Brown Palm Frond Tips & Other Palm Problems

Avoid Palm Brown Frond Tips aka Frizzletop

Brown palm frond tips, called “frizzle top” on new growth, are a cause for concern for newly planted palm species. Palms depending on size, are often pricey and a prized addition to a homeowners landscape plant collection. As popular palm species originate in all sorts of environments, from deserts to river banks and rainforests, keeping a thriving palm collection requires some knowledge of their specific variety requirements. The slow growth rate in palms coincides with an equally slow display of outward signs problems such as brown palm frond tips. For your palm to flourish it needs the right climate, water, and nutrition free of disease otherwise brown palm frond tips and other problems appear.

When planting your palm, make sure the root ball is placed at the surface or slightly above, not completed buried. Burying the rootball too deep can result in water and iron deficiencies in the palm and brown palm frond tips. In addition, the amount of sun they receive and climate is essential to your palm’s long-term health. Some palms prefer direct sun, others indirect sunlight. High humidity is typically preferred but not something you can only control for container palms indoors.

Too much and too little watering will cause brown palm frond tips. Typically palms prefer moist, well-draining soil. Too much water in poorly draining soil can cause root rot, whereas too little water in sandy soil can also harm your palm. Know the specific requirements of your palm as some such as the Everglades palms and mangrove fan palms grow naturally along river banks and water bodies. In contrast, Bismarck’s palms are extremely drought tolerant doing well in dry heat, desert-like conditions.

Sandy Northeast Florida soil is susceptible to mineral deficiencies negatively impacting palms. These minerals include boron, calcium, iron, magnesium, nitrogen, and potassium. “Magnesium deficiency is very common on highly leached soils in Florida, Hawaii, and other tropical areas,” according to the University of Florida. “It can also occur in container-grown palms if dolomitic limestone has not been added to the substrate. Also, since palms may remain in a container for up to a year or longer, any added dolomite is usually exhausted after six months or so with Mg deficiency symptoms becoming visible as a result. Most species of palms are susceptible to Mg deficiency to some degree, but Phoenix canariensis is by far the most susceptible species to this disorder.

Temperature, pH and certain soil amendments in the soil can result in a deficiency of magnesium that also resultw in frizzle top systems in a variety of palms in Northeast Florida. “Manganese deficiency is very common on alkaline soils, but can occur in containers if drainage is poor or soil temperatures are cool,” according to the University of Florida. “Most species of palms can be affected, but Syagrus romanzoffiana (queen palm), Roystonea regia, (royal palm), Acoelorrhaphe wrightii (paurotis palm), Phoenix roebelenii (pygmy date palm), and Elaeis guineensis (African oil palm) are particularly susceptible.”

Review our fertilizing palms video for specific nutritional tips.

Pests including weevils & root rot are often associated with increased stress in newly planted palms. However, in most scenarios, the pruning of your palm should remain the same whether it is healthy or not, considering the plant redirects nutrition from diminishing fronds to elsewhere in the plant. Review our palm pruning video for specific directions on proper palm pruning.

Earth Works has a variety of palm nutritional products and fungicides that will benefit their health. To diagnose the specific cause of brown palm frond tips and other palm problems, take pictures and contact your helpful Earth Works garden center staff.

Plus, remember that for comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden and landscaping need contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online and at 904-996-0712.
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Happy Gardening!