Ask a Question forum→Dracaena sunburn & mystery bark problem?!

Views: 144, Replies: 3 » Jump to the end
Name: Jessica
NY (Zone 7b)
Image
vaultofheaven
May 13, 2020 10:27 AM CST
Hello! This tree was gifted to me a few years ago, and I don't know much about it except that it's some kind of a common Dracaena. It's always been really healthy, with lots of dark-green leaves. Seems like these trees usually come in groups of 3, but this one only has 2 trunks.

I've always kept it indoors, but the other day I was watering all my plants on the balcony, and I stupidly left the poor guy out there all day in direct, very bright sunlight.
Obviously nearly all of the leaves got scorched and browned.

This morning I began cutting off unsalvageable leaves and trimming the rest and noticed something else....
the lower trunk's bark is loose/separating, and a fairly large piece of it had detached. It doesn't seem to be rotting, and isn't soft or squishy. In fact it's just really dry and papery.

However, I realized it isn't a result of the sunburn.... it's been that way to some degree for a while now but
up until a piece came off, I hadn't really thought anything of it. The bark had a couple fissures and seemed a little papery, but didn't seem so loose and was all in one piece. Plus, the trunk/bark of the whole plant has a sort of cracky-texture in general, so I guess I thought it was just a blemish or some wear and tear?

I know these plants die from the root up, but I can see the fissures in the bark in a photo from over a year ago, and it's branch has continued to grow all the while, so I'm confused. Was the trunk just dying very slowly? is it dead now?

So anyway, I stopped pruning and came here for advice before I went any further.
I was considering cutting the healthy branches off the unhealthy trunk, rooting those, and removing that trunk.

The other trunk seems healthy, it's just going to end up nearly leafless after all the trimming from the sunburn, but I think that one should at least recover with some time....?

What do you guys think?

p.s sorry this is so lengthy, just wanted to give as much context as possible. I read posts on here fairly often and you all seem very helpful when provided with enough information! :-)
(I'm Including probably more photos than I need to for that same reason.)

Thumb of 2020-05-13/visitor/5b045a


Thumb of 2020-05-13/visitor/d02d35


Thumb of 2020-05-13/visitor/9e9fa7


Thumb of 2020-05-13/visitor/c70db8


Thumb of 2020-05-13/visitor/c6281e

[Last edited by vaultofheaven - May 13, 2020 10:41 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2237346 (1)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 13, 2020 1:28 PM CST
Welcome! Jessica. When the bark on a cane starts to separate as yours has, then that cane will not recover as the roots are already dead. The dying process takes a long time and yours has been doing so for a year, apparently.

The stems still growing from that short cane can be cut off a couple of inches below the lowest leaves and propagated in water or damp soil.

You can remove that dying cane by twisting or rotating it in place until all remaining roots break free and the cane spins freely in place. Then you can easily pull it up and out without disturbing the soil and roots of the remaining cane.

Apparently, the roots of the other cane are still okay so that cane will survive. However, you will have to be very careful to let the soil dry several inches deep before watering very lightly to keep its roots from suffocating like the other one.

Trim off the remaining discolored leaves. You way want to cut back the tallest stem just below its lowest leaves. It may then produce new growth at that point and grow up from there.

Your plant is a poster child for showing the damaging effects of too much outdoor sun. D'Oh!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Jessica
NY (Zone 7b)
Image
vaultofheaven
May 13, 2020 6:35 PM CST
Will, thank you so much for reading my long post and your thorough reply! You provided all the information I was looking for, and I'll take your advice! Smiling

WillC said:Your plant is a poster child for showing the damaging effects of too much outdoor sun. D'Oh!


I know, Crying I feel so bad!
I guess living in New York City where the sun is only out 3 months per year tricked me into thinking my plants would want all the sun they could get!
I've certainly learned my lesson...hopefully not at the expensive of my beautiful tree friend!

Thank You!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 14, 2020 8:22 AM CST
Plant care is all about "lessons learned!" Smiling
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by Baja_Costero and is called "Heart of darkness"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.