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Sick Bismark Palm


Sean8472

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Hi All, I bought this Bismarck about a month ago to try and nurse it back to life. It was cheap considering the prices and availability in San Antonio. I have two other ones about 2-3in shorter trunks that look great and have double the fawns.  All are in sunny spots getting 12+hrs of sun everyday. I had to cut one frond off as soon a I got it because it was all spotty black, brown, green, and yellow.  I'm not quite sure what is wrong with it? I was going to try and remove all the soil, wash the roots, and see if any are rotting. Then clean the pot and use new soil. Thoughts?

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3 hours ago, Sean8472 said:

Hi All, I bought this Bismarck about a month ago to try and nurse it back to life. It was cheap considering the prices and availability in San Antonio. I have two other ones about 2-3in shorter trunks that look great and have double the fawns.  All are in sunny spots getting 12+hrs of sun everyday. I had to cut one frond off as soon a I got it because it was all spotty black, brown, green, and yellow.  I'm not quite sure what is wrong with it? I was going to try and remove all the soil, wash the roots, and see if any are rotting. Then clean the pot and use new soil. Thoughts?

Welcome to Palmtalk!  I just recently moved from San Antonio so I understand the lack-of-availability issues!  Sounds like the frond you cut was just normal dying off.  It's best for the palm to keep those fronds on until it's completely brown since the palm is pulling nutrients from it while it still has some color to it.  Bismarckia are very root sensitive so I would advise against any additional root disturbance.  It looks OK to me - has it changed in appearance since you bought it?  Are you planning to plant in the ground or keep it in the pot?  It doesn't look as silver as some other Bismarckia but there is a green variety also.  I had a silver one in the ground there that I protected and survived 9° in February 2021.

Jon

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Jon Sunder

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@Sean8472 welcome to PalmTalk!  As Fusca mentioned, there are some palms that are super-sensitive to root disturbance.  They have a habit of just dying if you mess with their roots too much.  Bismarcks and Sabals are both known for this, and some Copernicia species too.  Because of this I'd recommend not washing off the roots and re-soiling (is that a word?) the pot.  It would probably kill it.

In general yours looks ok nutrition-wise, but the leaf tips are all droopy.  That could be overwatering, which frequently shows as droopy fronds that are turning yellowish or losing color.  I'd make sure that your pot has good drainage holes, and only water it when the top inch is pretty dry.  If the soil drains out quickly when you pour in a gallon of water, then the soil is probably ok for drainage and density.

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33 minutes ago, Fusca said:

Welcome to Palmtalk!  I just recently moved from San Antonio so I understand the lack-of-availability issues!  Sounds like the frond you cut was just normal dying off.  It's best for the palm to keep those fronds on until it's completely brown since the palm is pulling nutrients from it while it still has some color to it.  Bismarckia are very root sensitive so I would advise against any additional root disturbance.  It looks OK to me - has it changed in appearance since you bought it?  Are you planning to plant in the ground or keep it in the pot?  It doesn't look as silver as some other Bismarckia but there is a green variety also.  I had a silver one in the ground there that I protected and survived 9° in February 2021.

Jon

Hi Jon, I've never heard of a green one, only silver ones. This one has not changed in appearance at all. I was hoping the new frons growing would be more silver but it looks like the current ones.  The other two I have are silver and in large pots by my patio. I was planning on keeping this one in a pot for a few years. I didn't want to plant it in the ground or repot it in the near future because of the root sensitivity and I wanted to see if it would look better.  Additionally, I wanted to be able to move them inside for colder weather.  Eventually, i want to plant all three in my yard, but these trees will get massive and protecting it would be interesting. What did you protect yours with? Also the best place to get palm trees here is Palm Buda. Thanks. 

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17 minutes ago, Merlyn said:

@Sean8472 welcome to PalmTalk!  As Fusca mentioned, there are some palms that are super-sensitive to root disturbance.  They have a habit of just dying if you mess with their roots too much.  Bismarcks and Sabals are both known for this, and some Copernicia species too.  Because of this I'd recommend not washing off the roots and re-soiling (is that a word?) the pot.  It would probably kill it.

In general yours looks ok nutrition-wise, but the leaf tips are all droopy.  That could be overwatering, which frequently shows as droopy fronds that are turning yellowish or losing color.  I'd make sure that your pot has good drainage holes, and only water it when the top inch is pretty dry.  If the soil drains out quickly when you pour in a gallon of water, then the soil is probably ok for drainage and density.

Hi there. Glad to gain some knowledge and learn here. I drilled 3 1/2 holes in the bottom of the pot before I potted the tree.  Maybe it needs more. I have not checked the grass under it yet.  Its pretty hot and dry here. We have had over 40 days with 100+ degrees this year so the soil dries out quickly. I water it 2-3 times a week with about 1/2gallons each time. 

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1 hour ago, Sean8472 said:

Hi Jon, I've never heard of a green one, only silver ones. This one has not changed in appearance at all. I was hoping the new frons growing would be more silver but it looks like the current ones.  The other two I have are silver and in large pots by my patio. I was planning on keeping this one in a pot for a few years. I didn't want to plant it in the ground or repot it in the near future because of the root sensitivity and I wanted to see if it would look better.  Additionally, I wanted to be able to move them inside for colder weather.  Eventually, i want to plant all three in my yard, but these trees will get massive and protecting it would be interesting. What did you protect yours with? Also the best place to get palm trees here is Palm Buda. Thanks. 

Mine was still pretty small.  I didn't have enough supplemental heat for it so I covered it completely with mulch and then put a plastic garbage can over it to keep it dry.

 

Edited by Fusca

Jon Sunder

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