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Merlyn

Ponytail / Beaucarnea Recurvata caudex damage, help!

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Merlyn

I had some trees taken down in the backyard 2 weeks ago, and they dropped several big logs from a water oak. One of them landed and then bounced and took a chunk out of the caudex of a ~35 year old Recurvata. There were a few other relatively minor scratches on a few of the "trunks," but those usually scar over pretty quick and aren't a big deal. This one, however, went through the "bark" and into the spongy center of the caudex. The maximum depth of of the chunk removed is about 2 inches. I kind of expected it to scar over like it did on trunk scars, but it has not so far. This is what it looks like today:

1726003251_P1070378Recurvatacaudexdamage.thumb.JPG.617fadda479ba13a21f3b66168f35118.JPG

And here's a closeup of the chunk:

811069464_P1070379Recurvatacaudexdamage.thumb.JPG.239aabc9ee14a6cee25e71ac285aba10.JPG

I haven't messed with it yet, because I have no experience dealing with damage to the caudex. Any recommendations on treatment? I've read about people using candlewax or asphalt-based tree pruning sealer, and I have a can of sealer on hand. Should I clean up and even up the edges, then treat with hydrogen peroxide antifungal and seal it? Treat the whole thing with fungicide? I have Banrot (Etridiazole + Thiophanate-Methyl) and Alliette (same as Foseytl-Al) on hand.

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Silas_Sancona
1 minute ago, Merlyn said:

I had some trees taken down in the backyard 2 weeks ago, and they dropped several big logs from a water oak. One of them landed and then bounced and took a chunk out of the caudex of a ~35 year old Recurvata. There were a few other relatively minor scratches on a few of the "trunks," but those usually scar over pretty quick and aren't a big deal. This one, however, went through the "bark" and into the spongy center of the caudex. The maximum depth of of the chunk removed is about 2 inches. I kind of expected it to scar over like it did on trunk scars, but it has not so far. This is what it looks like today:

1726003251_P1070378Recurvatacaudexdamage.thumb.JPG.617fadda479ba13a21f3b66168f35118.JPG

And here's a closeup of the chunk:

811069464_P1070379Recurvatacaudexdamage.thumb.JPG.239aabc9ee14a6cee25e71ac285aba10.JPG

I haven't messed with it yet, because I have no experience dealing with damage to the caudex. Any recommendations on treatment? I've read about people using candlewax or asphalt-based tree pruning sealer, and I have a can of sealer on hand. Should I clean up and even up the edges, then treat with hydrogen peroxide antifungal and seal it? Treat the whole thing with fungicide? I have Banrot (Etridiazole + Thiophanate-Methyl) and Alliette (same as Foseytl-Al) on hand.

NEVER use a tree sealer/ anything else to seal that..  Will cause more damage ( seal in moisture that can promote more undetected rot/damage. You want the damaged area to air out / form a callus, -as best as possible ) Could dust it w/ sulfur and apply a fungicide, though i don't know how sensitive these may be to them ( fungicides ).  Too bad you couldn't construct something over the damaged area to keep it absolutely dry while it heals.

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Merlyn

Yeah, I have heard that about sealers.  However it's common practice on Recurvata to make a multitrunk plant by lopping off the top of a single trunk and putting pruning sealer on it.  A few weeks/months later and it sprouts 3-8 new shoots off the side of the old trunk.  This particular one had some trunk damage when I got it from a friend.  It got a bit gouged when we moved it, but the trunk part scabbed over pretty quick, i.e. within a couple of days.  Small chunks in the "bark" of the caudex also scabbed over within days, but this is different.

Right now the missing chunk is still spongy (like a kitchen sponge) and I don't know if Recurvata have a healing mechanism to scab over a wound in the caudex area.  If it doesn't scab/callus over then it'll remain exposed to air and probably rot when the summer rains start in ~May.

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Tracy
21 hours ago, Merlyn said:

Right now the missing chunk is still spongy (like a kitchen sponge) and I don't know if Recurvata have a healing mechanism to scab over a wound in the caudex area.  If it doesn't scab/callus over then it'll remain exposed to air and probably rot when the summer rains start in ~May.

I have some that I originally planted in the late 80's in my first garden that I transplanted.  When I sold the house the new owner decided to take some out that I had planted and called me to ask if I wanted them.  I dug them up and transplanted them in 1996 to my Carlsbad house where they remain.  Over the years, I had damage from cinder blocks for a replacement fence dropped on them, lopped a few heads off myself when they got too tall and other damage.  We are in a drier climate, but they sealed themselves back up, even when it was caudex damage.  They seem to be very hearty.  I never lost one no matter the abuse.

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Merlyn

A bonsai lady chimed in on Agaveville forums and recommended these steps:

1) Damp and then paint the area with lime sulphur. I've heard others suggest straight sulfur powder, since lime is caustic.
2) Trim the edge and dust with rooting hormone.  This helps it grow a new callous.

3) After it's dry paint with a sealer like Titebond III.  It helps keep the area dry but allows you to see if there is mold or rot growing.

4) Scuff the edge and reseal as needed when it starts growing a callous over the area.

I noticed yesterday morning that some of the areas have started hardening up underneath the top layer of sort-of-ragged spongy material. I peeled off a bit of the loose spongy stuff and it looks like there is a mostly solid surface forming under it. There was some white watery paste-looking stuff on the surface before last night's rains. It does have some dark areas where it looks like it may have some mold starting to grow. The outside of the "bark" on the rest of the caudex has the same fungus, basically a surface mold from lots of rain and humidity and shade. There are some loose areas like the part I folded back with my finger, in the photo below. The area just above my hand is firming up now, there are still some squishy areas in the middle.

2074393406_P1070389Recurvatacaudexdamage.thumb.JPG.a21daba1767288bb5eaeb1395d78327d.JPG

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