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W. Filifera, Spears not opening - yellowing


Bradgray

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Greetings! Been a forum reader for a few years; have searched the database last few days looking for advice again and can't find reasonably close experiences to satisfy my worry. 

I've recently begun landscaping our new yard in Saint Georg Utah and I'm in love with palms. I've planted endless medi fan, pindo, windmill and canary date palms (sorry, I don't know their proper names yet) and now have spent more than a reasonable amount on mature Washingtonia Filiferas (I do know this one's name!).

I have 5 of these that are 1 year and doing excellent, and 5 new this year (March 29th) that are all putting on new growth *except one*. 

The one is question is/was 9ft root-ball to top of heart at transplant. For some reason, this one has endured a higher level of shock than the others and after 2 months (April 1st - June 11th) still has not pushed growth or opened a spear. My concern has grown rapidly in the last two weeks as the others have taken off, and despite the spears appearing "green", they are a faded green and have not changed. 

Yesterday I decided to climb a ladder and get a better look. I am now more concerned. The young spears are yellow when splaying the pleats apart. None of my other 9 palms have ever looked this way, before or now. 

I can't account for soil and watering to be a perfect match, though they should be! (the holes were dug with a mini-ex and we go through several soil layers by the time it's planted). I'm fearful I'm overwatering, but hesitate to pull back in case it's actually not getting enough. We do have somewhat clay-ish soil, but I amended the hole with 1/2 gravel to help water get to the root ball. 

I dug about 6" from the root ball yesterday and found new roots. Some fine, some thicker that looked like white wood nails. 

It was a $1,000 tree, so I *really* want it to live and I'm worried it's dying. I read palms are either growing or dying. I've attached photos of the trees spears. I can attach others of happy trees in a later post to not confuse the one in question. 

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Edited by Bradgray
Clarity
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Below are photos of a couple of the other new transplants for comparison. Green is MUCH deeper and they're pushing new growth happily. 

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I lean to underwatered.  I would let a hose dribble good near the base for a couple days and watch for movement.  That is what I would do if mine. 

They can take some wet roots. 

Your spear looks exactly what mine look like,  coming out of winter here in NM, before they start growing again in spring. 

They can "hibernate" for some time when stressed. 

Edited by jwitt
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21 minutes ago, jwitt said:

I lean to underwatered.  I would let a hose dribble good near the base for a couple days and watch for movement.  

Thanks! I've been doing essentially this for about two months, everyday at first for a few hours and then spreading the days further apart but keeping the soak habit. Soil was fairly sticky when I dug and looked at roots. Thus the suspicion I may giving it too much. My reading suggested Filifera don't like wet roots. Maybe that's relative!

21 minutes ago, jwitt said:

Your spear looks exactly what mine look like,  coming out of winter here in NM, before they start growing again in spring. 

They can "hibernate" for some time when stressed. 

Good to hear there is such a thing as stalled, but alive. This palm had a taller (longer) canopy than the others. The cut fronds were easily 7ft, where my other transplants were 4' or less. Plus its a ~ 10ft tree T/O root to T/O heart. My theory was this one just needed more time, but every passing day makes me nervous. 

 

**Can a moderator please unhide my follow up post I made. I'd love contributors can compare this to the palms that are growing well? 

Edited by Bradgray
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@Jwitt 

 

I've been drip watering for a few days and the spears/fronds have been slowly pushing up. They've moved maybe 3/4 - 1". 

Does this confirm the palm is still happy? I just don't understand why it won't open the spears. They are plenty high enough to open and the other transplants have opened new spears at much lower 'heights' than this one has. 

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New growth = good. Allow the palm to adjust to IT'S needs, not yours.

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5 hours ago, Las Palmas Norte said:

New growth = good. Allow the palm to adjust to IT'S needs, not yours.

I appreciate the confirmation. To be clear, I don't need it to open. I'm merely concerned because I've planted 10 mature W Filiferas and this is the first to behave this way. 5 of those 10 were planted at the same time, and in the same soil. Hence the worry when this is the only one behaving differently. 

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I can't seem to get the moderator to unhide my other post that had the images of the happier palms. Hppefully this one works. 

20230610_183140.jpg

20230610_183156.jpg

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I have had some filifera suffer w/transplanting.  They are a species that likes wet ground. Contrary to what many are led to believe. This being especially true in the desert of the American SW. 

They can "hibernate" for several reasons(cold, fire, transplant shock,drought).  Transplant shock on a filifera can result from root damage. 

Keep the ground wet down ten feet. They have HUGE roots that need to regrow. 

The emerging spear/leaf will most likely have some drought damage and may have a harder time opening(drought damage).  Allow it to grow even if it doesn't fully open.

It will most likely outgrow it beginning slowly.  Give it time.  Honestly 2-3 years til full speed. This will be true with all your transplanted filifera.

Patience 🦗!

Welcome to palmtalk!

I and many others love to see palms. Especially from Utah's Dixie.....

Hint........

Hint,........

They love water@3300ft!

Screenshot_20230615-101856.thumb.png.0eb17fda8c9074fa2bc514f6030d16a0.png

 

Roots are larger than the crown when undisturbed.

2129637555_220px-Washingtonia_filifera_Auckland-NZ_hand_drawing_Axel_Aucouturier.jpg.26e3164f1dfaf9f768dc4245c45036d3.jpg

Edited by jwitt
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  • 1 month later...

Palm took another two weeks with some dedicated watering (like I was drowning it) and it finally opened! I'll try and snag a photo soon. 

 

Thank you Jwitt for the encouragement and reassurance!

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Keep it moist til mid October, then cut off water for winter. 

Glad to hear it is growing. Give it time(baby it) to regrow it's roots. 

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