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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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  #1  
Old May 12th, 2005, 10:51 AM
TexasGrandma62 TexasGrandma62 is offline
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Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

I have a 20 year old Pony Tail plant. It lives inside during the winter, and outside during the summer. By fall, it will be too tall to get back into my house.

There is good new growth from the bottom, and the top seems to be still healthy, but I need to cut some of the top off, to get it back in.

It has been suggested that I put slits in the trunk area below where I want to cut, to let new growth begin there. But, I need more input. It would break my heart to lose this plant.

If it helps, I live in SE Texas, where it's warm and humid during spring and summer.

I look forward to your suggestions.

Texas Grandma
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Old May 13th, 2005, 10:10 PM
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Marn Marn is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

I think what was suggested was Air Layering .. u can search it on the net on how to do it .. it is a slit in were ya want to cut it back to add a lil rooting hormone and wrapp some spagnum moss in there and the wrap either tinfoil or plastic wrap with twist ties at both ends of the plastic . and make sure it stay moist .. and u will see roots comeing thru in time .then cut it below the roots and plant the new rooted part ... but look it up on the net for more indepth info on it ..

good luck with it

Marn
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Old May 14th, 2005, 12:55 PM
TexasGrandma62 TexasGrandma62 is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

Marn, thank you. My second question would have been if I can regrow the separated top.

I will search the web for further instructions, but you've given me a good basis with which to start.

Thanks, TexasGrandma
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Old May 15th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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Marn Marn is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

your welcome .. good luck with it ..

Marn
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Old May 15th, 2005, 11:16 AM
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Chris Klapwijk Chris Klapwijk is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

I have some doubts air-layering will succeed with this plant.
Nolina recurvata, formerly known as Beaucarnea recurvata, is usually propagated from seed or basal offsets.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 01:47 PM
TexasGrandma62 TexasGrandma62 is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

Chris, thanks for your info. My concern is not so much for being able to save the top, but to continue it's life. (I'd love to save the top if I could) It cannot live outside during the winter, and it grows at least an inch during the summer. It needs to be cut down to get back into the house when it gets cold.

My concern is how can cut the top off, without killing the plant.

I'd appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks. Tex
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Old May 16th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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Chris Klapwijk Chris Klapwijk is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

This picture from a previous post indicates it has the capacity to regenerate multiple tops. I suspect you might be able to keep it to a single top if so desired by removing all unwanted growth.

Without foliage the plant will not transpire so keep the plant very dry until new growth has been well established.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 02:24 PM
jblock jblock is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

Hi,
I also have a Ponytail Palm that is over 30 years old. I live in Florida, where the ponytail has lived outdoors in a pot. It has been repoted many times and now is too tall. I was wondering if you were able to cut the top of your tree without destroying the whole plant? Thanks so much for your help as we will be moving and the plant is too tall.
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Old April 14th, 2006, 03:11 AM
fizzgig02 fizzgig02 is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

I too have a ponytail palm it is 3.5 feet tall and is begining to have some problems. The leaves at the top in the middle are turning brown and are stopping new growth from starting. Since the rest of the palm is in good health can I cut the top off without killing the rest of the palm? I am getting ready to repot the palm into a bigger pot and should I wait to see what happens before I do cut the top off or take some other drastic measure to save my palm? I will post a picture of what my ponytail palm looks like since I have yet to see one like it. I hope that someone can help me in my quest to preserve this treasure.
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Old August 10th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

Hi,
I just wanted to let you know a couple months ago I did cut off the top of my pony tail tree. I am so happy to report that it worked! There have been several new shoots growing from the top of the plant. It took at least a couple of months before there was any growth. This plant is potted sitting outdoors. Since I live in Florida, I just leave the plant outside all year.
After I cut off the top, I put melted wax on the area where it was cut. I did this because I had seen some protective covering on a bonsia pony tail plant that I had.
Joyce
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Old August 11th, 2006, 10:23 AM
branwyn branwyn is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

okay, so I'm going to cut it. I'll seal it with wax, cuz it probably can't hurt, right? Then, what I need to know here, and it probably sounds goofy to ask this, do I just use my pruning shears and cut? Then, well, I'm still not clear as to whether I can save the top...should I just pot it and give it a chance? Or like an ivy maybe, try to root it in water? Argh! This was his plant before he got me, and I don't want to kill it!
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Old August 16th, 2006, 11:44 AM
jblock jblock is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

Hi,
I used a saw to cut the top of my pony tail because it was so thick. I had asked several places also about saving the top of the plant. Everyone said that it would not grow after being cut. I know, I felt so bad throwing away the top as I wanted to also save it. When you cut yours off, be patient as it takes several weeks to see new growth.
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Old August 27th, 2006, 07:43 AM
snake31 snake31 is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

Hi, I am in Tucson and also have a ponytail palm that I had a little trouble with, the crown died and no new growth. I saw your post and decided to cut the top off with a saw. Amazing 8 newgrowth tops came in at 2 weeks. It was 6 feet tall I cut off half, and I was left with a 3 foot stalk with a dead crown. I cut the top off and stuck the rest in the dirt next to the mother. Same amazing results, 8 newgrowth crowns on it. Since I have repotted the 2 footer also had many more crowns on the mother. Took 2 of the crowns and stuck them in the dirt, has been 1 week and they are not wilted yet. I hope this makes it to you in time to save the top. I think it will grow by just sticking it in the dirt. Good Luck. Snake31
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Old August 27th, 2006, 05:20 PM
jblock jblock is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

Hi,
That is just amazing that your top did grow. I had asked a couple of plant experts and they said the top wouldn't grow if planted. I am now sorry that I did not try to see if it would grow-Sadly, I threw the top away. Please keep us posted how yours does grow. It is great to learn something new each day!! I am so happy though that my pony tail's new growth keeps growing. Every day, I look to see how it is growing.
Joyce
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Old August 27th, 2006, 05:44 PM
mari mari is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

I have a pony tail palm that doesn't have any roots...someone gave it to me a few days ago...has anyone had any luck growing one with o roots???????
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Old August 28th, 2006, 12:49 PM
Tasi Tasi is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

I'm so excited to hear that I can cut the top off of my ponytail palm. Mine is about 8 feet tall and I've had to stake it because it was falling over. Wish me luck!!!!!!
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Old February 20th, 2007, 10:04 AM
Preston00 Preston00 is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

After finding and reading this post, I just wanted to let readers know that I cut the top off my palm and it worked! Not only did I get a new growth shoot out of the side of my original palm plant, but I replanted to the top and that, too, grew roots! I cut off about 6 feet and then put wax over the top of the cut site. With the top I cut off, I cut off another 2 feet to shorten it and dipped it in an ample amount of rooting powder and placed it in a medium size pot of pumice and soil. After about 2 weeks, it looked as though the top might not make it; some of the lower leaves turned brown but I didn't dare pull it out of the pot. I waited another couple weeks and to my dismay, my new pupply knocked over the plant. I didn't notice any new roots, but the top area where new leaves grow out of was still green and appeared vital. So, I again placed plenty of rooting powder on the bottom tip and repotted. After another month, it remained alive. So I carefully pulled the repotted top out of the soil and there were 4 new, stumpy roots that had grown! Meanwhile, the original plant was starting to grow a shoot out the side! Now after 3 months from the original cutting, the cut-off top is in my bathroom and thriving, and the original bottom has a shoot out the side that is about 2 inches long!
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Old February 27th, 2007, 02:07 PM
Tasi Tasi is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

Thank you so much for your advice. What kind of wax do you use though?
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Old March 1st, 2007, 05:18 AM
Preston00 Preston00 is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

I just used regular candle wax. I'm not even sure if it is absolutely necessary but just did it after reading some various online posts. I think an important thing to remember is to just be patient and realize it might take up to 2 to 3 months before you see signs of growth on the side. Best of luck with yours!
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Old March 1st, 2007, 08:43 AM
Tasi Tasi is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

Thanks!
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 07:17 AM
gigglesflutterbye gigglesflutterbye is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

I too have a ponytail palm.... it was my grandmothers for the last 30 -35 years. It was very beautiful untill this last year when a wasp nest full of wasps decided to inhabit my tree. Well I was so afraid (which now I wish I was so afraid) I used a wasp spray to kill the wasp and it killed my ponytail. I love this tree, it stands about 8-9 ft tall. Just recently it started growing babies from the bottom of the tree. I have been reading here in forum that you can cut the top off. What should I use to do this.... the truck is about the size of a soda can. I am willing to try anything to restore it to health. how far down the trunk should I cut off the top. (mind you the strands from the top have browned on the inside.) Im frightened but it does appear to still have a desire to live. Any cutting advise and tips would be appriciated. And I will try the wax.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

I haven't cut mine yet...I think within the next couple of weeks I'm going to bite the bullet and go for it! Good luck with yours too!!! I think I'm just going to cut it in half (it's about 6 feet tall) and keep my fingers crossed.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 06:43 PM
dmyounger dmyounger is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

To all who are curious about cutting the ponytail palm. Mine is approximately 15 years old and was too big to get into the house in the winter. I finally took a pair of lopping shears and cut it about 16 inches from the base. I took candle wax and drizzled it over the top but the sun ended up melting it off. It has been about 4 months and I have 6 beautiful new shoots. I didn't do anything with the trunk and it looks like it is going to make it. Good luck to all who tries....it was so easy.
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Old April 1st, 2008, 07:15 AM
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

When did you cut the top off? Summer,spring or fall? I have a ponytail that is to tall and going to do this. My main problem right now is it has out grown it's pot, and I haven't found a pot big enough to put it in. It is about 8 ft tall.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 09:39 AM
markinwestmich markinwestmich is offline
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Re: Pony Tail Palm: How Do I Cut The Top???

You will likely have your best success in early Spring, just before the active growing season.

Check out the thread "How to grow multiple trunks on a ponytail palm". This may answer a few questions.
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