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Susanmarie8

Robellini palm--is it planted too high?

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Susanmarie8

Hello! I have done a search on how to care for what I believe is a robellini palm I received when I bought my home, but I can't find anything about whether or not the roots are exposed on purpose or not.

And, if it should be covered, could I just sorta build a pot around it and fill it with soil?

In other words, does this need fixing and, if so, how?

Thank you!

 

PS The fronds are a bit brown from the frost we received this past winter. It was my first winter here and I covered the fronds in sheets whenit dropped to the 30s. My neighbor's robelinni made it through uncovered without any damage and looks great! So, I'm also concerned about the general health of these palms. 

20220513_173523.jpg

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Xerarch

Welcome to the forum! Yes those roots should be covered, all the way up to the base of the trunk.  You could dig the whole thing out and plant it deeper or mound up a bunch of dirt around it to cover it up to that height, which is essentially I think what you are suggesting with building a pot around it.  For whatever reason it seems to be common to plant palms with tons of their roots above grade, I don't know why, and they may live many years like that, but I certainly think they look better and do better with the root buried. 

And you are correct on the id, it's a pygmy date palm, Phoenix roebelenii.

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Susanmarie8

Thank you! This has been bugging me since I moved in last September and I couldn't find an answer anywhere. 

Your advice is appreciated!

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Looking Glass

those guys look good.  They’ll outgrow any damage pretty quick.  
 

Roebellini grow a lot of adventitious roots up the lower trunk over time.
A00640B4-60E5-4969-A38C-47AFFB2CDEF9.thumb.jpeg.833b6735ff75b8ef5c60f12239255f46.jpeg

But I’d also say, mound a bunch of dirt around that base.  You could make a hill, or build a circle with paver bricks. 

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Johnny Palmseed

@Susanmarie8 Welcome to the forum. It is a fantastic place for information. You could add dirt or leave it alone. It won’t matter much. The best care would be regular watering and fertilizer, and don’t over-prune. The most common mistake with these is over pruning. Only the oldest, brown, dead fronds should be cut. Too many people trim these palms to only leave the upright fronds which actually weakens the plant. Your palms look good but would probably benefit from a palm specific fertilizer and increased watering. Adding some mulch would probably help too since these palms prefer more moist conditions.

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Darold Petty

SusanMarie8, Welcome to Palmtalk !  :)

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Allen

You could try to put a rock border around it and raise the dirt 1-1.5 feet to make a raised bed of sorts.

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iDesign
3 hours ago, Looking Glass said:

A00640B4-60E5-4969-A38C-47AFFB2CDEF9.thumb.jpeg.833b6735ff75b8ef5c60f12239255f46.jpeg

I've done this before (use fireball or other bromeliads to hide a less-than-ideal palm tree base). What's nice about bromeliads vs some other plants is that their root systems are almost non-existent, so not gonna compete with the palm's roots for space.

I agree the ideal would be to either plant it deeper or mound up to cover the exposed roots, though that would be a pretty high mound... maybe bring up the whole planter as high as you feel comfortable, mound the soil extra high right near the roots, and cover with bromeliads if it looks strange.

Or leave it as-is... they're pretty tough plants.

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D Palm

If it was me, I would dig it up and place it lower in the ground. My OCD would drive me crazy. Looks healthy though.

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Jim in Los Altos

I would mound up to the trunk and gradually taper the soil a few feet out. They look great on a mound. I wouldn’t go through the trouble of digging it out and replanting. It will stress the palm and set it back for some time while it’s regrowing roots lost to digging. These palms like moist soil and appreciate feeding with a palm specific fertilizer spring, summer, and fall. 

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Susanmarie8
6 hours ago, Jim in Los Altos said:

I would mound up to the trunk and gradually taper the soil a few feet out. They look great on a mound. I wouldn’t go through the trouble of digging it out and replanting. It will stress the palm and set it back for some time while it’s regrowing roots lost to digging. These palms like moist soil and appreciate feeding with a palm specific fertilizer spring, summer, and fall. 

Thank you! I agree that it doesn't make sense to dig it up at this point. It's been there for 15 years. 

 

I definitely will start fertilizing with palm specific fertilizer. My neighbor's robellini is such a deep, dark green. I'm hoping to get mine as healthy as theirs!

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Susanmarie8
12 hours ago, Looking Glass said:

those guys look good.  They’ll outgrow any damage pretty quick.  
 

Roebellini grow a lot of adventitious roots up the lower trunk over time.
A00640B4-60E5-4969-A38C-47AFFB2CDEF9.thumb.jpeg.833b6735ff75b8ef5c60f12239255f46.jpeg

But I’d also say, mound a bunch of dirt around that base.  You could make a hill, or build a circle with paver bricks. 

Ohh...so those roots grew after it was planted.  These trees were surrounded by the tri variegated bush that's so popular down here. Figured they were stealing all of the nutrients as some of their roots were attached to the base of these. 

I will cover the base. Thank you!

 

 

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Susanmarie8
12 hours ago, Johnny Palmseed said:

@Susanmarie8 Welcome to the forum. It is a fantastic place for information. You could add dirt or leave it alone. It won’t matter much. The best care would be regular watering and fertilizer, and don’t over-prune. The most common mistake with these is over pruning. Only the oldest, brown, dead fronds should be cut. Too many people trim these palms to only leave the upright fronds which actually weakens the plant. Your palms look good but would probably benefit from a palm specific fertilizer and increased watering. Adding some mulch would probably help too since these palms prefer more moist conditions.

Thank you! I've taken to heart the advice about only removing the truly dead fronds. That's why I left the fronds damaged by the frost. 

How often and for how long do I water them?

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Johnny Palmseed

Roebeleniis like water but you don’t necessarily have to start flooding it. Drowning a palm that has been growing in dry conditions might shock it. May is a tough month for palms in CFL with the increased temps and no increase in rain until June or July. Depending on rainfall and how you water, 1 or 2 times a week with a good soak would be reasonable. I like to set a hand nozzle with the flower mister selection on top of the rootball and leave it for 30-40 minutes. It allows for the water to soak the roots without running off. 

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Susanmarie8
26 minutes ago, Johnny Palmseed said:

Roebeleniis like water but you don’t necessarily have to start flooding it. Drowning a palm that has been growing in dry conditions might shock it. May is a tough month for palms in CFL with the increased temps and no increase in rain until June or July. Depending on rainfall and how you water, 1 or 2 times a week with a good soak would be reasonable. I like to set a hand nozzle with the flower mister selection on top of the rootball and leave it for 30-40 minutes. It allows for the water to soak the roots without running off. 

Thank you! I am going to start that right now!

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D Palm

15 years on site? Yeah I would also mound up the dirt as others have said.

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