How's my spacing?

Discussion in 'PALM TREES - WHERE TROPICAL STARTS' started by TonyLoco, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. TonyLoco

    TonyLoco Active Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    South Florida
    Attached is a photo of two palms I have planted at 4 feet, 1 inch apart.

    The palm on the left is a Hurricane Palm (Dictyosperma Album) from a 10 gallon container, the palm on the right is a Majesty Palm (Ravenea Rivularis) from a 3 gallon container (bought at Home Depot for $15 and advertised as an indoor plant).

    As you can see from the picture, the leaves of the palms are already overlapping.

    What is likely to happen to these 2 palms in the long run? I have a sprinkler system and can water them everyday if necessary.

    I understand that the Majesty Palm can grow in shade and if given enough water can grow very tall.

    Will both palms grow tall and healthy this close to each other? Or will one cover the over one and stop it from growing tall?

    If I had to choose one, I would prefer that the Hurricane Palm thrives. But I would like both to do well...

    If necessary I could try to replant the Majesty Palm a foot farther away from the Hurricane Palm.

    photo2.jpg
     
  2. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    Tony, My two mature Majesty Palms (16 yrs in ground) both have a leaf spread just short of 16.5'. I do not grow Dictyosperma Album but it will more than likely have a 12' leaf spread.
     
  3. TonyLoco

    TonyLoco Active Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    South Florida
    Thanks for the reply, so they are essentially way too close together?

    Do you have any pics of your majesty palms?
     
  4. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    Tony, I would say that they are to close, but they can be grown close. It all depends on your personal preference. Ask yourself the question, "Will I like the look in a few years?". The rain stopped and I went out and measured the distance between my Majesty and Copernica alba (8' canopy spread). The majesty and alba were planted on center 11' apart and I have majesty leaves into the alba leaves. Here is a photo of one of my majesty palms from last spring (alba on the right) showing the majesty now clearing the second floor gutter on my house.
    IMG_1315.jpg
     
  5. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,861
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Tony,

    First off - there isn't a palm grower alive who hasn't planted some palms too close together - so don't feel bad.

    The issue IMO is more the size of the trunk. Thin trunked palms growing close with overlapping fronds creates a "natural" look and is typical in most gardens. But when you get a "competition" of larger trunked palms, it can begin to look like a case of bad planning in future years if they start to bend away from each other trying to "get away."

    And the Majesty can become a very large trunk. So yes, if you have the energy, even another foot will help. And if not happy in the years to come - that is why God made chain saws. :) If that time comes, everything else will be good sized by then, and the Dictyosperma will be a beautiful palm. So, you may welcome the opportunity to plant another smaller new favorite palm in the freed up space.
     
  6. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    Dean, The Majesty is not common (the few that I have noticed are yellowish and dwarfed from lack of care) here in my neck of Fl. I have noticed more in the southern part of the state' but I have never seen a Majesty bend away from another palm or even a tree. The ones I have seen go straight up and do not look as they go seeking the sun. Have you noticed any in your area with a bend?
     
  7. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,861
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I was speaking more of the Dictyosperma bending out away from the Majesty. The Majesty would definitely win that "fight." :) Especially if they were competing at similar heights.
     
  8. TonyLoco

    TonyLoco Active Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    South Florida
    Well I ended up moving the Majesty, it was very easy. The hard part was finding somewhere else to fit it. I ended up putting it in a corner of the yard under the shade of an existing deciduous tree. Will it grow tall in shade?

    Thanks for the feedback.

    With the Majesty moved I now have the following spacing:

    Dictyopserma -> ( 11.5 feet gap) -> Bucaneer -> (6.5 feet gap) -> Triangle Palm -> (7.75 feet gap) -> Majesty

    I was thinking of moving the Bucaneer so that it is equal distance between the Triangle and Dictyosperma (about 9 feet on either side). It will be easy to do because it was from a tiny 2 gal. container. Also when I originally dug the hole for the Bucaneer, I hit this hard layer of gravel which may constrain the roots and inhibit drainage.

    Probably worth it to move it a little bit for these 2 reasons right?
     
  9. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,861
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    IMO you are struggling with the number one concern of any garden - that is the layout - which includes spacing and the selection (growth habits). It is next to impossible to plant smaller palms in an area and visualizing what they will eventually become in 5-10 years, and to have the patience to wait those many years while that area looks incomplete and more bear than you would prefer.

    Please do not misunderstand my opinion and recommendation. Palms can be planted closely. And remember, you are dealing with a 3D canvas where the speed of growth and the height come into play. For example, three palms planted closely that will all grow at the same rate will compete and look more "jammed" together than three palms the same distance apart of differing heights.

    So I was not as concerned in your situation with fronds overlapping from small to mid-sized palms, as to me that appears natural. I was mostly concerned when you throw a "monster" palm in the mix. Larger palms like Bismarkia, Corypha, Beccariophoenix, etc. can destroy the layout of a smaller garden. And I have seen some very large Majesties when grown well from a small size. So I just thought a caution was in order.

    There are so many beautiful small and mid-sized palms available. So for me, when the choice is between 5 closely spaced "smaller" palms or one or two of the big ones, I always choose the former. But of course these are personal preferences and depend on many other variables like views, access, proximity to structures and underground concerns, etc.
     
  10. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    Young palms can be just as attractive as big ones, and most palms can be moved at any stage of growth. You can always grow them out and move them later. I agree with Dean, smaller palms are better for the landscape. Also more managable.
     
  11. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    I think Tony's spacing is fine. The Dyctosperma will grow upright faster than the Majesty. The Majesty will like the shading. Then you can plant crotons to color up the understory. :)
     

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