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Palm trees are one of the plants we grow that homeowners believe are drought tolerant and basically trouble free. In fact, many of the varieties of palms we grow here in central Floridaincluding our state tree, the Sabal Palm, are trouble free and easy to maintain in most landscapes. However, few of us are able to recognize even the few minor problems these trees do have. This week I would like to go over some of the more common varieties of palms we grow and the problems associated with them. I will also describe easy to recognize symptoms of problems your trees may be displaying and how to correct these problems. Along the way, I will also point out a few problems that can not be corrected. Most of the information I give you today will enable you to look at your palms and notice immediate problems. Some of these problems may or may not require you to do something to correct the problem, so let’s get started.  

            Since we mentioned the Sabal palm above let us start here. Sabal palms are very common and most of these trees grow with few problems in the landscape. Unfortunately, Sabal palms are susceptible to a weevil (Rynchophorus cruetatus) that attacks the bud of the palm. The bud is the central internal growth point where all new fronds are initiated. Weevils are large beetles that are drawn to palms which are stressed from lack of nutrients or during transport of freshly dug trees. Adult female weevils can sense a trees distress and have been seen swarming trees being shipped to nurseries for resale. Weevils lay their eggs at the base of the frond and as these eggs hatch, they burrow into the heart of the palm eventually killing the tree.

             You may have noticed dead palms in the past where the entire top of the tree had bent over. This is a characteristic of the after effects of weevils feeding on the bud. This feeding disrupts the flow of nutrients to the fronds and eventually the entire crown of the tree falls over. In the pest control business we call this “Deadheading” of palms. Sabal palms, Washingtonia palms, and Canary Island Date palms are most often attacked by these weevils. Because homeowners tend to remove the lower fronds of these trees through regular maintenance, make it a habit to look at the cut end of the boot of the frond. If you notice a large hole in the cut end the size of your thumb, your tree may be infested. This may be the only sign you see before your tree succumbs to this pest. Call a pest control company to spray your tree if you suspect you have these weevils.

            Nutrient deficiencies are another common problem on many of our backyard palm trees. Although these problems are few and easy to correct over time, proper identification is necessary to correct these problems. If you have a Queen palm or a Cycad palm (technically not a palm) in your yard, you need to pay special attention to the new growth coming out of the top of the tree. If the new growth or fronds appearance seems necrotic or yellow in appearance and this growth appears to be crinkled or stunted you may have a problem called “Frizzle Top”.

             Frizzle top is caused by a deficiency of Manganese (Mn) in the palm. Manganese deficiencies can be found in many species of palms but the most common cultivars are Queen, Cycad, Paurotis, and Royal palms. To correct this problem you need to apply Manganese sulfate which can be purchased at most local garden centers or you may use a palm tree fertilizer that contains Manganese around the base of the tree. Do not apply fertilizers by hand or directly next to the trunk but rather by using a hand held spreader. Apply three to five pounds of fertilizer with manganese around the tree making sure you stay at least two feet away from the trunk and spread fertilizer evenly up to ten feet away. For trees that are next to a water source or there is not enough room to apply a fertilizer, injection of these micro-nutrients is possible. Re-apply additional fertilizer every three months and allow at least three to four months for the tree to respond to the nutrients.

            Date palms and especially the Canary Island Date Palm (or Pineapple Palm as some people like to call it) are susceptible to a Magnesium (Mg not Mn) deficiency.  Symptoms of this deficiency are a yellowing of the older leaves on the palm starting from the bottom up. In severe cases, the tip ends of these fronds look necrotic in appearance. Many homeowners trim the lower fronds of these trees off because of the yellowing appearance thinking the fronds are dying or just old. As these lower fronds are removed from the tree, the tree continues to pull magnesium from the remaining fronds and directs this element to the new growth. I have seen many of these trees die from being over-pruned simply from the lack of a minor element. Apply five to seven pounds of a palm tree fertilizer containing Magnesium around the base of the tree following the guidelines above. Repeat applications every three months and allow three to four months during the growing season to correct this problem.

            Potassium (K) deficiencies cause spotting and frizzling of the older lower leaves of palms, especially the Pygmy Island Date palm (Phoenixroebelenii). Sometimes these lower fronds will appear to look like they are dying or they may take on yellow, orange, or brown colored margins. Many Pygmy Date palms have been lost due to homeowners thinking the palms were diseased and then they either had the palm removed or trimmed so badly the tree could not recover. As the deficiency increases, even the new growth can become deformed. Although the Pygmy palm is usually the main host for this problem, all palms are susceptible to this deficiency. To correct this apply an 8-10-10 palm tree fertilizer with Mg around each tree in the amounts outlined above. Remember, shrubs and palms need time to absorb the nutrients applied to the soil. These nutrients must then be delivered to all parts of the plant and this process takes time to occur. You should start to see results based on the time frames listed above.

            Some palms develop cracks or splits on the trunk and for some palms this is normal but vertical fissures which appear seemingly out of nowhere are usually an indication of either a lack of water or possibly too much water. I have seen some palms which were planted too deeply also develop cracks on the trunk. To control this problem homeowners should maintain adequate moisture at all times around their palms through the means of an irrigation system or by hand watering if necessary. Filling in the fissures is not necessary however; if the crack is deep enough you could spray the trunk of the palm with copper to reduce the incidence of fungus.  

            Another problem you may have noticed on palms is called trunk constriction. Trunk constriction of palms is caused by irregular fertilization or environmental conditions such as stresses placed on the tree due to freezes or drought conditions. Normally palm stems will increase their diameter before they elongate. If one or more of the conditions mentioned here takes place, the palm may fail to grow the same size as the previous growth cycle. This results in the trunk displaying its history of growth from years past. Many smooth-trunked palms will show several areas along the trunk which were either smaller or larger in diameter depending upon the growing conditions at that time. There is no way to correct previous year’s growth patterns.

            Leaf spot diseases on palms can cause serious damage if left untreated. Sometimes, these leaf spots are hard to find or spot but there is a trick to identifying these problems early allowing you to properly treat the palm as necessary. As you inspect your palms for leaf spot diseases, you will need to cut a frond from the tree or hold the frond between yourself and a light source. Look through the palm leaf and you may notice the first signs of many of our leaf spot diseases which will appear as brown, gray, gold, or black irregular spots inside the leaf. If you notice and of these you should apply a fungicide such as copper or “Daconil” to control these diseases before you have damage or leaf loss.

            Palm trees are easy to care for when you know what to look for and what to do when you identify a problem. The items I listed here are only a few of the problems I look for but should be a good starting point for you and your garden. Thanks for your time and remember, without plants we would not be here!


  1. Tenerife amigo
    January 12, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Well detailed article and very educational.

    • Mark Govan
      August 24, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks for the nice comments! Please check out my blog for more articles at Thanks!

      • Michael, Tpa, Fl
        November 11, 2016 at 7:13 pm

        Hi, Mark. Can you help me identify the trouble with several queen palms I have? From reading your post, I believe it’s likely a manganese deficiency. They have become very small (trunk diameter), and trees sppear to be dying. Also trouble with stunted fawns (new fawns are only about 3′ long, but should be 10′ long) on this c date palm.

        • Mark Govan
          November 16, 2016 at 3:50 pm

          I would start an intensive feeding program with a quality palm tree fertilizer which contains Man and Mag, Boron, and Zinc. Treat lightly every month. It will take several 6-9 months for the fertilizer to work so be patient! Send me pics in March!

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  3. Lisa
    August 30, 2015 at 2:35 am

    I have a pigmy date palm outside my new house and it has all of the “buds” growing around it. I tried to remove them (they look awful and messy) but have not been successful. Help! I am ready to chop the tree down because it looks so bad at the bottom! Ideas?

    • Mark Govan
      August 31, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Lisa, I am suspecting the palm you purchased has started to produce an additional head at the base of the plant. Normally, these will grow in unison with the parent plant. I suspect, the grower cut off one or two of the heads that were produced when the plant started to grow. These pups are just now starting to regrow. You could leave them alone and they will eventually form additional heads or you can keep on trimming them back as you have been doing. I know you probably want a single stemmed plant but over time the palm will look nice if you just let them go! Good Luck!

      • Jeanna
        July 19, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Mark, I have a majesty palm tree and I have noticed that some of the stem bend in the middle and become limp. Am I overwatering my tree? The stem, or the leaves do not die when bent over though.

        • Mark Govan
          August 1, 2016 at 2:19 pm

          Sorry for the late comments, I was in Hawaii the last two weeks! If you are growing your palm in a pot you may need to re-pot the plant into a larger container. Many people like to grow these plants inside the home but I prefer them to be outside or planted in the landscape. I don’t believe you are over-watering the plant, but I have seen some people over-pot their plant and then the water applied to he plant has nowhere to go which could cause the plant to bend over. If your container is too big for the plant, then water could be causing the problem. Also, If the plant is inside the home, you should probably mist the plant regularly. Please send pictures next time as this would help me. Thanks!

  4. David
    September 9, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Great info. I’ve got a foxtail that is wonderfully green and regularly putting up new growth- but recently all of the new fronds are limp… the whole tree looks saggy. One frond came out and was so limp it’s just bent in half… now just hanging there. It has not turned brown yet – despite it having been that way for several weeks. The trunk of this tree has vertical cracks, while the three neighboring foxtails do not and they are putting up firm fronds, though their growth rates vary. These trees are planted in a concrete walkway, with just a 36″ circle of dirt that they are planted in, each with a drip/bubbler at the base. Any idea what this is? Too much water for this fella maybe?

    • Mark Govan
      September 11, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      Vertical fissures or cracks in the stem of the plant are usually associated with either too much or too little water. Planting too deep and or cold damage can also be a factor. The new fronds that you describe as wilting can be attributed to water problems too. If you tug on the frond does it pull out? If it does or if the frond is cut and you see a discoloration in the tissue or notice a foul smell you may have a root rot problem. Photos would have helped me. You can always send them to my email address at Hope this Helps!

  5. Joel Van Deven
    October 11, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I have a pigmy date palm that bark is falling off. Is the tree dying?

    • Mark Govan
      October 12, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      I sure would like to see a photo of your plant. Is there any way you can send me a photo of the plant to look at. I would like one or two close up if possible. My email address is You can also visit my blog for more plant info at

      • Joel VanDeven
        October 13, 2015 at 1:45 pm

        I just sent you the pictures you requested.

        • Mark Govan
          October 13, 2015 at 1:48 pm

          I’m still waiting for it!

          • Joel VanDeven
            October 13, 2015 at 2:09 pm

            I had to verify the email.

    October 25, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    We noticed our Sabal palms which were transplanted 1 year,ago August. They range in size 7,8, and 9 ft tall. The tips of the leaves about 6 inches look frizzled and dried. They were fed Palm food with magnesium sulfate. What could be the problem ?

    • Mark Govan
      October 26, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      If the problem you are describing is on the lower fronds and the tips of the leaflets are dried yet the midrib is green, then you have a potassium and magnesium deficiency in the palm. Palms need to be fertilized every three months with an 8-0-10 granular palm tree fertilizer that contains manganese and magnesium. Each of your trees will need 3-4 pounds of fertilizer on each application. You may also consider treating them with Techmag. Techmag is a powdered product you mix with water and then pour around the base of the palm. Use 5 pounds per a five gallon bucket and mix until dissolved. Next pour around each tree. Techmag is available at most garden centers. Once these products are applied you will need to be patient! Normal time for these products to make a change in the plant is 6-8 months! Do Not remove the lower fronds even if they look bad as they are a source of food for the tree. Hope this Helps!

  7. beth
    October 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I planted three foxtail palms about two years ago. Two look fantastic and one of the palms is dying. I noticed a little pin hole in the bottom of the trunk where something is burrowing. I have added fertilizer and have been watering, but after two weeks there isn’t any change. Do you have any idea’s as to what might be wrong.

    • Mark Govan
      October 29, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Check out page 6 of the link I am sending and let me know if this is what you have.

      We can treat this for you if this is what you have call ABC Pest Control at 727 546-8787

      • beth
        October 30, 2015 at 12:15 pm

        Mark, I have a pest company that comes so I felt I had to call them first. With the tree being as young as it is, the cost to treat was more than purchasing a new palm. Thank you for your help in Identifying what my problem was.

  8. Dennis
    November 2, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I have a large Canary Island date palm that has suddenly had the whole top fronds kind of lay over. This happened pretty suddenly.
    Any ideas.

    • Mark Govan
      November 2, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Not Good! This is usually a sign that you have Canary Island Date Palm Weevils. You need to have your palm treated immediately! Call ABC Pest Control at 727 546-8787 for a free quote.

  9. Belinda
    November 11, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    I have a large palm tree that has a large 3″ X 5″ hole burrowed into the truck. The shavings from the hole are on the ground. Any idea what could be inside? There is an older hole about the same size on the other side but higher up that I just noticed also.

    • Mark Govan
      November 11, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      The burrowing you are seeing could be from a multitude of different animals or birds. Just to make sure could you send me a photo to my email at What to do with the hole… Do not fill it in. Palms can live with multiple holes in the tree as this will not disrupt the vasculsr bundles of roots that give nutrients to the tree. You may want to spray the holes with copper to make sure that no rot or decay is starting. Hope this Helps!

  10. Marg Schroeder
    January 17, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    We have a Royal Palm and the fronds are not draping but are all bunched up. So when the wind blows hard, the fronds are snapping off, why?

  11. Susan
    February 8, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    We have an elephant palm that is rather large. It was planted too close to the concrete driveway, and over the years has grown to where it is over the top of the driveway a bit. My husband has been concerned about it damaging our concrete. If he would “trim” the trunk to make sure it isn’t pushing on the concrete, would it kill the tree? And, if that is done, should we cover the trimmed area with tree sealant or just leave alone to see if it can heal??

    • Mark Govan
      February 9, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      I would sure like to see a photo of the tree to help me in my decision. Could you send me a photo to my email address

  12. Patti
    February 24, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I had a triple foxtail planted 2 years ago. One of the 3 died over the summer while i was away. Now a second is dying. The whole trunk is getting smaller in diameter, and tho it still send up new spikes, they are yellowish. I fertilied, it is on adrip irrigation system.
    So far, the 3rd looks ok, but they share a root ball…

    • Mark Govan
      February 24, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Patti, Foxtails are temperamental, especially those grown in our area. Some trees get too cold and die, others are planted in the wrong site and do not get the nutrients they need. If the trunk is getting smaller, this tells me you are severely under-fertilizing the tree. Trunk constriction is an indication of too little fertilizer. You should be treating your tree with an 8-10-10- palm tree fertilizer which contains additional Manganese and Magnesium. Most average sized trees require 4-5 pounds every 2 months spread out under the drip line of the palm with a hand-held rotary fertilizer spreader. You should also be adding additional Manganese and Magnesium sulfate every three months. 5-7 pounds in a 5 gallon water jug poured around the base of the tree until gone. If you start my program now, your tree should start to show results in 6 months. You could also have this service provided to you through my company ABC Pest Control, call 727 546-8787 for a quote. Hope this Helps!

  13. Michael
    March 10, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I planted 4 foxtails last spring and one of them does not look good. The newest leaf has turned brown and dying and the spear is loose, I was able to pull out some of it but not all the way. I placed fertilizer spikes around it a week ago and I am thinking about treating it with copper fungicide. Do you have any other recommendations to save this foxtail or is it too late?

    • Mark Govan
      March 14, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Although foxtails are very attractive trees in our area they do have problems. Cold and diseases take their toll on these trees. Your description of the new spear leaf turning brown and you were able to dislodge it is not a good sign. The spear leaf emanates from the growth portion or bud of the tree. When this dies the tree dies too! This could be attributed to the cold winter or a disease. I would go ahead and treat the tree with copper and see if that will help, but I don not think it will. You mentioned putting fertilizer stakes around the tree. I prefer using a granular palm tree fertilizer every two months that contains additional manganese and magnesium. An average tree will take about 2-3 pounds applied around the drip-line of each tree every three months. Trees are slow to show improvement so don’t be surprised when you have to wait 6 months for the fertilizer to start working. I hope this Helps!

  14. Will
    April 13, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    In Brisbane, AU many of the landscape management companies put tight cable ties around the top of palm trees to prevent fronds falling off. Will this cause health problems for the palms?
    Thanks, Will

    • Mark Govan
      April 15, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Restricting the movement of palms or trees can weaken the limbs or trunks of trees and palms making them susceptible to high winds which can cause breakage. Can you send me some photos of this practice? I do no recommend this practice. Hope this Helps!

  15. Robert
    April 24, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I bought a palmetto palm about a month ago. I am noticing that the center fronds are turning brown and drying out. Is this tree dying?

    • Mark Govan
      April 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      Sure wish you had sent me some photos to see what you are looking at but when the spear leaf turns brown it is either a sign of Mal-nutrition or that the palm could be dying. My email address is if you can send photos! Hope this Helps!

  16. Karen Watts
    May 1, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    We have a lot of palms in our yard, but one of our Alexanders continually loses new fronds., they are snapping off from the trunk. Where it snaps it looks really woody. This palm has another on attached to it at the base.

    • Mark Govan
      May 2, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Is there anyway you can send me a photo of what you are looking at so I can better diagnose this problem? You can send photos directly to my email address at

  17. Sherrie
    May 12, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    My foxtail, planted approximately 1-2 months ago, 8-10ft has an indentation on the trunk running lengthwise and the new spears (2) have brown leaves coming out. Any suggestions?

    • Mark Govan
      May 23, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      First you should be fertilizing Foxtails with a good Palm tree fertilizer that contains additional manganese and magnesium every three months. You should be using at least 3-4 pounds each time you fertilize. Do not apply next to the trunk. You should also be using a product called Tecmangam. Tecmangam or Manganese sulfate is available at most garden centers. Use at least one pound in a bucket of water and apply near the stem of the plant every three months also. If you do a treatment of both products today, you may start to see results in 6-9 months. Remember you can send photos of your plants to my email address I do not understand your description of the indentation. Send Pics! Hope this Helps

  18. Luis
    May 25, 2016 at 1:09 am

    I am planning to plant a European Fan Palm in the same spot I lost a Canary Palm. Would this be a problem for the new Palm? Am I prone to have this one die as well?

    • Mark Govan
      May 26, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      If the CIDP died of a fungal problem like Ganoderma, then I would not plant in the same hole. I would try to move the new palm to a different location or use a different type of tree (not a palm) in that area that would not be susceptible to the same disease that killed your other palm.

  19. Robin
    June 11, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    I have a queen palm and the new branches are stuck in the top and the trunk on top is twice as big as the bottom the sides are not loose super tight

    • Mark Govan
      June 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      The differences in the taper of the trunk are because of high fertilization (big trunk) and low fertilization (skinny trunk). The new foliage sounds like it is lacking the proper nutrition to expand properly. Apply an 8-10-10-4 palm tree fertilizer every two months. Use at least two pounds applied by a hand held rotary spreader every two months. You will notice some change in about 6 months if you start now. Hope this Helps!

  20. Elizabeth Zapata
    July 28, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Hi, I have an 8 mt tall Royal palm tree. About two months ago one of its green branches broke about 60 cm from the trunk, and left a piece hanging. Took long to fall even though the part attached to the trunk, now brown, still remains, not letting the normal shedding brancn fall naturally. Yesterday a saw another branch broken the same way above the other one. I observed some branches have a deteriorated zone close to the trunk, as if the branch was too heavy to hold up. Pleas tell me how to save this palm. Thank you.

    • Mark Govan
      August 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Royal palms are self-shedding and normally the entire frond will fall to the ground. The lesion or deteriorated area you described concerns me. I wish you could send me a photo with a close up of this area as you may have a pseudo-stem blight starting up. If this is the case you will need to call out an expert to treat the palm. If you are in Central Florida ABC Pest Control can probably help you. Call toll free 877 888 7378. You can send a photograph to me to see this area on the tree close up. Hope this Helps!

  21. Renee Schwartz
    July 31, 2016 at 12:28 am

    I have a few triple trunk pygmy Palms. Some of the trunks are starting to tip completely over toward the ground, even though the top is spouting out more fronds all of the time. Do I have to completely remove this trunk? Is there any way to save it or plant it elsewhere, or prop it up? My husband just wants to cut the whole thing down and he already did that with one of them… Thank you very much.

    • Mark Govan
      August 1, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      I have seen this happen before. You must have a stem rot on your plant that is causing them to rot and fall over. This could be caused from a fungal disease and you may want to treat the soil around the plant with a systemic fungicide. I would make at least two applications about 20 days apart. If the plant does not recover in 6 months, your husbands Idea may be the final solution. Sorry!

  22. Gary Rygiewicz
    August 2, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    I have a canary island date palm, nine years old and healthy with a 4′ diameter trunk. I have cut all the ferns and other foliage that has grown on the trunk over the years last month. The foliage is starting to grow back already. Anything that can be sprayed on the trunk to kill the roots of the unwanted foliage without harming the palm itself?

    • Mark Govan
      August 2, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      There really is no herbicide out there that I would recommend spraying on your palm that would not hurt the palm. Most people leave the ferns to grow on them naturally. If you do not like the look you will have to do the manual pruning you just did. Sorry!

  23. Tim
    August 8, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    I have a 6-year old palm that is doing very well, but it was placed near the driveway. Now some of the palm branches are extending into the normal car traffic region. Can I tie these branches and gently move them out of the way?

    • Mark Govan
      August 9, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      If the palm branches fall below the 9-3 clock position, you have my ok to prune them off the palm completely! I do not recommend tying them to another palm.

  24. Nikki
    August 14, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Hi Mark!
    I have bought a property in Spain with a beautiful 15m Washingtonia Palm,. Along with the property it needed TLC so I had it shaved and trimmed and its looking stunning… BUT – my heart sank when the gardener told me it was not going to live long. I am not sure how knowledgable he is and he didnt tell me what the cause was but despite looking healthy it has a section around 1 meter from the ground that is hollow and the bark can easily be pulled away. I am so upset. What coukd it be and how can I save my palm?

    • Mark Govan
      August 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Please send me photos to my email address at so I can see what you are referring too!

  25. Katrina
    September 2, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Mark!
    I just bought a triple Veitchia/christmas palm, one of the stems was broken during transport and don’t know if it will regrow? die? or potentially all 3 palms die? The stem is covered in ants and don’t know if I should be putting something on the stem to help it and how to protect the other 2 stems.
    Any advice would be much appreciated!!! 🙂

    • Mark Govan
      September 6, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Losing one or two individual stems on these palms is common and I would not worry about it. I would however make sure to make a clean cut when the stem was broken off. For the ant problem I suggest you spray the base of the palm with Bifenthrin to eliminate the nest of ants. Continue fertilizing every three months with a palm tree fertilizer like 8-10-10. Good luck!

  26. samuel odafe
    September 4, 2016 at 4:55 am

    How does one stop weevil birds from attacking the fronds of palms?

    • Mark Govan
      September 6, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      I do not know what you mean by weevil birds. If you are referring to birds that fly close to the top of some palm trees, then you probably have some sort of Canary Island Date Palm that has an infestation of Date palm weevils that will need to be treated by a pest control company. The weevils burrow into the palm bud at the top of the palm. You will need to have the bud of the palm drenched with an insecticide. Hope this Helps!

  27. Barbata Amy
    September 19, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    My palm trees are only growing on one side. What do i do? Is there something wrong with tham?

    • Mark Govan
      September 19, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      A picture would help but this could be the cause of a fertilizer imbalance. Make sure you are fertilizing your palms with a palm tree fertilizer that contains magnesium, manganese, boron, and the bag should say 8-10-10. Use at least 3-4 pounds every two months. Do this for 6-8- months and in 8 months you should just start seeing the difference because it takes at least 6 months for the fertilizer to work its way into the palm. Hope this Helps!

  28. Sandra
    October 2, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    We live in southwest FL, and have two Piccabeen palms that were planted a year ago. One is doing beautifully, but the other one so far has put out one healthy frond and a few stunted fronds, and some of the older fronds now have 6″ brown tips. I also noticed there is no new spear growing. We fertilized with 8-2-12 last March, have given it a cup of Essential Minor Elements, applied a fungicide/insecticide, but we’re seeing no real recovery. We were told by the landscaper that these trees are very hardy. Are we losing this beautiful palm tree? I will send you a picture.

    • Mark Govan
      October 3, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      You have two problems that I have highlighted for you in an article I wrote on my ABC Pest Control Facebook account (you should be reading this often) awhile ago. Please read below! If you find this information helpful….I would appreciate you posting a positive review for my company, ABC Pest Control, Inc. on Google, Yahoo, or Yelp to help me out. If you do not know how to, I understand! Thanks

      Palm Deficiencies and Fertilization

      Palm trees are a great addition to any landscape. Unfortunately, many palm species need special fertilizers and micro-nutrients to keep them healthy and vibrant.
      One of the common palms found in landscapes is the Pygmy Island date palm. Yellowing of the oldest fronds comes from a lack of nutrients in the form of potassium and magnesium. Please look closely at the lower fronds of your plant. If the lower fronds are yellow, and the tips at the ends of the fronds are necrotic or look dead, then the problem you have is a potassium deficiency. If you look at the lower fronds, and the centers of the fronds are green and the outer portions are yellow, but do not have that dried-out necrotic look, then you have a magnesium deficiency.
      Although these problems are very close in appearance, you must know which element is needed in order to cure the problem. Do not prune off the lower fronds from the palm. Pruning the bottom fronds will only remove a much-needed food source of the plant. As nutrients are depleted from the top growing portions of the palm, necessary minerals are drawn from the lower fronds to feed the new growth.
      The Canary Island Date palms have similar problems with yellowing leaves. However, the lower leaves will be strictly potassium deficient without showing the necrotic tips on the leaflets. Mid-range fronds on these palms show magnesium deficiencies as a dark-green center next to a distinctly yellow outer portion of the leaf. Although these problems are similar to the Pygmy palm, sometimes subtle differences can mean the difference in either correcting or prolonging your problem.
      Another deficiency palms have is called “Frizzle Top”. Frizzle Top is caused by a deficiency of manganese. The first signs you may notice are necrotic or yellowing of the spear emerging from the center of the bud. As the new frond develops, a distinctive curling or frizzing of the tip ends occurs. Mature palms may display several of the newest fronds completely frizzled up. In order to cure this deficiency, you will need to add manganese and/or manganese sulfate.
      There are three products you will need to purchase from your local garden center that will help you keep your palms healthy. Two of these elements, potassium and magnesium can be found in a palm tree fertilizer with the analysis 8-0-12+4. Make sure the fertilizer you purchase has at least a fifty percent sulfur coating.
      All palms should be fertilized at least once every three months with a rotary spreader at the rate of one pound of fertilizer per every six inches of diameter of the trunk. An average mature Queen palm with a twelve-inch base will require at least two to three pounds of fertilizer per application. Larger palms like the Canary Island Date palm can require up to five or more pounds per application. Do not apply the fertilizer directly around the base of the palm. Start your fertilizer application about two to three feet out from the base of the palm and continue to just beyond the end of the drip line of the canopy.
      Fertilizers take time to break down and be absorbed by the root systems. If you fertilize your palm every three months, then the fertilizer you applied six months ago will just be reaching the top of the tree today. Injection of nutrients to palms in areas where you cannot properly fertilize them, such as when palms are planted next to a water source or in a container, is sometimes the only way to give them the nutrients they need. Seek professional assistance whenever injecting trees or palms.
      The last product you need to purchase is called Techmangam. Techmangam is the common name of Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate. This product is also available at most garden centers and contains thirty-two percent water soluble manganese. Because this product is readily dissolved in water, you can mix one pound of the product in a five-gallon bucket of water and then pour it around the base of your palm trees. Cycads will also benefit from this product. Manganese Sulfate is immediately available for the tree to take it up; so curative response time is much faster. I would recommend using this product once every two months

  29. Kerry Rings
    November 18, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I have now replaced a double Christmas Tree Palm twice. There is a new frond spike that never opens and the lower leaves just die and fall off. I use Palm Gain on all of my palms and they all seem to be thriving. Can you trim the dead one off and plant a single beside it? It was absolutely beautiful for about 6 months several new fronds appeared and opened no problem. My palm tree supplier has been very nice and has replaced them and is coming out again to look but I would like the next planting to be successful. I use Palm gain on all of my Pigmy Date Palms, Bismarks, Foxtails and Pineapple Palms and my other 2 Christmas Palms. Any ideas what could be causing this and possible remedying.

    • Mark Govan
      November 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Sure wish you had included some pics for me to look at but yes, you can trim off the one and then plant a single beside it. Are you sure the palms have not been planted too deep? How much palm gain do you use and how often do you apply it? Are the plants located next to this area doing ok? Send pics if possible to my email address at

      • Kerry Rings
        December 18, 2016 at 5:24 pm

        about 3 cups of palm gain every 3 months. I am sure the tree is not too deep. the guys who planted it will be coming out again to put a now 3rd palm in its place and they have planted 12 other palm in my yards. Other plants beside it are doing well. I get what I think is gall midge which affects my hybiscus eating my leaves and have destroyed a couple. I have used Bayer 3n1 tree and shrub on them and it seems to help. The gall midge is a small flying bug a bit bigger than a gnat. I will send you a picture of the tree now. to your email.

        • Kerry Rings
          December 18, 2016 at 5:49 pm

          I also sent a picture of up close on the christmas palm frond. It has like little bugs which I was referring to gall midge. I also included a picture of a Pineapple palm tree frond that has a spongy brown glob on several of the fronds and it seems like the fronds are dying. I know that they do turn brown but as this is a slower growing palm the fronds are turning brown quicker than newer ones are sprouting. It still has several green new fronds appearing so not sure. I just know that the brown stuff should not be there and wanted to know what to spray on it to control it and to preserve the tree.

          • Mark Govan
            December 21, 2016 at 2:39 pm

            Spray the palm with Bifenthrin the same as for the Palm Leaf Skeletonizers. Two applications should be enough to control both pests. Don’t forget to continue your fertilization schedule.

        • Mark Govan
          December 21, 2016 at 2:43 pm

          I got your pics and have already responded. Keep me informed on how the new palm responds. Spray the Hibiscus with the Bifenthrin! Good Luck!

  30. Odean Lukow
    December 4, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    We are in central Florida and have a Sabal palm that was planted by a nursery a few years ago. The trunk is about 4 Ft high and has about 17 fronds. The tree is in our front yard that receives irrigation twice a week and regular fertilization with palm fertilizer and magnesium. The 3 Pigmy palms and the Pindo palm nearby are doing well.. The tree was doing well for a few years until this fall. We are snowbirds and returned to Florida in November. We have had many fronds turn completely brown which we cut off. Now it seems all the leaves are browning and the central fronds emerging are white/brown as well. The whole tree looks sick. Any ideas on the problem?
    Thank you!

    • Mark Govan
      December 5, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      Can you send me some photos of your tree. I need a close up of the fronds and then the whole tree as well. My email address is

  31. Jim Parker
    December 29, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Mark, I live in the Tampa Bay area. I have a good size Paurotis Palm that is dying. In the last 6 months 6 of the “stalks or trunks” have died. the fronds turn brown and then the whole thing does not produce new growth. I have been applying “Palm ferterlizer” twice a year. Any Ideas?

    • Mark Govan
      January 6, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      I have seen this happen on many paurotis palms. Cut off all dead or dying limbs then treat the base with a copper fungicide. You may also need the help of an pest control professional to treat the palm depending on what the real problem is. A sample should be sent off to the University of Florida for proper diagnosis. The County Extension Service can help tell you how to take samples and submit them. Fertilization should be performed every two months. Normal established Paurotis palm trees will require at least 5 pounds of a good quality palm tree fertilizer every two months! Good Luck!

  32. battery recycling bins
    December 30, 2016 at 7:45 pm

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    • Mark Govan
      January 6, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      I do not believe this is set up for an automatic feed rather you have to keep checking once a month for my updates. Many of my articles are also on my Facebook account at

  33. Robert Jarvis
    January 21, 2017 at 1:39 am

    My Pineapple Palm that I have in a pot all of a sudden dried up, and the fond appeared to be dead and all dry up. This palm tree came from a very hardy Pineapple palm That a nursery ; bought from me approximately 3 years ago .

    • Mark Govan
      January 23, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      Sorry to hear that. The tree must have outgrown its container and dried up! Time to get another one!

  34. Lee Turicchi
    January 25, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    We have many Paurotis palms, about 17 years old that have died out in the center leaving tall canes on the outside. What causes the interior of the clump to die? Thanks

    • Mark Govan
      January 25, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      Paurotis palms can have two problems which can kill out the center of the clump. The first is an elemental deficiency and the second is more common a disease called butt rot. I am attaching an article from IFAS for you to read. Hope this helps!

  35. Ikan
    February 12, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I have an old man palm in which the new leafs are coming out dead or dying as they come out. The rest of the Palm looks fine. The Palm is around 4-5 years old. What can be happening?

    • Mark Govan
      February 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      This is not a good sign and I know how much these palms are worth. The dead fronds could have been damaged by the recent cold we have and future fronds will form and be ok. This is the best case scenario. The cold may also have damaged the apical bud which could be dead meaning the entire tree will die. If it were my palm I would today drench the bud or top of the palm with copper and repeat in 10 days. Then say a prayer and hope for the best! You should read my last article about palm trees and cold damage posted at my blog on Florida Gardening at www.

  36. Jason Veneri
    February 24, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Awesome write up .I appericiate you the time to maintain the nice post.

    • Mark Govan
      February 24, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      You are Welcome!

  37. Ulises
    March 3, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Mark i had this palm for more than a year, grow rate is to slow and the leaves are a mess, how can i send you a picture?

  38. Erica
    March 4, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Thank you very much for your insight! You are very well educated on the subject. I live in central Florida, closer to the East Coast. We have a lot of jubinille sable palms growing on our wooded lot. I’ve been searching the Internet for advice/confirmation about transplanting these little babies. There’s no trunk visible, when I dig them up there’s a little root ball. If I were to translate them to a more desirable, sunny location, do you think they will have a good survival rate? Thanks so much!!

    • Mark Govan
      March 6, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      As long as you are careful when digging up the seedlings and they have some roots, your plants should survive. If you want to increase the survival rate, plant them into one gallon containers filled with potting soil. The potting soil will help them grow faster as well! Good Luck!

  39. Charlene
    March 7, 2017 at 12:07 am


    We have a newly transplanted Sylvester palm, this was field grown and was not removed until the day it was planted. The palm trunk is approximately 7-8.’ The tree itself looks good and we were told to give it 5 gallons of water. My husband has increased this because we thought it might need more water. What is happening is that the new fronds on the crown of the tree initially start out green but then they become brown. The nursery where we purchased the palm said to cut the brown out and to fertilize. We have done that and we are still getting the new fronds turning brown and crispy. Is this because it has been transplanted and possibly in shock. The rest of the tree looks good but I’m concerned about the new growth. Thanks for your help.

    • Mark Govan
      March 8, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      Hi Charlene, Great pics! There can be several things going on here! This browning could be due to cold weather which may have affected the new fronds as they were developing in the bud. It is even possible the bud was damaged and needs to be treated with a copper drench soon to prevent death. If the temperatures were anywhere near the low 30’s since the tree was planted then, I would look into this as being a possibility. Fertilizing a stressed palm with a high nitrogen fertilizer can also cause problems. I would prefer to wait to see if the fronds start turning green before I put any more stress on the tree. Hopefully, the tree is warranted, so if you lose the tree they will replace it for you! You need to wait until several more fronds are produced to see if the tree will make it. Keep me informed!

  40. Kathryn Root
    March 14, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I have one phoenix roebeleni on each side of my pool planter. They have gotten too tall and are now hitting the screen ceiling. Will the palm live if I cut it in half, to get it shorter again? They are very healthy.

    • Mark Govan
      March 15, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      No, if you cut the palm in half, then you will kill the palm. You may consider digging it out and re-planting the area with smaller palms. Sorry!

  41. Doug
    March 19, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Hi Mark. About a month ago many of the fronds on my sable palm started splitting and smaller strands were falling to the ground. Now many of the lower stems are wilting and slanting downward . The color seems fine. Any idea what’s going on?

    • Mark Govan
      March 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      I am going to need to see what you are describing. Can you please take a few pictures and send them to me at Thanks!

  42. Henry
    March 30, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    A very well detailed article! This is very educationally informed, keep up the great work.

  43. Cathy Cronan
    April 8, 2017 at 1:07 am

    I have several pygmy Palms growing in a planter cross the back wall of my yard the one on the end where I have my electrical outlet the electrical box for my Malibu lights and electrical box from my pool planted next to it the trunk on it looks to be drying out could this be the reason

    • Mark Govan
      April 18, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      I do not believe the fact you have the electrical outlet in the same area you are noticing the decay are related. You may have a root rot or other problem. I would like to see a few photos of the problem to better answer your questions. Send photos to me at my email mark@

  44. Tracey
    April 15, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    My husband cut all the leaves off our 20 foot majestic palm will the leaves grow back? He was going to cut the tree down but i stopped him

    • Mark Govan
      April 18, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Why were all the leaves cut off the tree? This is probably the number one causes of palm death. The removal of any fronds that are not 80% crispy dead is not advised. Palms store their food in the lower fronds. Removing them only hastens the death of the tree. Stop pruning and see if the tree recovers! Good Luck!

  45. Robert Crowley
    April 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    hello I have a few OLD MAN palms that have been in the ground for about 6 months all are doing well but one. The new growth comes out with brown DEAD parts on the frond. I water about 1 to 2 times a week slow from hose for like 15 min then move on to the next. I have fertilized wit Palm gain lightly. 2 are like 2 feet high but the little guy is about a foot the older fronds green have tried off new growth that have turned completely brown DEAD. UMMMM help?

    • Mark Govan
      April 18, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      The fronds you are seeing as partially dead could have been injured by the cold weather we had several months ago and you are just seeing this now. Be patient. Continue to water and feed your palms with a 8-10-10 palm tree fertilizer every other month. Palms take up to six months to show fertilizer uptake so again be patient. In six months let me know how they are doing! Good Luck!

  46. Greg Ray
    May 2, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Mark…I have 2 newly planted 8 year old date palms. Both have very dry and nearly white center fronds I noticed about a week after I planted. I have been spraying it with nutritional spray which Contains: 2.5% Manganese, 1.5% Magnesium, and 1.0% Iron. Saturating the leaves and giving a “soil bath” as well. One of the trees has lost almost all it’s leaves and the center is still mostly yellow, but I do notice a couple shoots that are a little more green. The 2nd tree still has all its original leaves but just the new “growth” is white and dry. Is there any hope for these palms?

    • Mark Govan
      May 6, 2017 at 11:57 pm

      Even though we did not get a lot of cold this year your trees could have had some damage because they are new trees and were not established. Temperatures below 45 degrees can damage palms and particularly the bud leaf or spear leaf as it is developing in the bud. These leaves may take several months to appear following the cold weather and then you notice the necrotic leaves. Stop applying any other products to the tree except for copper. I want you to spray the bud of the tree with copper and make two applications 10-15 days apart. Soak it good. This is to prevent any decay in the bud and should have been done at first sign of problems. Next, be patient. It can and will take several months to see any change in the tree. Write me back in August and tell me how the tree is doing. If the tree is looking better then, you can start fertilizing it again every three months. Remember, any fertilizer applied today will take up to 6 months to show. Good Luck!

      • Greg Ray
        May 8, 2017 at 3:48 pm


  47. Greg Ray
    May 8, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks for the Reply Mark. I will start applying copper today. If it was cold damage, then wouldn’t the outer leaves show damage as well? They looked very green and it was just the spear growth that was dried out and necrotic. Now the outer leaves fallen over. I’ll email you some pictures.

    • Mark Govan
      May 12, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Yes, your tree has issues. The cold may very well have did this damage to your tree. Newly planted palms are much more susceptible to injury then trees which have been in the ground for several years. Freezing weather that approaches quickly with large overnight temperature drops also cause more damage than a long cooling off period before a freeze. The bud on your tree looks to have been injured if not dead. You should have treated the bud with liquid copper following the freeze to stop additional damage. Two applications with copper at ten day intervals should have been enough. Dilute accordingly to the label directions. Time will tell if your tree will live. Be patient. Six months at least before you give up! Good Luck!

  48. Lisa Kelepouris
    May 14, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Please help!!!! my date palm 25 -30 years old seems to be dying very suddenly. We live in Largo Florida, Clearwater area. We have not fertilized the palm in 4 -5 years and only once a year before that. We trim the tree 1 to 2 times a year. But we have not been trimming off the old fronds ends attached to the trunk after they started to rot. A-lot of ferns and weeds had started to grow. I noticed quit a bit of dead lower fronds so I had my son trim them off 3-4 weeks or so ago. Then more fronds started dying so my husband trimed a few more and cut all the old dried frond remains off the trunk with a large sharp scraper type tool he bought. He also tried cleaning out the top part of the fronts of old debris about 2 weeks ago. After reading several articles we fertilized the tree with 2 cups off palm fertilizer about 1 1/2 weeks ago. My husband just added another cup 2 days ago. I fertilized the grass about 5 weeks ago which always hits the trunk of the tree. This is the first time I fertilized the grass since October 2016. we have not had a lot of rain but we have sprinklers that go on 2 times a day 2 a week, feed from a run off drainage lake. about 32 house’s are on this lake. Someone on the lake has been having a boat weed service come out at least 6 times a year for the last 4-5 years. (Which I have never been happy with. They have killed off all the cattails and shallow vegetation.) All the fronds except the top 3 have died on the tree now. We have not trimmed the dead fronds off from the horizontal line up because the main stalk of the frond’s still has color all them through out all the way to the trunk of the tree. Reading you should never cut above the horizontal line so we haven’t. It seems that the last 3 fronds might not be very healthy either ready to dye soon too? praying they won’t. I am so afraid to do anything because we have read so much about all different diseases and deficiencies and so many contradictions and different treatments when we don’t even know whats really wrong. This has happened so fast and my heart is breaking if it dies. One of the main reasons we bought the house 18 years ago was because of this Canary date palm. I am beside myself because of the neglect we have given the tree. Many reasons why this has happened but it doesn’t matter now. No need to point fingers in blame just desperate in doing whatever I can to save it. PRAYING just isn’t enough at this point. If there is a way I can upload a picture of the tree and fronds so you might get a better idea on what you might think is wrong please email me so I can provide them.
    Thank you so much for your time and expertise.
    LK Largo, FL

    • Lisa Kelepouris
      May 14, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      The tree is in the front yard the lake is in the back maybe 120 feet from the tree but it is watered from the lake water sprinklers.

      • Mark Govan
        May 15, 2017 at 6:35 pm

        I do not have any photos if you sent them retry and send them to my email address

    • Mark Govan
      May 15, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      First of all yes, there is a place you can send photos to, send them to my email which is I will need overall photos of the entire tree and closeups of the base of the trunk and the canopy. Most older date palms average about 120 to 150 fronds when healthy. You say you have three left…not a good sign. I know you probably also know you have starved this poor tree to death. An average Canary Date palm the size you mention should receive at least 5-7 pounds of fertilizer every three months and then you need the Ironite and additional Manganese and magnesium treatments to keep the plant healthy. Two to three treatments per year are standard. Then there are all of the insect and disease problems you have to prevent against. Purchasing a tree of the stature you have described here will run 5-10 thousand dollars with an expected yearly maintenance charge of 7-10 % is average. I do not believe the lake doctor had anything to do with the decline of the tree but I will wait to see what the photographs show me when you send them to me.

      • LK
        May 21, 2017 at 3:29 am

        I resent the pictures of the canary palm since I have not heard back.

  49. stacy peebles
    May 26, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    i have a pygmy palm and we moved it from one spot to another when we redid our yard and it is dying. is there anything that i can do to save it?

    • Mark Govan
      May 30, 2017 at 12:59 am

      Just give the plant water and time to re-adjust to the new area. If you had gotten enough of the root system, the tree should make it. Do not prune the plant and do not apply any additional fertilizer as this would just shock the plant! Give it time! Be patient! Good Luck!

  50. Ashley
    June 7, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    We have a rather large vertical hole in our king palm, 30′ tall. Any ideas how to fix/save the tree and fill the hole?

  51. Anthony Casale
    June 10, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    hey Mark we have two double trunk windmill palms about 8yrs old 7′ tall one side (trunk) on each died off…about two years ago, can i cut them at ground level? without harming the other side? and do i have to treat the cut section? thank you Tony Fort Mill South Carolina

    • Mark Govan
      June 16, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      Go ahead and cut them off as close to the ground as possible. I would also spray them with copper if I could. Good Luck!

  52. Charles Vandagriff
    June 15, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Mark, I have never had palms before and we just purchased a home that has several. I am learning but there are 3 that appear to be dead but the trunk is green. One of them started new growth at the top a few days ago but the others are have not changed. Do you have any thoughts?

    • Mark Govan
      June 16, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      If you could send me a photo or two of the palms I could help better. Send them to

  53. Peggy
    July 3, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Queen palm. Had over 20 years. This is the first time we are seeing this. The leaves are falling off the froms. Too high to see if insects are the cause. What do you think?
    I can send a pic but this site won’t let me paste it. In south Florida.

    • Mark Govan
      July 5, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      I have received your photos. Will answer shortly

  54. Victoria
    July 7, 2017 at 1:25 am

    Hi Mark, I’m so glad to find your site. Please help. We have a Sylvester date palm, for 3 years now, no problems. I’m worried about our tree this summer. It started losing bark on the bottom of the tree and exposing roots all of a sudden. The leaves of the tree are still beautiful and appear to be fine. I sent you some pictures hoping you can take a look. Is this normal. I really hope my tree is ok. Thanks for any help. Victoria from Louisiana.

    • Mark Govan
      July 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      I got your pictures. Please remove the mulch you have piled up against the trunk of the tree as this could rot the tree. I also see the area around the tree is very wet. I suppose the tree was freshly watered. If this much water is common then you may want to try to eliminate any standing water from around the trunk or try to direct the excess water from the trunk of the tree as this could also cause the trunk to rot. The formation of bundles of roots at the base of the tree and even up to two feet up the trunk is common and you should not be alarmed about this. Continue to feed your tree regularly and you tree should be fine! Good Luck! Send more pics if and problems persist!

      • Victoria
        July 7, 2017 at 10:31 pm

        Thank you so much, I appreciate your feedback. Any suggestions on what to feed the tree? Should I do anything about the green stuff that looks like algae growing on the bark?

  55. Glenda
    July 20, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Just emailed you photos of my palm tree (sorry don’t know what kind) that has a large area where the bark has peeled off. I new to SWFL so don’t know if this is a problem or not. Thanks for providing this resource.

    • Mark Govan
      July 21, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      You should have received my direction through my email I sent you!

  56. Maureen McGartland
    December 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Mark,
    I have a 15 year old, beautiful sylvester palm. However, the bottom 18-24″ of the trunk appears to have what I thought might be roots protruding but I think the growth is too small to be roots. It looks like spaghetti! Should I be concerned?

    • Mark Govan
      December 22, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      I have written many article about roots protruding from the bottom of palm trees. This is a natural occurrence and requires no work on your part. Send photos and I will look at them

  57. Susan K.
    January 17, 2018 at 8:54 am

    I have several 28 year old Queen Anne Palms around my home . The gardeners have recently trimmed the three in the backyard ( on approximately the 1st of Dec. 2017) and one which has plenty of room has absolutely no fronds growing from it now. They all appear to have broken off at their base. There is also a very dark vertical mark, about 8 1/2 inches long and almost 2 inches wide, on the trunk. It almost looks like a burn mark. Is there anything I can do to help this wonderful tree. Thank you very much…Susan in Palm Springs, CA

    • Mark Govan
      January 17, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      I need to see a few photos of the overall palm, the black spot you refer too and the pruning. Please send them to my email address at Thanks!

  58. David
    March 18, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Mark, thank you for all the great info. I live in Phoenix and planted two Medjool Date palms about a year ago. They were only 6 foot trees so very young. They both look good as far as being healthy but one of them has all it’s new fronds growing shorter than the older fronds. The tree still looks healthy but different than it’s cousin that is on the other side of the pool. I already realize I am not fertilizing them enough but just curious if it is something else besides that. Could it be a watering issue? They are on the same watering system. I appreciate your help!

    • Mark Govan
      March 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      This is not a watering issue. This is a micro-nutritional issue. Head to the garden center and pick up a good quality palm tree fertilizer. Apply 2-3 pounds around both of the trees every two months. You will also need additional Manganese and Magnesium. Even though these elements are probably in the fertilizer I mentioned above, you will need additional amounts of these elements to combat the Frizzle top issue you palm currently has. I would apply at least a pound of each of these two elements each time you use the other palm tree fertilizer. Remember to use a hand held fertilizer spreader to evenly distribute the fertilizer around the drip line of your palms. You will not notice any difference in your palms for at least 4-6 months but that is how long it will take for the nutrients to move up into the trees. Good Luck!

      Thanks for contacting me. Can I ask a favor back from you? If you have a Gmail or a yahoo account and you have time, then I would appreciate if you could add a positive review for my company. To do this all you would have to do is to copy the info below into your browser and it will pull up my review page on google, there you can leave a 5 star review if my information was helpful. With a quick positive note from you, more people will be able to find my site. If you do not know how to use reviews, that is ok. Don’t worry about it. I appreciate all types of reviews including Google, Yelp, Yext, Yahoo, Bing, etc.…0l5.………..0.ctwTLQ-qxVM&safe=active&gws_rd=ssl&safe=active#aq=&gws_rd=ssl&lrd=0x88c2e536a48ff337:0x9b1c83d62194d8cc,1,,,&spf=1521463320249

      • David
        March 21, 2018 at 8:08 pm

        I sure will. I did find a great fertilizer that included boron and am going to get a Manganese and Magnesium supplement. I am confident they will look great by the end of summer. Thanks again!

        • Mark Govan
          March 31, 2018 at 1:57 pm

          Sounds Great. Make sure you give it the time it needs to work 4-6 months!

  59. Chris Kean
    April 7, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Mark: Had a local nursery (Sarasota) plant two 16′ double Foxtail Palms a week ago. I was told both were field grown in clay soil- not container grown- to match our local clay/sandy soil. Both looked perfect when installed. Immediately both declined. One week later I now have 40% of the branches turned black (dark brown purple- almost black). One branch has fallen off and many others are headed to same fate. Still have maybe 30%-40% of fronds look OK– seems the higher branches look OK. All this has occurred over only 7 days. Any idea what is going on?? I have hand watered daily FYI. I can send photos.

    • Mark Govan
      April 9, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      Please send photos to my email address. You know this could be just shock of transplanting but without photos, I can not tell what is happening. I am hoping the trees are warrantied by the company that installed them. Keep watering them. You have a berm around the planting to hold water. Fill to the top 2X per day and repeat every third day if we get no rain. Send pics when you can.!

  60. Gibby
    April 16, 2018 at 12:55 am

    Hi Mark. I’ve heard from a couple of sources to apply a liquid fertilizer product; Mg, S, Fe, &Mn – directly into the bud of my palms. I haven’t seen anything regarding this type of application process. I am pretty certain I have an Mg deficiency.

    What are your thoughts on the bud application aspect? Thank you.

    • Mark Govan
      April 18, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      I have actually done this in the past on extremely distressed palms in conjunction with the regular maintenance I have written about in past articles. You have to do both liquid and granular for good results. I also think that your regular fertilizer program must contain granular minor essential elements regularly. Make sure you give the plant enough 6 months) time to absorb and then apply the nutrients to the deficient area. Good luck!

  61. nos vet
    April 25, 2018 at 3:37 am

    We have a beautiful Bismark Palm that has been growing rather nicely for about 5 years without any issues. However, I noticed that the bottom 2 rows of fronds are all benting or broken in half. They all look like they were physically damaged but we have not had any storms. It weathered Irma without any damage.

    What is going on? What do we need to do the help correct this issue. Thanks

    • Mark Govan
      April 27, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      I sure would like to see some photos of the whole tree and of the damage close up before I tell you what I think may be going on. Email photos to me at

  62. Neil crosier
    April 25, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Is my oxtail in trouble center frond has just a fizzle at top?

  63. Neil crosier
    April 25, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Is my foxtail in trouble? Center frond has just a fizzle on top. Have picture but don’t know how top post it to you.

  64. Mark Govan
    August 14, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    This is a pretty good sized palm for the pot you have it planted in. I would wait for the summer to see if the plant will start throwing off new fronds. I would also be applying a palm tree fertilizer every two months. A pot that size will need about a cup of fertilizer (granular fertilizer) every two months. If the plant does not respond soon, you should think about repotting the palm in a larger pot to allow more room for root growth. Good luck!

  65. donna beadel
    September 6, 2018 at 2:35 am

    Hi Mark You are certainly an expert on palms and I hope you can help I have a 3 meter foxtail palm that is planted on a slope looked very healthy leaves center stem however during a severe storm it got broke of at the base is there any way I can save the plant or get it to grow new roots if I replant tree without roots can it survive. Thanks Donna

  66. Barbara Clark
    September 6, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Mark
    I am sending pics of my queen palms. The healthy fronds are breaking often. It is hurricane season and we have had some gusty winds. However, I suspect my husband may have trimmed them too much with his new pole saw. Any advice (besides no more trimming)?

    • Mark Govan
      September 9, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      I believe I answered this post. Am I correct?

      • Mark Govan
        October 25, 2018 at 1:48 pm

        I did answer this correct?

  67. Mechelle
    October 18, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Mark,

    I have a foxtail in a 36″ x 48″ space in a concrete courtyard. I am not sure but I believe that my gardener may have damaged the part from which the new fronds come up when he was pruning the tree. I say this because I noticed that the newest frond had fallen limp a little while after he had finished. It had barely opened before it fell. Now a second frond has come up. It stayed straight up in the air before it opened but has now fallen limp too. Both fronds look healthy, are growing and are still attached to the tree. Do you think this is a damage problem that can be repaired or might it all be coincidence and there is a disease on the tree. It has been very hot and dry where I am and the tree is left to depend most times on the rain. Also there has been a hole at the bottom of the tree for some time. I have two other trees in the same space that are doing well.


    • Mark Govan
      October 22, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      What you need to tell me is if the frond is still growing, then do you see any discoloration or frizzled appearance in this new frond. Are you in an area that gets cold? Have you seen any holes in the from at the place the frond attaches to the palm? Photos would be nice, you could send me some to I do not worry about the hole in the bottom of the tree but I am worried that you are not watering this tree regularly as these trees need their water. They also need to be fed regularly with palm tree fertilizer and you should be using copper on the bud of the tree two times per year!

    • Mark Govan
      October 25, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      I believe this has been answered correct?

  68. Ken Smith
    October 27, 2018 at 11:51 am

    I have a large Tri-Foxtail palm that was field grown and transplanted into my yard in June. The tree looked good for the first couple months, but now the petioles of the fronds on the smallest of the three trunks (and the middle sized trunk) are getting brittle and breaking in the middle. I have fertilized with a balanced palm fertilizer and have added supplemental magnesium sulfate. I’m a little worried about this tree. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Mark Govan
      October 30, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      Several things come to mind including cryptic cold damage related to several years of below normal winter temperatures,
      possible nutrient deficiencies, or other unknown factors that predisposed these palms to be attacked by opportunistic palmetto weevils. Routine applications of a palm tree fertilizer at the rate of 3-4 pounds per each 10-12 inch tree every two months should be performed. Copper applications to the bud of the palm should also be made especially after cold weather has passed. Most cold damage does not show itself for 6-8 months following a cold event so please do not discount this. Supplemental magnesium and manganese should be made two times per year. Use two to four pounds in a 5 gallon bucket of water then pour around the base of the palm. I would like to see any photos you have and send them to my website contact address for me to look at. This may help be make a better judgement of what is happening to your palm.

  69. Ken Smith
    November 11, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for the comments/advice. I sent a couple photos of the tree. To your email. Hopefully they will show you what you are looking for.

    • Mark Govan
      November 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Got them! Am answering them now!

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