The Q&A Archives: Yellow Leaves On Chinese Palm

Question: We recently planted a 24" box Chinese Palm. Since planting the fronds have gotten more and more yellow starting in the center and spreading out to the individual "fingers". All the fronds are yellowing to one degree or another. When we planted we included the recommended amount of palm fertilizer and water it once a week. Any suggestions?

Answer: Yellowing can be a sign of many things, but since you just planted it, it's probably transplant shock. And, the larger the plant, the greater the transplant shock, something they don't often mention at the nursery, unfortunately. Another possibility is incorrect watering. When you water, make sure it penetrates the entire depth of the root ball. To determine how far water has penetrated, poke a soil probe (any long metal rod or screwdriver) into the soil. It will move easily through moist soil, stopping abruptly where soil is dry. As trees mature, expand the watering zone somewhat beyond the tree?s canopy (or dripline), which is where roots are actively growing. Note that if you use drip irrigation for a short period, or just sprinkle with the hose, not enough water will be applied to soak the root zone. This is very common here in the arid southwest. Keep the soil consistently moist (but not wet) for several weeks so the root system can establish. In the future, it is better not to apply fertilizer to new landscape plants. They should be allowed to develop their root system without being "forced" to grow, which stresses them. Hope this helps!

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