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Caudiciforms and Pachycaul Trees Includes ponytail palms, Madagascar palms and desert roses (NB: these aren't true palms or roses!)

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Old September 22nd, 2008, 10:25 PM
Terrib855 Terrib855 is offline
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Pony Tail Palm

I was given a pony tail palm today. It has half of the ball rotten. Is there any way of saving this palm. Half of the roots are still OK. I hate to just toss it out. Please help me decide.

this is my first time here. I'm looking forward to getting involved.

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Old September 22nd, 2008, 11:12 PM
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edleigh7 edleigh7 is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm

If the top of the plant is still hard and not rotten you may be able to chop the top off and re plant the top. Others may have other suggestions

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Old September 23rd, 2008, 06:52 AM
Cereusly Steve Cereusly Steve is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm

Beaucarnea recurvata is not in any way related to true palms but that is not what you ask.

The thickened stem (caudex) is most of the appeal of the plant. The rotten portion will never grow back and the plant will be disfigured forever. It is up to you whether you want to keep the plant but it will never win any ribbons in a plant show. Since it was a freebie, you should not feel bad about tossing it out. The person who gave you the plant knew full well it wasn't worth saving. They didn't give a second thought about getting rid of it.

You do not want to remove the top and reroot it. The plant will not grow a new caudex.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 04:42 PM
markinwestmich markinwestmich is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm

One of my resource books, Bonsai Succulents, by Philippe de Vosjoli & Rudy Lime has a passage on page 97 that may be useful to you.

"...PD had a large Adenia globosa and a Pyrenacantha malvifolia that showed extensive rot following exposure to cold temperatures in the winter. Excising the damaged area did not stop the process. He decided to experiment by excising any rot down to apparent healthy tissue and applying dry, fast-setting cement on the exposed surfaces. In both cases, the rot stopped and the plants eventually formed scar tissue under the set concrete. The combination of having a locally drying effect, the high pH of the cement, and the formation of a protective concrete "band-aid" may all contribute to halting further rot. This method has worked with other species that may show gradual meltdown, (e.g. Dorstenia) and we present it as a useful tool for dealing with plants with large areas of rot or to help stop progressive rot. We have also used this method to "seal" large cuts on tuberous plants."

Just a side note: Sometimes plants with damage end up being some of the most interesting forms. Sometimes what starts out as undesireable ends up being "Best of Show".

Who says you can't grow desert plants in Michigan?
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 08:30 PM
Terrib855 Terrib855 is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm

Ed, Steve you all have given me ideas that I never even thought of. This forum is the best and I thank all of you for your idea's. When my Mom passed away a few years ago and left me with her house. She also left me the yard and I knew nothing about gardening. This sight is a big help.
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