THIS IS NO APRIL FOOL'S JOKE, it just happened today. With permission from the Sullivan Family in Ventura, I have been documenting some of the species start of flowering to when seeds seem to become ripe to harvest during 2021. Then Mother Nature throws a curve ball. So. Cal. has been having it's typical DROUGHT, then the rare storm shows up...5 days with about 5 inches of rain coupled with 40-45 mph winds gusting to 50-60 mph and all of the seeds were off this palm, in the street gutter and on the grassy parkway where tiny worms were attacking them. So many had to be thrown out during the cleaning process at home. What was left of the fruit rubbed off by hand. I did do a water soak for 1 day, 2 hour hydrogen peroxide soak to kill buggies and bacteria. Photo #1 showing seeds just prior to being placed in 20 member community pots where some were 71 deg. F, some were 79 deg. F in my converted ice chests with 40 watt drop lights with lid raised photo #2, some were outdoors going through what nature not lower than 49 deg. F had and some in the garage steady between 50 - 60 deg. F. Photo #3 & 4 are the 2 seedlings that had just pushed green through to peat/perlite surface, which I took an ice pick to move a little material away for the photo shoot. The container closest to the light source was 79 deg. F and the container furthest away was 71 deg F. I will update this thread as the family grows past 2 seedlings.
Just photographed this today.
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!
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.
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.
The photos below show a 5 year interval on a Dypsis decipiens, from about the time I acquired it to a couple of weeks ago. The earlier photo it was in a citrus pot when I bought it at a PSSC meeting auction in late March 2017 (photo was 4/1/2013). I didn't get it into the ground until 2015, but it went straight from the citrus pot to the ground, no intermediate size pots. I guess I was warned that these would be slow on the coast, which it has been compared to many other palms I have, but it has about caught up with another one I planted earlier but was a double at the time of planting from a 3 gallon pot. I planted it with the wall to it's south for additional heat, and an open sky to the west. I guess this will be one that is a slow gratification. It can race with some of my cycads out front to see which will form trunk first! Right now the Encephalartos longifolius is definitely winning the race, and the E nat x horridus are in second place! I'll have to update this in another 5 years to see if the horse race has changed.
Peter (OverGrown) asked me to assist with a score of some big Teddy Bears down in Anaheim at Bluebell nursery.
Of course, yea, though I walk into the den of temptation, I cannot avoid it
And I made some nice scores of my own.