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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Queen Palm Damaged From Irrigation Problem

Q. During the excessive hot spell our irrigation failed while we were out of town. As a result, one of our queen palms lost all its branches. In spite of subsequent life support efforts it does not appear to be coming back. Is that too much to hope for? Is there anything we can do to help it recover or should we just mourn its passing? If so, what do you recommend we replace it with that has similar height and shade? The remaining queen palms will be wrapped for winter to keep them alive.
A. They can normally handle the heat but if they are stressed, and that will happen to that plant in this environment, this could contribute to decline enough so that other factors take over and cause its death.

I am sure it was not from the heat directly, but perhaps indirectly when we take into account other things that can be problems. I know it is too late for you but I would generally not recommend queen palms for our Valley. They just end up looking very anemic except in some very protected locations away from hot dry winds.

If you are looking for something erect than you might look more closely at date palms Canary Island date palms. They are slow growing but can give some shade. Normally you should not have to wrap queen palms here. Wrapping the trunk may not give you a lot of protection. The central bud at the very top of the tree where the fronds come from is a major determinant if the tree will survive. If that central bud at the top of the tree dies, the palm dies. The trunk can handle a little bit of damage but not the central bud. Some people claim that putting Christmas tree lights around the trunk help some plants. I have never verified this.

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