Death of a Rare Dypsis - An Autopsy

Discussion in 'PALM TREES - WHERE TROPICAL STARTS' started by Dypsisdean, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Now that I got your attention, I'll try not to disappoint. :)

    I pulled the spear on this rare Dypsis about six months ago. And because it was irreplaceable, I kept up with the Hydrogen Peroxide treatment, with some pesticide and fungicide thrown in for good measure. I covered the "hole" so it wouldn't collect water. And it just sat there. The two existing fronds stayed green, so I held on to some hope. Then yesterday I took a stick and probed the "hole." It went down way too far. And when I put my nose down close, I got a whiff of fermentation. Not good. So I finally gave up, and dug it up. The growing point where the spear would have first emerged was about 6 inches below the surface. and I could put a stick down the "hole" where the spear was another four inches into the heart of the palm. So, up it came.

    Here is what it looked like after digging it up.
    IMG_1372PT.jpg IMG_1374PT.jpg

    And here you can see how the "outer" frond is still "alive" with good color, but how the center is looking black and dead.
    IMG_1376PT.jpg

    So I cut it lengthwise to get an idea of what had happened to my irreplaceable Dypsis. You can get some idea of how the center/heart of the palm can be dead, but the outside fronds will give the appearance that the palm still has a chance. It's hard to know what is the best course of action sometimes. But IMO, this palm was not coming back - even though it still held two "healthy" green fronds. If I can offer one bit of advice as to what I learned on this one, and also on another that I just had a problem with, is that your nose is a good indicator. If you smell funk or fermentation going on, then you have a problem that hasn't gone away. And I doubt a new spear will emerge from that smelly funky "hole."

    IMG_1384PT.jpg IMG_1383PT.jpg
     
  2. edric

    edric Active Member

    Messages:
    768
    Location:
    Oak Hill Florida
    Great tutorial Dean, Ed
     
  3. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

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    4,845
    Dean, I would have done the same thing, I always like playing scientist. Great autopsy work also. Sorry for the loss of the rare Dypsis.
     
  4. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    The "heeled" Dypsis are very frustrating at times. Just when you think you are out of the woods and it is going to start cranking ... BAM :(
     
  5. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    500
    I would have stuck with it!...If its alive with green fronds,and the trunk is plump,its not in fatal condition. When you know its not the climate,just some bacterial action..just keep dosing with the peroxide. And you could have tried covering the center to keep water out,let it dry. A loose cover.
     
  6. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Yep - did all that Stan. Peroxide everyday, dug out the soil around it, and had a plastic cover overit keeping water out of the deep hole in the center. But after about 6 months, and still smelling putrification, I pulled the plug. And as could be seen (or maybe not clear enough in the pics), there was no bud from which anything new could have grown.

    I've seen it before - when the older fronds start ever so slowly brown tipping and dying back. It can take a year or more to look dead, and in the meantime nothing new ever appears. At some point you want something getting large in that spot, instead of shrinking back every month.
     
  7. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    500
    That's a shame. When they are hard to find plants,I just do my best,then wait until the stem shrivels...then I yank. Had that with a Foxtail in the decidedly untropical bay area. Slowest death of a palm I ever had.
     

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