HELP HELP my Ponytail Palm in the garder is dying ...

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Real Estate Sales Representative with Burwell Realtors Group, BUyer Specialist

I really need some advise here.  I have flipped through the pages of all my gardening books and done Google searches ... I fear my ponytail palm is dying.  I am so sad.

The tree is in the landscape; was on the property when we bought it.  The bottom is 4' in diameter and the stalks (there are three) are over 10' tall.  We moved it 2 years ago (experts did) from the back to the front yard to feature it!!  I will be just sick if it goes ...

My gardner came in about 2 months ago and  the mulch high (covering the round bottom) around it, I know that is really bad.  That problem has been rectified but it is loosing all its leaves (the few it had).  Does anyone have advise?

After seeing pictures like this on the Internet tonight I am really worried ...

Ponytail Palm

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Rainmaker
24,253
Jan Whitlow, ASPM
Burwell Realtors Group, BUyer Specialist - Largo, FL

Here is a PIC of how the tree looks today - how awful!!  I'm calling the FLA extension service tomorrow or better yet go in there with this PIC ... there were leaves on the end of each stalk but they fell off some of them yesterday as the tree was touched ...

Jan 04, 2009 12:54 PM #1
Rainmaker
24,253
Jan Whitlow, ASPM
Burwell Realtors Group, BUyer Specialist - Largo, FL

Here is a (poor) PIC of how the Ponytail Palm looked before it was moved ... the pool fence is in the way but it did have leaves

ponytail palm before transplanting

Jan 04, 2009 01:08 PM #2
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, Jan.

It's too deep in the ground, way too deep, and you've got a trench around it to hold water. Absolutely the wrong thing to do. The roots have rotted away.

You can still save it, though. They are very adaptable. First you need to pull it out of the ground and let it dry. Don't worry about it not getting any water while it dries. That big bulb is full of water.

Once it dries out, plant it on top of a mound so that water cannot collect around it. Cover no more than 10% of that bottom bulb with soil.

There's been a lot of damage to it, and since it is slow-growing, it will take time to grow back and be beautiful again, but don't give up on it. One that size is very expensive -- they go for about $5,000 around here.

Once you get it out of the ground, send me a picture of the bottom of the bulb or post it here. I'm subscribing to comment notification for your post here so I can keep track.

See my blog on the pony tail palm here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/730789/A-great-and-interesting-plant-for-those-with-brown-thumbs

You may also call me if you need to.

Jan 11, 2009 04:34 PM #3
Rainmaker
472,375
Trey Thurmond
BCR Realtors - College Station, TX
College Station , Texas Homes

You know ............they are amazing plants. My wife received one 28 years ago and it has seen all kinds of trouble but always manages  to come back.

Jan 11, 2009 11:11 PM #4
Rainmaker
24,253
Jan Whitlow, ASPM
Burwell Realtors Group, BUyer Specialist - Largo, FL

Russell - as you stated I too believe it is simply over watering that has put my Ponytail Palm in such a state.  I will take your advise and take it out of the ground; let it dry out.  I never would have thought of that - how long does it need to be out of the ground?  We are having a cold snap this week - possibly in the 30's over the weekend.  I certainly will wait until after that cold snap. 

I know it looks like there is a trench around it - that is from the last watering I did - THE LAST 2 weeks ago.  I became even more concerned as I watered, the bed was a mess - I had to pull up some sick looking Crotons around the ponytail) bubbles came up as if there were air pockets underneath the palm - not good.  The nursery man that transplanted it for me lives around the corner.  I plan to stop by & see him today - I believe he will come by to take a look.  Keep your fingers crossed - thank you SO much!!

Jan 12, 2009 06:33 AM #5
Rainmaker
24,253
Jan Whitlow, ASPM
Burwell Realtors Group, BUyer Specialist - Largo, FL

Thank you Trey ... I will persist & it will survive.  This property was owned by one family for over 30 years - I'm sure they planted it - I want very much for it to survive.  I have a Stag-horn Fern hanging from my Oak tree that my mother had in the 60's.  I must post a PIC of that too.  Its big; my sons cringe every time I talk about moving as moving it will be their job!  LOL

Happy MOnday eveyone!

Jan 12, 2009 06:37 AM #6
Rainmaker
72,338
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Jan, I hope this works! What a beautiful tree. If the people that transplanted it planted it too deep into the ground, they should rectify the situation at no charge to you since it almost killed a $5000 tree! I hope you are able to nurse it back to life.

Jan 12, 2009 11:48 AM #7
Rainmaker
24,253
Jan Whitlow, ASPM
Burwell Realtors Group, BUyer Specialist - Largo, FL

Think good thoughts for my pretty (was) tree ... I stopped by the nursery (the ones that transplanted it) and they afraid I have lost it.  I tell you if there is a chance it will come back I will leave it up for two years until it comes back.  It is very unusual.  I'll keep you posted.

Jan 12, 2009 12:42 PM #8
Rainmaker
24,253
Jan Whitlow, ASPM
Burwell Realtors Group, BUyer Specialist - Largo, FL

I have been to the county extension office to get advise about the Ponytail Palm; the comments were inconclusive.  I also did get the man who transplanted it for me to stop by and he says its toast; that the whole base has rotted away.  As I am the eternal optimist I have not dug it up; not destroyed it yet.  I'm planning to give it several months to rejuvenate itself; maybe the whole summer even.  After March 1 I will dig it up' replant it deeper and trim the branches back to the "green.  My mama always said, "Don't trim in Florida until after March 1 as you never know when we will get another very cool snap.  Jan

Jan 25, 2009 10:42 AM #9
Rainmaker
24,253
Jan Whitlow, ASPM
Burwell Realtors Group, BUyer Specialist - Largo, FL

To update you gardeners on the state of the Ponytail Palm - its still in the ground - we reached freezing the last 2 nights here so I wrapped the trunk as to fort any further trauma.  I will leave the tree in the ground until spring when I shall dig it up, raise it & cut it back ... keeping my fingers crossed that is will live.  As I am forever the optimist - I keep believing!!  Thank you for the advise!

Jan

Feb 06, 2009 09:47 PM #10
Anonymous
Anonymous
amber

After reading this thread I am really interested to know how your palm is doing.  I just recently dumped my small one out of its pot and just left it lying in my yard thinking it must surely be dead (due to over-watering).  It has a lot of sentimental value so I plan to go get the trunk out of my yard this afternoon and try to save it.

Good luck to you and if you have any suggestions please let me know.

Mar 29, 2010 01:55 PM #11
Anonymous
Anonymous
tom Clarkson

Help Please!

I have a 120 year old Ponytail (Elephant's Foot) that I had carefully transplanted over a year ago.  It was doing well but I had to go back to work in Iraq, hence was away for several months.  In the meantime our gardener ovewatered this magnificent plant.  Now a substantial part of the bark has come off as it was too wet underneath.  I have carefully removed the "bad" bark so as to let it dry out.  It has been treated with a pesticide.  However, soon the rains will come.  Should I remove the dry pulpy portion of the inner trunk?  Should I cover it with "roof jack" so as to - as best as poosible - waterproof the tree?  What can I do to save the beautiful specimen?  Your sage counsel is DEEPLY appreciated. 

Is there a phone number on which I might call you?

Tom Clarkson at olabrisa@gmail.com

Apr 09, 2010 11:07 AM #12
Anonymous
Anonymous
The Aussie Gardener

How's the palm going now?

We had a ponytail get too big next to our block wall and half destroyed it. The guy we had pull it out managed to put a couple of nasty gashes on the underside of the bulb. Does anybody know how much harm this will do to the tree and what i can do to keep it healthy? I've got it out of the ground with plastic with dirt in it wrapped round the bottom.

Cheers 

Aug 15, 2010 06:31 PM #13
Rainmaker
24,253
Jan Whitlow, ASPM
Burwell Realtors Group, BUyer Specialist - Largo, FL

Its sad to admit we lost our Ponytail Palm, it rotted from the inside out ... just heart breaking!  I learned they must be planted mostly on top of the soil and watered little - hope you have much better luck than we did.  I know when gashes happen above the root line a new branch begins to grow in that location.  I would be extra careful about watering as I suppose your Pony Tail is more vulnerable to over watering.  Good luck!

Aug 15, 2010 08:04 PM #14
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Rainmaker
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Jan Whitlow, ASPM

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