Why Is A Frond Dying On Dwarf Pygmy Date Palm

Filed Under: Trees, Palms and Cycads · Keywords: Dwarf Pygmy Date Palm, Frond, Dying, Base, · 6782 Views
I have a triple robellini and one of the palms new growth is not separating and is dying off at point of growth. The other 2 splits seem ok right now but I'm afraid it will travel.


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Answer #3 · John Heider's Answer · Lana-Many palms can get what is called "FRIZZLETOP". I does sound as though this may be the problem with your Pygmy palm. I'm sneaking a peak at Gardenality at work and can't look right now for a site so you can see what "Frizzletop" looks like. It is a manganese deficiency and can be taken care of fairly easily with fertilizers that contain soluble manganese. Your soil may be lacking sufficient manganese or the soil PH is High (alkaline) which can block its intake. Sometimes very wet soil that may not be well draining can also block the intake of nutrients to your plant. You might Google "Frizzletop" and see if this looks like the leaves on your plant and let me know when you are able to send the pictures. It rained the last two days here also, but today is 68 and sunny California, Love it.)


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Lana James

Lana James · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Hi again John, 68 is a bit too cool for me. I prefer 75 or above. Don't go getting in trouble at work to help me. I'm patient. I've taken some photos but I don't see the Upload button. Maybe I have to update my profile before that is available. I tried but I'm having some speed issues with my computer (it wouldn't load a profile pic) so I may not be able to upload others even if I find the button. It may be Sunday afternoon before I can send pics......but if I find the button I'll try. I'll also google "frizzle top". Thanks for your help!!!

3 years ago ·
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Answer #1 · John Heider's Answer · Hi Lana - I have had a dwarf Pygmy date palm with three trunks for 12 years now. It is in a large container and has always been pest free. They are normaly Insect free, but pests can infect them. Most common would be a type of scale that would appear as a small dome shaped insect that you would easily see. Other pests such as mealy bug and aphids should also be easily seen. You mentioned the new growth on one of the trunks is not opening and the problem seems to be at the base of the new leaves. If the base of the leaves look curled and brown, as if drying out, it could have a Manganese deficiency. It is difficult to know what is happening with your palm without knowing more. It would be of great help if you could take a picture of the palm and its leaves that are in question. Click on the "Upload A Picture" link just above and to the right of your name to upload a picture. Don't worry, what might be affecting one trunk may not be affecting the others at this time and can easily be taken care of.)



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Answer #4 · John Heider's Answer · Hi Lana,
I believe your palm has a nutrient deficiency. Pygmy palms can have a manganese deficiency caused by alkaline soil or to wet a soil or both. I like to think of my plants as being somewhat like us in some respects. If their roots are sitting in to much water (soggy soil) this excessive water will block them from taking in nutrients and oxygen. Put our heads under water and we to can not take in nutrients or oxygen. Some times I think my wife would like to put my head under water because of the way I think of my plants. Make sure your soil drains well. You can dig down six inches or so into the soil and make sure it is moist not wet. Sometimes our pots don't drain well if sitting on a smooth surface that can block the drainage. I like to sit my pots on surface savers (Lowes-Home Depot or any good nursery) so that they drain well and allow oxygen to the roots.
The drying and curling at the base of your leaf looks like what is called "Frizzle Top". The scorching look up through the leaf would indicate this also. Palm fertilizer can be applied in late spring, summer and fall on an annual basis so now is a good time to give your palm a start with what it may be lacking. Most good nurseries will carry a Palm Fertilizer that will have a percentage of manganese also such as 8-2-12-4. The fourth number is the percent of manganese and probably won't be with the first three noted on front of the package. This eliment should be listed on the container. Some nurseries will also have fertilizer plant sticks for palms that you push into the pots soil that work well also. I have found that the fertilizer sticks for some reason contain more percentage of the manganese eliment. You may also find just a manganese suppliment also, but if you haven't fertilized your palm lately I would use a complete palm fertilizer. Some of the palm fertilizers are water soluble and can be mixed with water. Your plant is fairly small so you can fill a spray bottle and spray this mix over the leaves and crown of the palm along with adding to the soil. The fertilization instructions on the package will tell you the amount to use according to the size of your palms trunk. Make sure you cut off any leaves that are completely brown. Hopefully this one affected trunk will start putting out healthy leaves with the right amount of water and nutrients. Most multi-trunk Pygmy palms found in nurseries today are actually single trunk plants that have been planted close together to give that single multi-trunk plant appearance. Because of this the other trunks of you palm may not be affected as much by this deficiency, but will benefit from the fertilization also. It looks as though there may be some white patchy spots on the leaves also. I looked into this and found that palms, specifically pygmy date palms, get these structures called Scurf on younger leaves. So if you were wondering about this also it is nothing harmful. As the palm matures this will go away.)


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Lana James

Lana James · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks John, my robi is in the ground so I don't think it's too wet but will check the ground anyway. There may be a sprinkler that hits it twice a week gotta check for sure. I'll be sure to cut off all dead/dying fronds to keep as healthy as possible. And yes, I did notice the spots too. I really appreciate all your help!!! Once I get this fixed maybe I'll consult you for some nice Florida plants/flowers for my front flower beds (sad to say they are completely empty right now). I think as long as you bring your wife some of your plants (make them flowers) she will resist from putting your head under water - haha. Have a good night. I'll let you know what happens.

2 years ago ·
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John Heider

John Heider · Gardenality Genius · Zone 9B · 25° to 30° F
Lana-Not sure where I got the idea your palm was in a container, but be sure to dig down several inches and check the soil. It should be moist not wet before you start your fertilization. Now is a great time to start planning your new front flower beds. Start your new virtual garden. As you see plants you like on Gardenality add them to your garden. When your ready to plant your real garden you will have plants to chose from that may work well in your climate. Have fun and let us know how your palm is doing.

2 years ago ·
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Lana James

Lana James · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Hi John, I fertilized "robbi" like we talked about and she's had a "haircut" as well. The "bad" leg looks good as do all the others. She continues to produce new growth that are opening normally on all 3. Thanks for all your advice/help!!!!

2 years ago ·
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John Heider

John Heider · Gardenality Genius · Zone 9B · 25° to 30° F
Lana-Thats great. Glade I could help. Its always nice to hear back that a plant has been helped. If your pygmy is like most I have had you will enjoy it for years. Thanks for your word back and hopefully you will continue to use and enjoy Gardenality.-John

2 years ago ·
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Answer #2 · Lana James's Answer · Hi John,
It's dark and raining now, but I will take a pic tomorrow to send so you can take a look. What exactly is a Manganese deficiency? It seems that the growth is complete but just dies off at the base. The fronds I've removed were easily 3 ft long but brown/dry at the base. Is the Manganese something I can buy for it? It's been in the ground for about 2 years. Has been in multiple pots prior with adjustment for growth. It was a birthday present and I'd sure hate to lose it!!! Thanks for the reply......look forward to hearing from you once I've taken a pic.)


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Lana James

Lana James · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Hi again John, Here are some pics. The pic of the frond at the base (brown) is actually a frond that is not new and is completely open. I just checked it and it looks the same but the new growth has not yet died completely this time.

2 years ago ·
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