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Re-rooting a palm tree
In sunny Scotland.

 7:12 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

The house next doot to mines used to have a 25ft palm tree in their back garden. It was cut away about 4 years ago. There where three off-shoots growing at the base, one died a few years ago but the remaining 2 seam to be doing well. The house recently went on the market and is now empty. You can probably imagine what I am thinking. (one of those trees would look far better in my garden.) I used to run a small landscape gardening business, but in Scotland , palm trees are hardly my speciality. So far I have checked the soil PH and the readings are the same in it's current location and where I would like to plant it. My biggest concern is, Will the root structure from the origional tree still be suporting the new smaller trees, or will they be easy to seperate. Also any ideas on what if any thing I should add to the soil around the roots. I have been told to use sand to help with drainage, anything else :)



 7:54 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

You can move palms with a significantly smaller root ball than normal, the root system is not that deep, however, it will probably still leave a nice hole in your future neighbors yard.

Here in South Florida, Royal Palms command a nice price and every year or so I get a landscaper type, offering to remove mine (after he claims it has some exotic fungus) for a small fee.

The last time he made the offer, I told him that if he needed grocery money, I would help him out, but I didn't appreciate the offer to steal my tree.


 8:03 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Would it be possible to cut one of the small growths and put it in some rooting hormone or something to start a new root structure, or would you actually have to dig out part of the existing old root ball?

In other words, I guess, can you start a palm from a cutting? I know a lot of succulents can start new plants fairly easily (so I'm told) from cut-off limbs...


 8:08 pm on Sep 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

What about light?


 2:47 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

The light situation is pretty much the same wether it remains where it is or is re-planted. I was wondering, maybee this isn't the right time of year to start thinking about moving trees due to the aproach of winter. I was thinking maybee wait till the spring.


 3:09 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would say go for taking on of the shoots with some of the root ball. I have a large palm in a pot which I recently repotted. I ended up cutting off about 7o% of the roots and divided it into three at the same time (although still in the same pot). It took a year to start growing again at the normal pace (probably while the roots regrew) but otherwise survived fine. Palms like "tight shoes" (ie prefer to be totally root bound and like a small pot to grow best) and don't have large deep root systems. I repotted it in late winter however as it's an inside plant it tends to grow year round anyway.

Since the plant isn't going to cost you anything I say go for it :D


 3:18 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>maybee this isn't the right time of year to start thinking about moving trees

That is what I had in mind too. Can you keep it inside for the winter? Some 14 hours a day artificial light cycle (400 watts metal halide lamp), stimroot hormones, and warm soil could not hurt making it through the winter. Otherwise I believe you risk to stress it too much.

P.S. I am no palm tree specialist.


 3:28 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

Keeping it inside for the winter is actually a great idea!

Being in a pot will also give it a chance to develop the dense root ball it needs before it gets put in the ground. Make sure the pot isn't too huge, your laocal gerdening center should be able to advise. Mine doesn't like direct sunlight (the leaves sun burn easily) but prefers filtered light through a net curtain. At the same time it grows better with regular light rather than in a dark corner. Being inside will also allow you to ensure it's not too dry or too water logged, either of which will stress it. I personally haven't had much luck with rooting hormones ever and I'm not sure they'll help a palm anyway (the ones I've seen here are aimed at hardwood plants not monocots) but it certainly wouldn't hurt. I use specific palm food too (it comes in a little stick you put in the soil and forget) which it seems to like.

There are many books around about growing palms, and since they are somewhat hard to care for (apparently, I have very green thumbs) a quick trip to the local library may be helpful.


 3:40 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>Mine doesn't like direct sunlight (the leaves sun burn easily) but prefers filtered light through a net curtain.

I use a heat shield for sensitive plants under metal halide lights. Heat shield is a clear 'plastic' film made by 3M. It cuts 75 % of heat from any light source. It can be hung on windows too. A great diffusor film is Rosco # 216. It will make any direct light look like Scottish sky. Both can be found at motion picture lighting rental shops.

Fluorescent tubes can do good too, but the efficient radius is short. (about a foot) Combined with a timer, it is the cheapest thing to use.


 3:56 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

*grin* I live in New Zealand, getting enough natural light for my plants is never a problem. Filtering sounds like a good idea if you're using lamps though, and I'd certainly advise it for a palm tree. When I first got mine I assumed it would like lots of direct sun since they come from hot places, but soon found otherwise when the leaves burnt. It probably depends on the species to some extent, but I've had a couple of different (smaller) palms too and they were the same. I've never actually been able to figure out what species my big one is.


 4:56 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

These may be Nikau palms which are a NZ variety and are used to quite temperate climates. Sticky me if you determine that they are and I'll direct you to some NZ gardening discussions where you might get help.


 5:09 am on Oct 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

I had a nikau for a number of years, this is something different :D The others were parlor palms (I still have one actually) but this isn't one of those either. There was another kind too that a flatmate had, but can't remember what species that one was. None of them liked direct sunlight (which the books I've read agree with).

I gave up looking for a species for my big one after a year or so because it grows so well and I don't have any trouble taking care of it, so I figured it doesn't matter.

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