[Arid_gardener] Queen palms - Douglas
mhills at seedsolutions.com
Sun May 30 22:02:49 MST 2004
First thing - keep in mind that this species of palm does not tolerate salt
or poor quality water, alkaline soils or hot drying winds. They like the
more moderate conditions of coastal areas of California and Mexico, far
better than the inland deserts of Arizona and California. Anything you
can do to reduce or change these poor conditions can help, but it is still a
coin toss how your own queen palms will do in the long term. Even in the
lower desert areas of the state, these palms usually suffer - the few you
see with no problems are usually protected by a structure and growing in a
well irrigated lawn.
The other thing of concern is your elevation - this palm species does not
tolerate cold weather at all well. I'm a little surprised that these were
offered for sale in your local nursery, based on your colder winter
temperatures. When they are smaller, you can work around this with frost
covers in the winter, but as the trees get larger this will be quite a bit
more difficult, especially in a hard winter. You may get them to live a
few years, but the first hard winter will probably knock them out.
Douglas - you have too hot, poor quality water, alkaline soils, and hot
drying winds, plus the elevation and older winter all working against you.
My first suggestion would be to consider a more adapted palm or other tree
and switch over now, before you invest a lot of time, money and heart into
the Queens. If you really want to try these then you can do a few things
to increase your possible success.
Since you have planted on north side of wall and house that will help to cut
the winds and to raise the humidity a little. Add lots of mulch on the
surface around the palms, and continue this over the years - should always
be several inches thick and applied all around the root zone, out to the
edge of the fronds as the palms mature. Since they are newly planted, you
should be watering deeply every 3-4 days. While they are young, you
probably need to water at least once a week, and if they reach maturity, you
can reduce to a very deep irrigation every 3-4 weeks.
Water deeply each time in order to push and leach any built up salts out of
the root zone - too frequent of light, shallow waterings will cause many
problems with salt build up. Best would be to have a built up tree well
around the palm, so the watering area is out to the edge of the fronds -
fill the well completely and let it soak in each time - probably even filled
several times each time you water. Increase the size and area as the
palms grow so that it always waters well beyond the edge of the fronds.
Fertilise with "palm fertiliser" products - there are several brands and
styles - all have a more balanced nutrient set especially for palm culture.
Periodically add some gypsum at labeled rates for the size of your trees -
this can provide additional help with salt buildup concerns.
ALSO, here is the information to contact your own County Extension office
for more detailed, local planting information and recommended plant
At this site, you can post questions on your queen palms for local Master
Gardeners in your own climate area to answer - perhaps some of them have had
personal experience with this plant in your part of Arizona.
Here are some more details on the care of these palms, based on the Sonoran
Desert - different from your own desert climate. As you can see, they
tolerate our desert soils, but do better with higher amounts of amended soil
and organic matter added to the planting bed before planting - I do not
think your 2 gallon size holes are sufficient to help these plants over the
long haul, but you need to work with them now that they are planted.
Master Gardener Volunteer, Maricopa County
From: Drarvayo at aol.com [mailto:Drarvayo at aol.com]
Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 3:29 PM
To: mhills at seedsolutions.com
Subject: Re: [Arid_gardener] Queen palms
1. Cochise County- Douglas.
2. I believe I took too long to plant them. I bought them in 1 gallon
buckets and kept them in my backyard where I was constantly picking them up
from being blown over. Once I did plant them, I did use mulch, but no
fertilizer, plus I'd water them everyday. I now know they're supposed to be
watered once a week.
3. North side.
4. 2 palms are planted north of my house and the other 2 are north of a 6
5. I water with a garden hose.
6. 1 gallon.
7. 2 gallon hole, mulch, and 1 fertilizer spike in each palm, 2"
I really appreciate your help. Thank you so much.
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