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billt

Bismarckia Nobilis Not Getting Enough Water ??

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billt

This morning I made some modifications to the irrigation that supplies my front palm tree. (Bismarckia Nobilis). I'm pretty well convinced it isn't getting enough water. So as you can see from the photographs, I removed the single bubbler that was supplying it, (top photo), and replaced it with a double bubbler system. (2 lower Photos). This should provide a more ample supply of water. I also increased the cycle time for that valve, to allow for even more flow time. Tomorrow morning, after the glue and paint dries completely, I'll fire it off and adjust everything for optimum flow.

I also deep watered it twice by hand for several minutes with the hose, to provide the base with a through soaking deep into the roots. Yesterday I also gave it a good shot of Palm Tree Fertilizer. So hopefully between the additional water and the fertilizer, she should start greening up. Can anyone tell me about how much water is enough for these type of palms? I live in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and were getting into the hottest part of the years here. Daytime temperatures can get 115 F+. Thanks in advance.

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96720

How’s the grow point are there some new green spears

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billt

Yes, it has some new growth. But a few are prematurely browning out. This happened before and I thought I was going to lose it. But it came back when it started cooling off last Fall. That is what makes me think it is in need of more water in the hotter weather.

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96720
2 hours ago, billt said:

I think it’s just a result of a VERY VERY HOT and DRY summer I had the same thing happen to mine about the same area as yours I only have mine on one dripper so it probably gets less water than yours but a deeper soaking 

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Tyrone

In those temps I think it would be physically impossible to over water that palm. You could create swamp conditions and it would still want more. 

With all the stone around it, it would be interesting to put a thermometer next too it and see what it’s actually experiencing. When the air temp is around the 115F mark I reckon the actual soil temps could be as high as 150F!!! at a guess. Bismarckia love heat but maybe that’s just a bit too high.

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banthony720

That 3rd pic you can see the roots..  probably not a good thing,perhaps some more soil could help.  And some mulch? Any thing to keep more moisture in there.  I've read that they do better in FL because of the better drainage/sandy soils. That Awkward set up you've got could possibly affect the drainage. Mulch/compost helps so I've heard.

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billt
4 hours ago, banthony720 said:

That 3rd pic you can see the roots..  probably not a good thing,perhaps some more soil could help.  And some mulch? Any thing to keep more moisture in there.  I've read that they do better in FL because of the better drainage/sandy soils. That Awkward set up you've got could possibly affect the drainage. Mulch/compost helps so I've heard.

After the station it's on cycles, (5 minutes with both bubblers wide open), there is about 4" or 5" of standing water around the base.  ALL of that soaks in within 5 or 7 minutes, leaving the surrounding soil wet. So the soil it's planted in is quite porous. (Nothing caked or hard). This time of year the top will start drying within just a couple of hours. I created a depression around the circumference of the base, to better allow water to equally flow around it, and completely surround the base. It only gets direct sunlight in the late afternoon. My house, (and the tree), both face northwest.

I have the watering station it's on set to fire at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. That way I lose the least amount to evaporation. Also, in the early evening hours the winds tend to be the calmest. The tree is actually in about the best location it could be on the property. The house, along with the block wall around the trunk, blocks most of the direct sunlight until the later afternoon hours. It is also protected by the house from direct south winds, which we get a lot of. Especially this time of year. And by the hottest part of the day, the angle of the Sun has decreased, and is not so direct.

But hot is hot. And I've been told these palms love heat. So there is definitely no short supply of that in these parts, this time of year. The Phoenix area, (200 miles East), has a lot of Queen Palms planted.... You won't see a single one here. I doubt they would last a year.

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96720

Here’s a picture of my bizzy you can see the one dead frond I think it’s probably not the heat as much as just a dry dry year it just sucks the moisture out of the frond as its coming out 

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billt

Thanks! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who is experiencing this. You are correct about the dryness. VERY LITTLE rain has fallen here. And from what they're predicting, this is going to continue.

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96720

Maybe we will have to put up with a dead frond or 2 each summer the rest of the tree is beautiful my favorite place to sit surrounded by 3 bizzys 

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Merlyn

I'd check and make sure that the double-bubbler actually wets the ground on all sides of the palm.  When running driplines here in FL I try to put a dripper on each side of the trunk, to reduce the chances that there is a big dry spot in the ground.  If it's a cosmetic thing, like you are trying to hide the bubblers behind the trunk, you could use a narrow fan sprayer to shoot out a bit towards each side.  Of course if the water from the double-bubbler runs around the whole palm trunk, then no big deal.

I'd agree with the others above, get some mulch on top to reduce transpiration loss from the ground.  That should help keep moisture in the ground so it doesn't instantly evaporate.

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billt
1 hour ago, Merlyn said:

I'd check and make sure that the double-bubbler actually wets the ground on all sides of the palm.  When running driplines here in FL I try to put a dripper on each side of the trunk, to reduce the chances that there is a big dry spot in the ground........  

I already checked that. It leaves a nice 4" to 5" deep ring of standing water around the whole trunk. After the bubblers stop, it all seeps into the soil within 5 to 7 minutes

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Merlyn
1 hour ago, billt said:

I already checked that. It leaves a nice 4" to 5" deep ring of standing water around the whole trunk. After the bubblers stop, it all seeps into the soil within 5 to 7 minutes

As long as it's not just draining out the sides of your wall, that seems reasonable.  I missed that you said that in a previous post, whups!  Around here the sandy soil would drain a whole 5 gallon bucket in about 5 seconds.  So placement might not matter so much there. 

As a reference for water tolerance, I have a slightly smaller Bismarck in my "tropical bed" area up front.  The whole area gets completely drenched by several popup sprayers and a row of sprayers-on-a-stick.  It's growing fast and seems happy with a large amount of water.  I have one in the back yard that is about the same size, also planted at about the same time.  It gets 2 drippers of 2GPH running 30mins/day every day = 2 gallons of water per day.  This might not seem like a lot, but the water table is about 6' down, and we get 60" or so of rain per year.  Most of it is in the summer, so the daily 3PM thunderstorm keeps the maximum temperatures down and the humidity sky high.  So my environment is very different from AZ, but it's clear that Bizzies can tolerate a lot more water than you'd think.

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sonoranfans

I watered my AZ bizzies as recommended by a long term AZ palm gardener who had some great bismarckia specimens:  I used 3 to 4 2 gallon drippers around the trunk running for 5 hrs overnight total 30-40 gallons per watering just for that bizzie.   In summer 3x a week minimum.  Never had this kind of damage onanh of mine even in 115+.  Most gardeners there use low flow drippers for a reason, more even wetting of the root area.   And I would use 3/4" granite rock as a top layer, it slows the rapid evaporation from the soil in the desert.

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96720

I agree with everything @sonoranfans except no granite but a good layer of mulch 

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billt
7 hours ago, 96720 said:

I agree with everything @sonoranfans except no granite but a good layer of mulch 

I'm thinking about adding a bit more soil, along with a layer of mulch. Just to help keep the moisture in. Or else I was thinking of adding some of those tree bark "nuggets" they sell. The problem with all of that stuff is it floats. Not that it's going to float away, but I'm hoping it will help retain the moisture longer. Especially in the heat this time of year.

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billt

Well I decided to improve the soil a bit, so I added 3 cubic feet of palm and cactus soil, then added 6 cubic feet of tree bark "nuggets" over the top of that. It turned out pretty well, and I think it will help prevent losing so much water to evaporation, and help keep things nice and moist. And it sure looks a lot better than that bare soil did.

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billt

It seems as though my additional bubbler, along with my aggressive morning hand watering, and additional soil and wood chips is paying off. I now have 2 additional fronds coming up, and both are nice and green. And the browning of the existing fronds appears to have stopped. We're in the bowels of Summer here, and last week it was well into the one teens every day. Today it's going to get around 108 F, so it won't be quite as bad. I'm just going to keep pouring the water on it, as it seems to be really helping.

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Jimhardy
On 5/29/2021 at 1:44 PM, 96720 said:

Maybe we will have to put up with a dead frond or 2 each summer the rest of the tree is beautiful my favorite place to sit surrounded by 3 bizzys 

DDFD69B1-C4A2-4927-98C4-DCD46082E89D.jpeg

NICE!

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D Palm

For what it’s worth, I have 3 Bismarck palms. 1 sits in 1-5 inches of water from July to October while the other 2 are in non flood conditions. The 1 in the swamp location does way better and looks better all year, especially when it’s flooded for extended periods. Also takes less cold damage in the winter for unknown reasons to me. These things love water from my experience.

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billt

Thanks, that's good to know. Mine is looking better with daily deep watering. They seem to love the heat as well. Do you use any type specific fertilizer on them? 

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Tyrone
20 hours ago, billt said:

Thanks, that's good to know. Mine is looking better with daily deep watering. They seem to love the heat as well. Do you use any type specific fertilizer on them? 

Yes, I think they are like Phoenix dactylifera. Head in fire, feet in water as the Arabs who grow them say.

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sonoranfans

In arizona there is a real need to water deeply, that is for a long duration.  With all that desiccating heat, deep roots are very important.  I watered my bizzies with (4) 2 gallon drippers for 5 hours, 3x a week in the heat, no sun/heat burn at all.  I lived there 10 years and at first I just didn't get that part.  Water slower but real long duration.  Rod Anderson, who has an amazing mature palm garden in phoenix, watered 12hrs plus each watering event using several 1 gallon drippers per palm.  When I visited his garden, they way it glowed, I knew I was doing something wrong.  At his advice, I changed my irrigation schedule and tested for wetting depth(by digging) to see it was wetting to 3'+ deep. 

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D Palm

A day before Tropical Storm Elsa hit and flooded my yard I put down generic granular palm fertilizer.  In the dryer spring months I use palm nutritional spray (just mist it over the fronds) for all my palms, although, I think it may be least effective for Bismarck.  My queens and Pygmy date respond nicely to it.

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billt

Is it good to wet the fronds when hand watering? I normally wet them heavily on both sides, and allow water to run down the frond into the stalk.

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ahosey01

I really don't think you can overwater this in Lake Havasu.

I have fairly heavy, black, neutral pH soil and 2 2gph drippers on mine in Wickenburg.  I run them 3x a week for 8 hours each time.  It's on a hill, so some of the water flows down.  But we recently had to dig a trench near the palm and it's wet to a depth of 3+ feet.  And I cool way off at night and don't get nearly as hot as you.  I would imagine you don't have much in the way of soil - I'm guessing it's mostly sand and crushed rock.  You could probably water this every single day in the summer and it would love it.  Rod Anderson says they have a problem with winter water, but that's the only sensitivity I'm aware of.

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billt
54 minutes ago, ahosey01 said:

I really don't think you can overwater this in Lake Havasu.

I have fairly heavy, black, neutral pH soil and 2 2gph drippers on mine in Wickenburg.  I run them 3x a week for 8 hours each time.  It's on a hill, so some of the water flows down.  But we recently had to dig a trench near the palm and it's wet to a depth of 3+ feet.  And I cool way off at night and don't get nearly as hot as you.  I would imagine you don't have much in the way of soil - I'm guessing it's mostly sand and crushed rock.  You could probably water this every single day in the summer and it would love it.  Rod Anderson says they have a problem with winter water, but that's the only sensitivity I'm aware of.

I agree with this. It is simply too hot here, and VERY dry. Even with the slightly higher humidity we're now seeing, due to the Monsoonal flow of moisture from the south. I still water daily. It would be nice if I had this tree on it's own separate anti siphon valve, but that's not possible. At least not without a major plumbing change. And it's not that difficult to hand water daily. It gets me out of the house at the best time of the day. Early morning at first light.

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billt

I've been hand watering it daily for about 15 minutes every morning. In addition to the automatic bubblers 3 days a week. Yesterday I forgot about it because I got sidetracked, and the water was running from 6:00 AM until I remembered around 11:30 AM, almost 6 hours later. I thought it would be flooded across the sidewalk about 8 feet away, but it wasn't. It was amazing how much water the ground absorbed around the base of that palm.

Anyway it now has several new chutes popping up, and it's getting much greener. A couple of weeks ago I had a landscaper trim off a few of the dead fronds, and husk the trunk about a foot up from the ground. It looks much better.  I also gave it another treatment of fertilizer. This thing is starting to come around. I think by the time Fall rolls around, It will really be nice and full and green.

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The Germinator
On 6/4/2021 at 9:23 AM, billt said:

Well I decided to improve the soil a bit, so I added 3 cubic feet of palm and cactus soil, then added 6 cubic feet of tree bark "nuggets" over the top of that. It turned out pretty well, and I think it will help prevent losing so much water to evaporation, and help keep things nice and moist. And it sure looks a lot better than that bare soil did.

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As Cheech once said "yo double bubble" just add a pinch of gypsum and you should be set. Nice mulching and beautiful garden. Thanks for the pics. I should bring my bizzies over for a play date.

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billt

Well, after a few months of heavy watering, and a good amount of palm food, this is how it looks now. I trimmed about 5 fronds off of it yesterday, and for the first time it has all nice, solid green fronds. Much better than it was, with many of the newer chutes turning brown before they fully opened.

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Palm Tree Jim

Well done as it is looking really good!

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Looking Glass
On 11/11/2021 at 2:05 PM, billt said:

Well, after a few months of heavy watering, and a good amount of palm food, this is how it looks now. I trimmed about 5 fronds off of it yesterday, and for the first time it has all nice, solid green fronds. Much better than it was, with many of the newer chutes turning brown before they fully opened.

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