jerry10s4s

Bismark Palm problems

jerry10s4s
January 4, 2006

I have a Bismark Palm that was transplanted about three months ago and had looked healthy until the last two weeks. Some of the fronds on the lower branches are turning brownish and dying. The tips of the upper branches(fronds) also look brown. The tree was quite large when transplanted, about 18 inches in diameter, and did extremely well until now. I live in southwest Florida in the Port Charlotte area. I would appreciate any advice on treating this condition

Comments (59)

  • rumrunner131_tampabay_rr_com

    i also have a new transplant with a fungus on one frone and seems to be spreading hopefully its only shock but what is the term "meristem" mean as i dont know alot about planting in general

  • leeandmarge_embarqmail_com

    Our Bismark Silver Palm has grown very large in 10 years. Now it is "weeping" and has a bad rotting odor. It's been such a beautiful tree-we hate to lose it. Is there any treatment for this?

  • willeyhome_clearwire_net

    We just returned from a 2-week vacation to find one of our 2 10-year old Bismark Palms 'dying'. The first one is very healthy and looks fine. The second one has fronds that look like they are dried up, the trunk looks black, and there is an odor about the tree. Since they are impervious to bugs, are salt tolerant, and have been not been transplanted - what is happening? We don't want to lose this beauty - did you find a solution to your Bismark?

  • david_

    Try mixing up some copper and pouring into the crown. Wait and see if it helps. Cold or cool temps combined with water in the winter sometimes causes fungus in the crown.

  • nanamama0008

    Our Bismarck Palm is dying. Fronds are yellowing and we have cut the lower ones off. There is another stem coming up now ,but the last stem that opened was already pale green and eventually turned yellow. There is no bug infestation nor mold. It is an established tree, not a transplant. It was easily 15 feet high, probably ,12 or more feet across and approx. 7 years old. Now we have about ,,5 fronds left on it, plus the new stem which is growing steadily. It was magnificent to look at now we are losing it. PLEASE help, I love this tree so much, what can we do,?

  • palmbob

    where are you and how cold has it gotten there? How much have you been watering it?

  • Myrna Alward

    I have a Bismark Palm and it's been growing in my lawn for about nine years now....My husband and I watered it well till it settled and fed it when couple of times a year during spring, summer and fall.....After nine (9) years it is finally producing blossoms and fruit....Care is similar to other palms with an spray of iron once a year.....It's doing very well. It also seems to like an occasional shower with the hose...

  • nanamama0008

    We are in South West Florida. The coldest it has been was in the 40s at night for a few hours. That is actually cooler than normal. Was watering twice a week except when it is very hot, then water either early morning or after sunset about 4 times a week. Thanks for any help you can offer.

  • palmbob

    No idea… photo? that sounds like a great climate for Bismarckia… but it sounds pretty sick.

  • nanamama0008

    Will post picture tomorrow. Thanks for your interest, it's really appreciated.

  • nanamama0008

    This the requested picture of my bizmark tree


  • palmbob

    Wow, that sure looks nitrogen deficient… never seen a yellow Bismarckia! Definitely fertilize that plant… carefully but maybe a bit more often than normal (being 4-5x a year in Florida).

  • nanamama0008

    Thank you so much, hopefully that will help. I' all do whatever it takes to try to save it. In your opinion, if I get lucky, is it still possible to bring it back? I appreciate your advice. Will sign in again to let you all know how its going.

  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

    Make sure to water deeply before each fertilizer application.

  • tkimberlie

    I have a mature Bismarck palm that, over the last month, has lost about 10 of its lower fronds. It has healthy fruit and new growth on top, but continues to lose fronds at the bottom. Have treated for weevils, but none have appeared. We're perplexed. Any idea?


  • tkimberlie

    A close up of the trunk (sorry pics are sideways! can't figure out how to fix)


  • theseventhlegend

    As others have stated, fertilize your Bismarck nanamama. You should be able to save it.

  • nanamama0008

    Fertilized and fingers are crossed.. New growth coming up, must wait until it opens completely to see if its green, or yellow like the last one. Thank you so much for the help and concern. Will check in to let you know how it's doing. By the way, what does the fruit from the Bismarck palm look like. We havent seen fruit on it yet. Thanks again!

  • tropicbreezent

    They're largish, around golfball size.


  • nanamama0008

    Thank you : )

  • tropicbreezent

    I found one of my photos of Bismarkia fruiting, or just about finished. A lot of the fruit had fallen already.


  • nanamama0008

    Thanks so much! I've never seen one with fruit before. Still have fingers crossed for our tree. Trying hard, will keep everyone posted.

  • palmbob

    Here's a few shots of Bismarckia fruits

    Bismarckia fruits

    females in fruit

    Remember, if you want fruits on your palm, it needs to be a female (and having a a male around is the only way they will produce viable seeds)

  • nanamama0008

    I don't know if ours is male or female. It certainly is something to see a Bismarck bearing fruit, have never seen that before! I will be more than thrilled just to get this one back to health, although I do refer to it as "She" : ). New growth appears to be green so far, not fully open. Do we need to remove yellow fronds or leave them be. To Palmbob and everyone else who offered much needed advice, THANK YOU all!

    Nanamama

  • palmbob

    leave fronds on until they turn brown, ideally

  • nanamama0008

    Once again, thank you so much!

  • Cosmo

    Palms, unlike trees do not produce woody roots that branch. A palm has what is called a Root Initiation Zone (RIZ). All of the palms roots initiate from, for lack of better words, the bottom of the palm. You can see the RIZ on some poorly containerized or planted palms. Each palm species has unique RIZ characteristics. When a Sabal is transplanted every root that is damaged dies back to the RIZ and only needs a big enough root ball to protect the RIZ. This why you see enormous Sabals with tiny root balls. Juveniles have not yet developed an RIZ and die when transplanted since all the roots die back. Another reason why mature Sabals are the only ones available as B&B. Also there is very little to no response to rooting hormones to enhance root development.

    Each palm species is different. Some benefit from a larger root since damaged roots heal and new ones are formed and others heal the roots and branch. What is uniform for nearly all transplanted palms is a reduction of fronds and the use of anti-transpirant on the remaining foliage and frequent irrigation for an entire year. Protection of the growth point from water, sun protection with 25% shade cloth and no fertilizer until the palm is producing spears on a regular basis. Fertilizer increase water demand by the plant; the plant is already having a problem with the damaged root system; fertilizing a transplanted palm or any plant with a compromised root system can put it enough water stress to kill it.


    For those that don't think I know what I'm talking about here is a link.


    Layman's link that specifically addresses your palm

    http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/19/4/686.full


    Very technical link

    http://ucanr.org/sites/ucceventura/files/35922.pdf

  • Jilliana Schep-Zikos

    Thank you for your excellent help, I also found the articles useful

  • mzletty618

    I bought and planted this palm tree we tight it so it could grow in place straight but now this happened!!..what can i do?!?.

  • tropicbreezent

    If you can pull the centre out then it's really dead. Sorry to say, but it doesn't look good. Was it growing in a pot/bag when you bought it or was it in the ground?

  • mzletty618

    The center s not dead..but i believe they keep breaking because we tight it around the same area it keeps breaking!.they ate growing green but they break..what can i do?

  • tropicbreezent

    I'm not sure what you mean. But the spear (the young unopened centre fronds) can stay green for a while when the plant is actually dead. If you try pulling gently on the spear you'll see. If the spear is okay, you could get a long piece of wood and tie it to the thick part of the trunk in a couple of places. This will hold it steady and then you can straighten the spear and tie it to the wood to hold it upright. Don't tie it too tight. After that you just have to wait to see if it will grow. That might take a long time.

  • mzletty618

    Thank you!

  • devilfan923

    Hey everyone. I have had this beautiful tree in front of my house for about eight years. Today 7/15/17 I noticed that it has started to look like this. I did notice about a month ago the tree was loaded with bees and when I took off a few dying fronds, I then noticed a nest of these really large ants. I need some advice or help. I am in southwest Florida (North Port), and for the last month we have had a ton of rain. So lack of watering shouldn't be an issue. I think?


  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    Looks like the crown had some rot. The Ant's nest kept it too wet. Clean it out with a strong water spray..and douse it with Hydrogen Peroxide. Otherwise I think you got it in time.

  • devilfan923

    Thank you. I'll try It

  • joanangela24

    Help, someone, please - My Bismark is doing something no-one else has described. Planted Jan. 18, 2018. Lost lower fronds that simply wilted, went from green to dark brown like a typical plant leaf would do. But now the fronds are remaining upright, turning beige from the tips inward, and finally turning all beige and stiffening to a wood like consistency. Also, there are small black specks on the fronds which could look like a fungus.

  • HU-366983482155

    I wish I would have found this forum sooner . For the last year my Bismarck Palm has had what I now know to be the fruits growing off the bark. But as of lately the tree has been dying and has an odor. I have two other trees right next to these and they don’t look all so well. Stupid me assumed it was the “fruits” as this is the first year we have seen them on the palm. So we just have the palm a massive hair cut and removed all the fruits. We honestly thought the “fruits” were something poisonous taking over the tree. Please tell me we didn’t just kill our tree.


    (Side note, we are not tree people. We purchased the house with a ton of fruit trees and we’re just trying to keep them alive. We are trying our best)

  • tropicbreezent

    You won't kill the palm by taking off the fruit, or some of the leaves. But what you say about the tree "dying and has an odor" sounds pretty bad. The smell could be coming from rot in the top of the plant, something which can happen to palms. It's called crown rot and it's where the new leaf (spear) emerges out of the top of the plant. If that's the case, you can pull on the spear and it will come out. People pour antifungal mixes into the top of palms to try and cure this, there's no guarantee of success.

  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    Palms have no smell unless its from bacterial rot. A photo would greatly help.

  • HU-366983482155

    Thank you. I will post a picture when I get home.

  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    My gut reaction is it has a fungus problem from too much water. Look at the black soot on the trunk. If that's not caused by aphids or mealy bugs..then its a too wet situation. Does your irrigation hit the trunk?..that would keep it too wet.

    You might remove the grass under it also..helping to keep the tree's base dry. Also..you might be removing fronds too soon,damaging the trunk.

    The smell is rot..so I would try a fungal spray for palms. Maybe pour hydrogen peroxide into the crown to keep that from being infected.

  • HU-558534734

    I have 5 Bismark palms in my yard in central Florida.

    The largest looks like the top is falling off and I don't know what, if anything, can be done. I hope whatever caused this doesn't spread to the other palms. Any suggestions?

  • tropicbreezent

    That one does look too far gone to do anything for it. It looks like it might be more than just rot. There are insects (beetles) which lay eggs in palms and the larvae eat their way through the crown of the plant. That does allow water into the top/crown and rot begins as a secondary issue. Most single trunked palms don't recover from that, and I'm sure that includes Bismarckias. If it is the insect larvae then the other palms are also at risk. Check with a reliable local nursery to find out what they would recommend as a suitable insecticide.

  • HU-558534734

    Thank you. I was afraid that might be the case. I'll check with a nursery like you suggested.

  • HU-940851141

    I have several Bismarcks that are yellowing/browning and have their branches crumpling up. They are planted in bags in field along with others that are growing perfectly. The newest leaves have half the diammeter of a healthy leaf. Great thread by the way.


  • Monique Ross

    We purchased a Bismark palm in March. In full transparency we planted it and were told by an expert we planted it too deep. We pulled the dirt away And WaterEd every day for weeks and really have given it a lot of attention. And while we lost a lot of frons in the process it still had a crown so we thought everything was turning around. But our poor frons are so droopy. We thought maybe



    we needed to support it but everything I have seen looks like it is supporting the trunk. Our trunk is straight. Are we over reacting or does anybody have pictures to share of how to best support this tree?

  • stanofh 10a Hayward,Ca S.F. bay area

    Get some rebar or wood ..and stake it up straight muy pronto!..it still looks like it has a fighting chance. Ordinarily I would say it's badly rotted..or somebody fell on it . But the color looks good..maybe a last minute help in the vertical department can pull it through.

    One last..if it is rot? Pour Hydrogen Peroxide AND still stake it.

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