Ask a Question forum: Small dragon tree with hollow trunk (Removed but don't understand what happened)

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Jun 20, 2017 10:32 AM CST
We have a lot of plants in our house and usually my mother waters all of them. She went abroad so I watered everything except the succulents regularly but it looks like I missed one of the plants that actually need regular watering. We have a pot of large dragon trees in the corner of the house, and assuming that it'd take much longer for the soil to try (it's a big pot) I didn't really touch it.

I checked today and a small tree at the base of the plant had one of its three branches broken off, however the other two branched looked fine with almost entirely green leaves (some were dry).
Then I touched the trunk and apparently it had gone completely dry and crumpled up like paper.
EDIT: I ripped it open and apparently it's wet inside but there's no smell so I dunno

I checked the roots for rot but they seemed fine (white and firm) except when I touched them they crumpled up like paper too.

The other two trees are fine but I noticed the second smaller tree was also going a bit soft at the trunk (about as soft as a firm apple rather than hard wood). I've watered them now.
There's no problem with drainage because the water flows right out so I don't think it can be rot, but somehow everything is making it look like rot (hollow trunk with moisture inside, branches still okay and "hollowness" spreading upwards)
[Last edited by dryrot - Jun 20, 2017 10:46 AM (+)]
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Jun 21, 2017 11:52 AM CST
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Jun 21, 2017 11:59 AM CST
Please, what is the botanical name of the plant you are calling a dragon tree? Also, did you take any photos?
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Jun 21, 2017 1:04 PM CST
Hi & welcome!

From the way you said the water runs right out, it sounds like the soil is hydrophobic, so dry that it will take several applications of water over intervals of time to get it thoroughly moistened. If it had been like that for a while, that can fool folks into thinking the soil was already holding as much moisture as possible. It was possibly already desperately dry, if not already officially dead, when it came into your care. How long has your mom been gone on her trip?

Unfortunately, it sounds like the tree is dead. So sorry! Dragon tree almost always refers to Dracaena marginata, which is not hard to find for sale if a replacement is needed, but a larger, older one won't be cheap.
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