The Q&A Archives: Soft Bark on Ponytail Palm

Question: I have a pony-tail palm that has soft, spongy areas on it's bark. It is losing fronds rapidly and it has an overall sickly look. Any suggestions?

Answer: I have a feeling your palm has some kind of trunk rot. Soft areas indicate that the plant tissue is decaying, and the dying foliage reinforces that prognosis. This problem is usually caused by overwatering and/or low light levels. Unfortunately, I don't think there is anything you can do. You may as well wait and see...put it in a place that gets good light with at least some direct sun, try to keep the soil on the dry side, and hope for the best!

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