting some slight yellowing, not bad, but if they would benefit from some fertilizer, I'd like to hear some people's experiences. 

 

 

@Jim in Los Altos  @Darold Petty and @Ben in Norcal  should have sound advise for fertilizing this time of year out there.

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pj_orlando_z9b

I'm in Orlando and fertilize every 3 months. Jan, April, Jul, and Oct. Did it for 6 years now. Never had a problem. 

20201214_171516.jpg

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Eric in Orlando

I've fertilized in winter and never had a problem. Early Dec. is a good time to fertilize with a good blend. That way the palms have had a good feeding and are stronger and have more reserves by the time late Dec. comes around and we get our first chances for freezes. I even do it with plants other than palms. I have never had it encourage tender new growth, only prolonged warm spells have caused growth flushes.

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sonoranfans

I never use epsom salt as it can cause a Mg/K imbalance as Steve stated above, and that wil lead to potassium deficiency.    Most palms will not benefit from fertilization below 60F soil temperature since the soil microbes that assist takeup are not active.  One exception I have seen in my butia x jubaea hybrid, it actually seems to grow better in cool weather.  As far as the acrecas(dypsis lutecens) the only way to keep them darker green here is to put them under canopy.  Sun tends to make them pale and so does the cold each year.  Mine stay green under the other palms and oaks.  They also get better trunk color(yellows whites and blues) in part shade here in forida, and this is also true of dypsis pembana.

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TampaPalms
14 minutes ago, sonoranfans said:

I never use epsom salt as it can cause a Mg/K imbalance as Steve stated above, and that wil lead to potassium deficiency.    Most palms will not benefit from fertilization below 60F soil temperature since the soil microbes that assist takeup are not active.  One exception I have seen in my butia x jubaea hybrid, it actually seems to grow better in cool weather.  As far as the acrecas(dypsis lutecens) the only way to keep them darker green here is to put them under canopy.  Sun tends to make them pale and so does the cold each year.  Mine stay green under the other palms and oaks.  They also get better trunk color(yellows whites and blues) in part shade here in forida, and this is also true of dypsis pembana.

Yikes! I ready put down epsom salt yesterday, but on the low side. I put it a little heavier on my foxtail as it was starting to yellow a bit and only but low amounts around my arecas and queens. I usually only do magnesium epsom salt once or twice a year and this is the first time I've done it in the winter. Do you think I'll run into any issues? Current soil temperature is 55° but that is way below normal and I'm sure by the end of the week it will be above 60 as temperatures near 80.

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Bazza
19 minutes ago, TampaPalms said:

Yikes! I ready put down epsom salt yesterday, but on the low side. I put it a little heavier on my foxtail as it was starting to yellow a bit and only but low amounts around my arecas. I usually only do magnesium epsom salt once or twice a year and this is the first time I've done it in the winter. Do you think I'll run into any issues? Current soil temperature is 55° but that is way below normal and I'm sure by the end of the week it will be above 60 as temperatures near 80.

I wouldn't worry about it.  Probably be beneficial more than anything else.

That said, here's my take....generally speaking on the use of supplemental nutrients....

I have on hand Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts), manganese sulfate, and iron sulfate. But I only use them when I see a deficiency - never as a preventative. Reactive over proactive, in other words.

Also.....you may want to look into K-Mag aka sulfate of potash magnesia which is 0-0-22 in analysis. It contains 22% Sulfur, 22% Potash, and 11% Magnesium. Just about every nursery carries it - especially those growing palms. That's where I bought my last bag, but regular fertilizer companies and suppliers also sell it.

Use it to address deficiencies just as you would Magnesium sulfate except now you are also providing the potash and sulfur with it. Always use it in conjunction with a complete fertilizer, such as 17-5-11, 12-2-14, or any other than contains N-P-K.

Technically a soil sample diagnosis always helps but in general you can also just apply some general nutritional basics, as well.

HTH and good luck (to all of us)! ;)

 

 

 

 

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Bazza
8 hours ago, pj_orlando_z9b said:

I'm in Orlando and fertilize every 3 months. Jan, April, Jul, and Oct. Did it for 6 years now. Never had a problem. 

20201214_171516.jpg

 

Laurel and Hardy! :D

Seriously.....gorgeous Coconut! My fav. palm. :P

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Ben in Norcal
10 hours ago, BayAndroid said:

9b in the Bay Area CA? 

Anyone got an opinion on this area? We typically don't warm up as much in the day time here in the winter. 50s and 60s are the typical highs. My palms are getting some slight yellowing, not bad, but if they would benefit from some fertilizer, I'd like to hear some people's experiences. 

 

 

It's too cool for palms to take up fert now anyway - you'd just be wasting it.  Yellowing is quite normal, esp. in some genus (such as Syagrus). 

I wouldn't put anything down until mid-February earliest.

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sonoranfans

 

3 hours ago, TampaPalms said:

Yikes! I ready put down epsom salt yesterday, but on the low side. I put it a little heavier on my foxtail as it was starting to yellow a bit and only but low amounts around my arecas and queens. I usually only do magnesium epsom salt once or twice a year and this is the first time I've done it in the winter. Do you think I'll run into any issues? Current soil temperature is 55° but that is way below normal and I'm sure by the end of the week it will be above 60 as temperatures near 80.

IF you live in florida and have high drainage soil you are most susceptible to potassium deficiency.  It occurs fom the tips down and its presented as speckled yellowing at first.  This link tells you how to determine your deficiencies s well as how advanced they are, Mg deficiency is not speckled in the yellowing https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep269

If you have these syptoms it was a mistake to add epsom salts as there is a best potassium/magnesium ratio for your palm.  Because potassium is more water soluble than magnesium it rinses away a lot faster with rain/irrigation in our sandy soils.  IF you already had potassium deficincy and added epsom salt the bioavailiability of K is decreased as this is what happens with the ratio change towards higher Mg.  So epsom salts are fine in clay soil as K don't rinse out so quickly relative to Mg.  Speckled yellowing from leaptip down towards rachis(stem) is definitive for K deficiency.  IF you had this and added Mg I'd get some sulpomag which has the correct ratio.  Ca also in excess causes Mg deficiency and this generally occurs in clay soils where the epsom salt -in moderation- will push the ratio towards the best availability.    The problem with adding these separately is you cannot tell without a soil test what your ratios are after rain and irrigation as they rinse at differrent rates.  I still do get some potassium deficiency on the oldest leaves coming out of winter especially on some palms, but come summer time the sulpomag pretty much eliminates it.  Palms that are least susceptible to potassium deficiency in my yard are bismarckia, borassus Aethiopum, Roystonea Regia, satakentia luikensis, dypsis pembana, and beccariophoenix alfredii.  Palms that do show it: the worst is copernicia baileyana, followed by kentiopsis Oliviformis, dypsis leptcheilos, Copernicia fallaense, Sabal uresana but these are mainly on the lowest leaves.  Once a laf is deficient in K it will not re green no matter what you do.  Any potassium added will only prevent the spotty speceling of yellow on newer leaves.  If you do have sandy soil, mulching is necessary every year to ensure retention of minerals in a way that makes it easier to control in your soil.  I have used controlled release florikan palm fertilizer 8-2-12 with the proper ratios as its release is controlled, not the same as "slow".  Mulching sandy soil makes your soil contain minerals more consistently with added cation exchange, something  that can make a big difference in how happy your palms are.  

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NickJames
1 hour ago, sonoranfans said:

 

IF you live in florida and have high drainage soil you are most susceptible to potassium deficiency.  It occurs fom the tips down and its presented as speckled yellowing at first.  This link tells you how to determine your deficiencies s well as how advanced they are, Mg deficiency is not speckled in the yellowing https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep269

If you have these syptoms it was a mistake to add epsom salts as there is a best potassium/magnesium ratio for your palm.  Because potassium is more water soluble than magnesium it rinses away a lot faster with rain/irrigation in our sandy soils.  IF you already had potassium deficincy and added epsom salt the bioavailiability of K is decreased as this is what happens with the ratio change towards higher Mg.  So epsom salts are fine in clay soil as K don't rinse out so quickly relative to Mg.  Speckled yellowing from leaptip down towards rachis(stem) is definitive for K deficiency.  IF you had this and added Mg I'd get some sulpomag which has the correct ratio.  Ca also in excess causes Mg deficiency and this generally occurs in clay soils where the epsom salt -in moderation- will push the ratio towards the best availability.    The problem with adding these separately is you cannot tell without a soil test what your ratios are after rain and irrigation as they rinse at differrent rates.  I still do get some potassium deficiency on the oldest leaves coming out of winter especially on some palms, but come summer time the sulpomag pretty much eliminates it.  Palms that are least susceptible to potassium deficiency in my yard are bismarckia, borassus Aethiopum, Roystonea Regia, satakentia luikensis, dypsis pembana, and beccariophoenix alfredii.  Palms that do show it: the worst is copernicia baileyana, followed by kentiopsis Oliviformis, dypsis leptcheilos, Copernicia fallaense, Sabal uresana but these are mainly on the lowest leaves.  Once a laf is deficient in K it will not re green no matter what you do.  Any potassium added will only prevent the spotty speceling of yellow on newer leaves.  If you do have sandy soil, mulching is necessary every year to ensure retention of minerals in a way that makes it easier to control in your soil.  I have used controlled release florikan palm fertilizer 8-2-12 with the proper ratios as its release is controlled, not the same as "slow".  Mulching sandy soil makes your soil contain minerals more consistently with added cation exchange, something  that can make a big difference in how happy your palms are.  

Do you have a link to the Florikan you use?

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Patrick
14 hours ago, BayAndroid said:

9b in the Bay Area CA? 

Anyone got an opinion on this area? We typically don't warm up as much in the day time here in the winter. 50s and 60s are the typical highs. My palms are getting some slight yellowing, not bad, but if they would benefit from some fertilizer, I'd like to hear some people's experiences. 

 

 

I'm out in Oakley. Yellowing is pretty common- especially in queens. I've always avoided fertilizing in the winter since the soil is so cold. The palms won't uptake any of the nutrients and the rains will just wash it away. I'll usually throw out fertilizer in mid-late March. Speaking of- I need to go over to the Simplot website and see where I can buy my "palm plus". I'm just about out.

 

Is the yellowing in the lower leaves or just in general? Different yellow means different things...

 

The Sul-Po-mag made by Biotech I've been buying off of Amazon is pretty good for the deficiencies, as opposed to just epsom salts. I can't find the stuff at any of my local nurseries anymore so I'm stuck going that route.

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TampaPalms
3 hours ago, sonoranfans said:

 

IF you live in florida and have high drainage soil you are most susceptible to potassium deficiency.  It occurs fom the tips down and its presented as speckled yellowing at first.  This link tells you how to determine your deficiencies s well as how advanced they are, Mg deficiency is not speckled in the yellowing https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep269

If you have these syptoms it was a mistake to add epsom salts as there is a best potassium/magnesium ratio for your palm.  Because potassium is more water soluble than magnesium it rinses away a lot faster with rain/irrigation in our sandy soils.  IF you already had potassium deficincy and added epsom salt the bioavailiability of K is decreased as this is what happens with the ratio change towards higher Mg.  So epsom salts are fine in clay soil as K don't rinse out so quickly relative to Mg.  Speckled yellowing from leaptip down towards rachis(stem) is definitive for K deficiency.  IF you had this and added Mg I'd get some sulpomag which has the correct ratio.  Ca also in excess causes Mg deficiency and this generally occurs in clay soils where the epsom salt -in moderation- will push the ratio towards the best availability.    The problem with adding these separately is you cannot tell without a soil test what your ratios are after rain and irrigation as they rinse at differrent rates.  I still do get some potassium deficiency on the oldest leaves coming out of winter especially on some palms, but come summer time the sulpomag pretty much eliminates it.  Palms that are least susceptible to potassium deficiency in my yard are bismarckia, borassus Aethiopum, Roystonea Regia, satakentia luikensis, dypsis pembana, and beccariophoenix alfredii.  Palms that do show it: the worst is copernicia baileyana, followed by kentiopsis Oliviformis, dypsis leptcheilos, Copernicia fallaense, Sabal uresana but these are mainly on the lowest leaves.  Once a laf is deficient in K it will not re green no matter what you do.  Any potassium added will only prevent the spotty speceling of yellow on newer leaves.  If you do have sandy soil, mulching is necessary every year to ensure retention of minerals in a way that makes it easier to control in your soil.  I have used controlled release florikan palm fertilizer 8-2-12 with the proper ratios as its release is controlled, not the same as "slow".  Mulching sandy soil makes your soil contain minerals more consistently with added cation exchange, something  that can make a big difference in how happy your palms are.  

Thank you for that thorough reply. I wish I would have asked first for advice before applying the magnesium sulfate. I know my arecas will be fine as they're not really showing any deficiency besides the normal yellowing in full sun. The one I was concerned about was my foxtail I planted eight months ago, it is showing the speckled translucent spots on the older fronds. Some of the newer growth is a little more yellow than the older fronds as well. In the spring I always apply the sunniland palm fertilizer. Do you think I should add the sulpomag or a potash only fertilizer now or wait until March? 

20201229_155652.jpg

20201229_094905.jpg

20201229_160939.jpg

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Jim in Los Altos
16 hours ago, BayAndroid said:

9b in the Bay Area CA? 

Anyone got an opinion on this area? We typically don't warm up as much in the day time here in the winter. 50s and 60s are the typical highs. My palms are getting some slight yellowing, not bad, but if they would benefit from some fertilizer, I'd like to hear some people's experiences. 

 

 

I’m with Ben on this. With cool soil temperatures, fertilizer is unlikely to be taken up by your palms in any appreciable amount. I always feed heavily in late October or very early November so the palms are really healthy going into winter. Then I resume feeding in early April and again in July. My souls are heavily mulched and very fertile anyway so winter is pretty easy on the palms. I have no yellowing at all on any of my hundreds of palms but our lowest temperature thus far is 40°F and there’s been much more sunny weather up to now than usual which makes a huge difference with the more tropical palms and plants in the garden. My plumeria are still green and leafy and showing no signs of going dormant yet for instance. 

Sometimes, in the winter, I’ll spread something organic like blood meal lightly throughout the landscape. It’s slow to release nitrogen and, as a plus, rids the yard of moles and rats. 

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sonoranfans
1 hour ago, TampaPalms said:

Thank you for that thorough reply. I wish I would have asked first for advice before applying the magnesium sulfate. I know my arecas will be fine as they're not really showing any deficiency besides the normal yellowing in full sun. The one I was concerned about was my foxtail I planted eight months ago, it is showing the speckled translucent spots on the older fronds. Some of the newer growth is a little more yellow than the older fronds as well. In the spring I always apply the sunniland palm fertilizer. Do you think I should add the sulpomag or a potash only fertilizer now or wait until March? 

20201229_155652.jpg

20201229_094905.jpg

20201229_160939.jpg

If that foxtail is in construction clay, used to support the house slab in florida sandy soil areas. that is very likely the problem.  Foxtails in my neighborhood up agains the house look like crap and its because they want better drainage than construction clay.  I had a few in that dirt when I bought the house and they were badly stressed and deficient so I ripped them out.  If I ever plant another, it will be AWAY fromt he house.  They do do well here away from the house but the landscapers use them interchangably with royals who do pretty well in nearly conitinuously wet in clay.  It rains a lot and the heavy soil they use just wont dry out.  Your foxtail doesnt look that bad, so maybe the clay isnt that heavy.

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TampaPalms
1 hour ago, sonoranfans said:

If that foxtail is in construction clay, used to support the house slab in florida sandy soil areas. that is very likely the problem.  Foxtails in my neighborhood up agains the house look like crap and its because they want better drainage than construction clay.  I had a few in that dirt when I bought the house and they were badly stressed and deficient so I ripped them out.  If I ever plant another, it will be AWAY fromt he house.  They do do well here away from the house but the landscapers use them interchangably with royals who do pretty well in nearly conitinuously wet in clay.  It rains a lot and the heavy soil they use just wont dry out.  Your foxtail doesnt look that bad, so maybe the clay isnt that heavy.

Soil is sandy, my house was built in the 50s. That area is a lower area though and it might be wetter and slower draining than the rest of my property.

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sonoranfans
9 hours ago, NickJames said:

Thanks. Is shipping more than the cost of the fertilizer for you as well!?

I pick it up James, I have no idea about shipping.  I would look for a florikan dealer on their website.  

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NickJames
22 minutes ago, sonoranfans said:

I pick it up James, I have no idea about shipping.  I would look for a florikan dealer on their website.  

Perfect. Found a place en route to my destination today. Thank you!!

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On 12/29/2020 at 12:42 AM, pj_orlando_z9b said:

I'm in Orlando and fertilize every 3 months. Jan, April, Jul, and Oct. Did it for 6 years now. Never had a problem. 

20201214_171516.jpg

PJ,

Your Green Malayan Dwarf looks FANTASTIC!!!  Despite what your handle says here, I honestly think you are definitively in a solid Zone 10A Climate to have a Green Malayan Dwarf that looks that good with a good number of healthy nuts on it.  I live in a Zone 10A Climate (just barely here in Corpus Christi, as this zone is just a thin veneer right along the immediate coastline here), but mine doesn't look nearly as good as yours, probably because I live in a cooler Zone 10A Climate with a normal high/low in January of about 65F/50F, whereas your area averages significantly higher high temps in the 70F degree range this time of year, which I am sure accounts for yours looking so much better.

John

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BayAndroid
On 12/29/2020 at 11:53 AM, Patrick said:

I'm out in Oakley. Yellowing is pretty common- especially in queens. I've always avoided fertilizing in the winter since the soil is so cold. The palms won't uptake any of the nutrients and the rains will just wash it away. I'll usually throw out fertilizer in mid-late March. Speaking of- I need to go over to the Simplot website and see where I can buy my "palm plus". I'm just about out.

 

Is the yellowing in the lower leaves or just in general? Different yellow means different things...

 

The Sul-Po-mag made by Biotech I've been buying off of Amazon is pretty good for the deficiencies, as opposed to just epsom salts. I can't find the stuff at any of my local nurseries anymore so I'm stuck going that route.

 

On 12/29/2020 at 1:39 PM, Jim in Los Altos said:

I’m with Ben on this. With cool soil temperatures, fertilizer is unlikely to be taken up by your palms in any appreciable amount. I always feed heavily in late October or very early November so the palms are really healthy going into winter. Then I resume feeding in early April and again in July. My souls are heavily mulched and very fertile anyway so winter is pretty easy on the palms. I have no yellowing at all on any of my hundreds of palms but our lowest temperature thus far is 40°F and there’s been much more sunny weather up to now than usual which makes a huge difference with the more tropical palms and plants in the garden. My plumeria are still green and leafy and showing no signs of going dormant yet for instance. 

Sometimes, in the winter, I’ll spread something organic like blood meal lightly throughout the landscape. It’s slow to release nitrogen and, as a plus, rids the yard of moles and rats. 

Patrick, it does happen more to the older fronds, but slightly all around. Based on what Jim said, I think I could apply more fertilizer than I do. I'm kind of new to plants and always worried about over-fertilizing. I'll dose a bit heavier in the spring. 

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sonoranfans

I can agree with several posters that applying the fertilizer in winter is a waste and it washs away into the water table rather than being taken up by dormant palms.  But florikans osmotic delivery is designed to shrink the osmotic membrane pores in colder temps so delivery doesnt happen below 60F or so.   I can put the florikan down anytime as it delivers over 5-6 months with a peak at ~2-3months.  I use this known delivery and the florikan tech to get more continuous delivery in my high drainage soil.  I still do have some areas that need garden lime as my soil pH in back drops low enough to grow moss and this limits nutrient bioavailability.  My HOA irrigation water(from a community well) is somewhat high in sulfur so it tends to acidify my soil over time. 

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Bazza
On 1/1/2021 at 7:32 PM, Mr. Coconut Palm said:

PJ,

Your Green Malayan Dwarf looks FANTASTIC!!!  Despite what your handle says here, I honestly think you are definitively in a solid Zone 10A Climate to have a Green Malayan Dwarf that looks that good with a good number of healthy nuts on it.  I live in a Zone 10A Climate (just barely here in Corpus Christi, as this zone is just a thin veneer right along the immediate coastline here), but mine doesn't look nearly as good as yours, probably because I live in a cooler Zone 10A Climate with a normal high/low in January of about 65F/50F, whereas your area averages significantly higher high temps in the 70F degree range this time of year, which I am sure accounts for yours looking so much better.

John

He's been fertilizing his every 3 months for the past 6 years, John.

IMHO, that has more to do with it that any slight variations in temperature zones.

Out of curiosity - what is/has been your Coconut fertilizing regime?

Thanks - Baz

 

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Patrick

BayAndroid

 

Lower fronds yellowing at the tips or oranging (or spotting) indicates a need for potassium or magnesium, actually both since you need to apply both for either deficiency. Ewing Irrigation in Pacheco has "palm plus" in stock which is a pretty good all around fertilizer for palms- it works for me, anyways. For a potassium/ magnesium you'll want a product called K-Mag which they said they can order (I'm searching out vendors myself as I'm almost out of fertilizer for this spring). The previous two items are made by Simplot/ Best. Another sul-po-mag brand is Diamond K which makes a 0-0-22 Solution Grade Potassium Magnesuim Sulfate. I located a vendor in Sacramento for this. Not sure where you are in the bay area, I'm out in Brentwood so the vendors I've listed are closer to me. I have to ALWAYS throw out extra Sul-po-mag for my stuff it seems like they are always needing it.

I was quoted $28 for the K-Mag (I'm assuming 50 lbs, and $52 for the Palm Plus 50# bag. The shop in Sacramanto quoted me $23 for the sul-po-mag and $35 for the Palm plus. Not sure how far you're willing to drive.

The palm plus I find It looks like a lot when you spread it out after following the instructions off the bag, but they're good instructions. If you have queens they are pigs so they gobble up lots of fertilizer.

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BayAndroid

I think there's a Ewing in San Carlos, which is pretty close... I'll check this out. I've never used anything but a standard palm fertilizer like Jobes palm fertilizer. Even so, I've probably been too conservative with how much I've used. Still learning. 

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On 1/5/2021 at 10:34 AM, Bazza said:

He's been fertilizing his every 3 months for the past 6 years, John.

IMHO, that has more to do with it that any slight variations in temperature zones.

Out of curiosity - what is/has been your Coconut fertilizing regime?

Thanks - Baz

 

Baz,

Okay.  Thanks for the info.  I have upped my fertilization schedule from just twice per year (Spring and Fall) to 4 times per year (mid Feb., mid May, mid Aug., and mid Nov.).  This seems to really help my Coconut Palms to get them growing more in the warmer months and to help strengthen them going into winter, and to more quickly recover from any cold injury during winter.  I use only MicroLife Ultimate 8-4-6 All Organic Biological Fertilizer made by San Jacinto Environmental in Houston.  It has over 70 minerals and micronutrients.  I use it at the rate of 4 cups spread around the root zone of my biggest Coconut Palm, which is about 16ft. tall in overall height, with a little over 2ft. of woody trunk height at the base, and at the rate of 2.5 to 3 cups for my other two in ground ones, that are about 12ft. to 13ft. tall in overall height (but no woody trunk yet at the base).   I also use MicroLife Ocean Harvest 4-2-3 as a foliar spray at the rate of 2 ounces per gallon of water, thoroughly sprayed on the crown a few times throughout the winter and occasionally throughout the year, especially with new plantings.

John

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On 1/9/2021 at 2:04 PM, BayAndroid said:

I think there's a Ewing in San Carlos, which is pretty close... I'll check this out. I've never used anything but a standard palm fertilizer like Jobes palm fertilizer. Even so, I've probably been too conservative with how much I've used. Still learning. 

I ONLY use All Organic fertilizer.  The kind I use is MicroLife Ultimate 8-4-6 All Organic Biological Fertilizer that has over 70 minerals and micronutrients.  I also use MicroLife Ocean Harvest 4-2-3 as a foliar spray at the rate of 2 ounces per gallon of water.  MicroLife is the BEST fertilizer I have ever found in the 37 years I have been growing palms and other plants.  Since I went ALL ORGANIC 9 years ago, my trees and plants are doing much better than they ever were with the synthetic chemical fertilizers which sterilize the soil by killing the beneficial microbes, and they also add sodium to the soil, which dries out your soil, causing you to have to water more.  Also, I ONLY use Organic pesticides like Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap for Organic Gardening for the occasional pest problems I have.  When you go ALL ORGANIC, you have much fewer pest problems.  And I NEVER use any herbicides like RoundUp, which is VERY TOXIC to us and the environment despite what the manufacturer (Monsanto) says.  The main ingredient is glyphosate, which leads to lymphoma in the people who use it and are exposed to it, and it has horrible effects on the environment.  I hope this info helps you.  In case you are wondering what my background is, I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Development, 37 years of horticulture experience, and about 20 + years of landscaping experience.

John

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Bazza
30 minutes ago, Mr. Coconut Palm said:

Baz,

Okay.  Thanks for the info.  I have upped my fertilization schedule from just twice per year (Spring and Fall) to 4 times per year (mid Feb., mid May, mid Aug., and mid Nov.).  This seems to really help my Coconut Palms to get them growing more in the warmer months and to help strengthen them going into winter, and to more quickly recover from any cold injury during winter.  I use only MicroLife Ultimate 8-4-6 All Organic Biological Fertilizer made by San Jacinto Environmental in Houston.  It has over 70 minerals and micronutrients.  I use it at the rate of 4 cups spread around the root zone of my biggest Coconut Palm, which is about 16ft. tall in overall height, with a little over 2ft. of woody trunk height at the base, and at the rate of 2.5 to 3 cups for my other two in ground ones, that are about 12ft. to 13ft. tall in overall height (but no woody trunk yet at the base).   I also use MicroLife Ocean Harvest 4-2-3 as a foliar spray at the rate of 2 ounces per gallon of water, thoroughly sprayed on the crown a few times throughout the winter and occasionally throughout the year, especially with new plantings.

John

Thanks for the update and good to hear, John!  Please feel free to post again at some point with your observations on any improvements, if possible. There are many variables, as you know, that dictate and influence rates and application programs. I know here in this part of Florida we have very sandy soils so we have to continually apply our products because of how much is lost through leaching. So I tend to increase numbers of applications but reduce quantity per application - essentially "spoon feeding" them.

That sounds like a really nice product you are using - I can almost hear your Coconuts whispering "Thank you, John!" from here! :wub:

Happy New Year and happy gardening!

Baz

 

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Merlyn

I've been wondering about the "conventional wisdom" of not fertilizing in winter.  Most of my palms are still growing, even cold-tender Hyophorbes and Cocos are putting out new spears right now.  My Dwarf Green Malayan has grown 2 feet of spear since the freeze on Dec 26th AM, and will probably open before the end of January.  Others like Butia and Phoenix are opening new spears on a regular basis, even with our cold December.  None of my palms have gone into dormancy, probably because we have a couple of cold days and then a couple of 80F days.  So to me, the argument "the plants are dormant, don't fertilize them" makes no sense. 

Is there some scientific evidence that shows palms don't take up fertilizer in the winter?

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Ben in Norcal
56 minutes ago, Merlyn said:

I've been wondering about the "conventional wisdom" of not fertilizing in winter.  Most of my palms are still growing, even cold-tender Hyophorbes and Cocos are putting out new spears right now.  My Dwarf Green Malayan has grown 2 feet of spear since the freeze on Dec 26th AM, and will probably open before the end of January.  Others like Butia and Phoenix are opening new spears on a regular basis, even with our cold December.  None of my palms have gone into dormancy, probably because we have a couple of cold days and then a couple of 80F days.  So to me, the argument "the plants are dormant, don't fertilize them" makes no sense. 

Is there some scientific evidence that shows palms don't take up fertilizer in the winter?

I think there needs to be more climate nuance here.  I mean, if I lived somewhere Cocos grow, I'd fertilize all year, so totally agree with that.  Here, where average high temps in January are around 55 and lows around 38, things are absolutely dormant for a month or two and you are just pissing away money by throwing down fert.  So, my comments are geared towards Bay Area growers - I am absolutely confident you're not seeing any benefit by throwing down fert this time of year.  Even though we're in the same USDA climate zone, your January highs are almost 20 degrees higher.  That's gonna make a difference...I know most of my palms would be pushing with your temps, so - yeah, I'd fertilize.  

Now, all of that said, I mulch and don't need to really fertilize anything but pots anymore anyway!

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Merlyn
1 hour ago, Ben in Norcal said:

I think there needs to be more climate nuance here.  I mean, if I lived somewhere Cocos grow, I'd fertilize all year, so totally agree with that.  Here, where average high temps in January are around 55 and lows around 38, things are absolutely dormant for a month or two and you are just pissing away money by throwing down fert.  So, my comments are geared towards Bay Area growers - I am absolutely confident you're not seeing any benefit by throwing down fert this time of year.  Even though we're in the same USDA climate zone, your January highs are almost 20 degrees higher.  That's gonna make a difference...I know most of my palms would be pushing with your temps, so - yeah, I'd fertilize.  

Now, all of that said, I mulch and don't need to really fertilize anything but pots anymore anyway!

That's true, our highs on most days are around 70F with lows around 50F.  Today and tomorrow are highs of 60 and lows of 40, but it'll be back in the upper 70s to near 80F by the end of the week.  I'm just out of "safe" Cocos range, but that's usually because I get one or two nights in the upper 20s each winter.  The historic average temperature for the month is around 59F, which makes me think that the advice "don't fertilize in winter in 9B/10A" doesn't make a lot of sense.

I looked around and couldn't find any scientific studies on palm nutrient uptake vs temperature.  I'm sure someone has done it, but I found a lot of info on uptake vs age, uptake vs concentration %, and stuff like that.  Just nothing immediate on uptake vs temperature.

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Silas_Sancona
28 minutes ago, Merlyn said:

That's true, our highs on most days are around 70F with lows around 50F.  Today and tomorrow are highs of 60 and lows of 40, but it'll be back in the upper 70s to near 80F by the end of the week.  I'm just out of "safe" Cocos range, but that's usually because I get one or two nights in the upper 20s each winter.  The historic average temperature for the month is around 59F, which makes me think that the advice "don't fertilize in winter in 9B/10A" doesn't make a lot of sense.

I looked around and couldn't find any scientific studies on palm nutrient uptake vs temperature.  I'm sure someone has done it, but I found a lot of info on uptake vs age, uptake vs concentration %, and stuff like that.  Just nothing immediate on uptake vs temperature.

Think Tom, Sonoran fans has mentioned it but microbial activity,  at the soil level,  is influenced by soil temperatures.. When they sleep, they aren't working to make X nutrient(s) available for uptake by palms.. or pretty much anything else..  So, a good % of any fert. applied when the critters in the soil are snoozin', esp. if applied heavily,  goes to waste.. and into our waterways/ground water..

That said, there in Cen. /S. FL. soil temperatures will generally stay warm enough -a majority of the time- that there is some degree of microbial activity happening all year.

Should be numerous studies on this to skim over out there..

Aside from the waste issue, i don't want to be pushing -any- new, tender growth during a time of year it could get damaged.. at least easier than the rest of the year ( unless you live here, lol ) When it is cool, plants can rest up, and dine on what is in the soil,  through the winter..  By mid Feb, maybe later in cooler spots, it's time for a light breakfast..

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Merlyn

I found one research article on availability of phosphorus after fertilizing, using semi-arid soil (Hamadan province, Iran) and temperate soils (Guilan province, Iran).  https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0718-95162011000200010

They tested availability of P after adding KH2PO4 (monopotassium phosphate) fertilizer.  In unsterilized soil samples the available P was 20-50% higher at 15C (60F) than it was at 28C (82F).  Sterilized soils were the opposite, but that's not really relevant to my backyard.  Phosphorus isn't a limiting factor in most of FL, most fertlizers are 4-1-3 ratios or similar.

1539837177_FertilizervsTemperaturePhosphorus.JPG.a42deb6cc6e39ba0a810d5a998fe45fa.JPG

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Merlyn

Here is a Nitrogen study based on different fertilizers (Greenwaste compost, Biosolids, Chicken Manure, Urea, and a Control).  In acidic soil the available N using Urea fertilizer was nearly identical at 18, 24 and 37C (65F, 75F, 99F).  Available N dropped off at 99F after about 5-10 days out of their 28 day incubation period.  They attributed it to the high increase in ammonia in acidic soils at high temperatures.  Peak availability was about the same at a bit over 1200.  Their definition of acidic (4.3), neutral (7.09) and alkaline (9.15) is probably more acidic than FL soils, so urea nitrogen availability is probably somewhere in between. 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257648344_Effects_of_temperature_and_amendments_on_nitrogen_mineralization_in_selected_Australian_soils

817929530_Nitrogenavailabilityvstemperatureandfertilizertype.thumb.png.c6288daff3d0699ade0b3628a2481ba2.png

So far I haven't found any scientific evidence to suggest that fertilizer bioavailability is significantly better or worse in the winter than it is in the summer, at least based on FL temperatures.

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