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Palms and Cycads: Rehabbing Palms

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Chiefengineer
MIssion Valley, TX
(Zone 9a)

September 5, 2009
7:19 PM

Post #7029157

Two years ago Xmas I got a pack of Mexican Blue Fan seeds.
I struggled to hatch three good ones that I nursed in pots until they
went in the ground one year later---big mistake: hottest summer
on record/worst drought.

OK, so giant grasshoppers ate two down to the nubbins overnight.
I went to the beach for a week and with out my water the last one
burned up with about a dozen other varieties nearby.

I'm attaching my before/after pictures. I dug one up to confirm that
it was gone and not eaten underneath or something. I got a lot of
root and stuck it in a Ball jar full of water. Nothing for a whole month.
Then I got impatient and cut it back to the heart.

Like a banana tree it instantly sprouted a protruding middle section.
Then I put a little palm fertilizer in the water and green growth emerged.
The "after" pic is after another month inside; it is actually growing.

What does anyone think will be the prognosis for 1)this hydroponic palm,
and 2) all the other ones that are in the ground and look 1000% burned up?
Does anyone think they'll come back? I left them in the ground, mulched them,
and water the spots occasionally.

I saw nothing at all before I chopped it back. Maybe I should wait until it cools
down and trim some in the ground? Today is the first day in memory it is only
90 and everyone is in long sleeves.

Thumbnail by Chiefengineer
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Chiefengineer
MIssion Valley, TX
(Zone 9a)

September 5, 2009
7:21 PM

Post #7029172

My "after", or current picture, in a jar.

Thumbnail by Chiefengineer
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Jungleman
Pasadena, CA
(Zone 9b)

September 5, 2009
7:40 PM

Post #7029205

Here's what I would do - and you should definitely wait for some other opinions, too!

I would pot up the one in the jar in some palm and cactus mix, water it sparingly, and feed it even more sparingly. You know it's alive, so patience is the key here. They grow slowly anyway, so know that it could be some time until you get a full leaf. I would keep this plant in light shade until temps come down seriously (around 70-80 degree days), then gradually move it into full sun. You may want to bring it in if you are going to get a frost this winter, but generally keep it outdoors as much as possible.

As for the ones in the ground - why not do the same as you have for this one? Dig 'em up, check for solid roots, and give them the same treatment? Of course, you could also just pot them up as I have outlined above, but if your method worked with this one - why mess with it?

Good luck!
Jeff
Chiefengineer
MIssion Valley, TX
(Zone 9a)

September 8, 2009
3:43 AM

Post #7039075

Thanks for the idea.
I think most people wouldn't waste their time with this,
but I am just learning. I have "bad spots" unexpectedly
all over...lots of caliche and underground grape vines and
running mesquite that steal water.
My biggest problem is getting the roots out nicely. I think
I was lucky with this one and it was a test. I'm kind of
thinking that the burned up leaves on top are destroying
the ability of the plant to feed itself with sunlight, but if I
cut them the way it is they will just burn worse...and building
mini-canopies around them with 50mph winds all the time seems
silly.
However it rained 1.5 in. yesterday and that was exciting, so there
is hope. Weirdly, there were puddles and run-off everywhere. The
ground had gotten like concrete. Today it was like walking on cheese.

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