Ask a Question forum: Is my plant dead

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Illinois
Donghsu
Aug 5, 2017 6:33 AM CST
i have a very small ponytail palm that i got
the fronds are completely yellow and stiff is it dead or can i still save it

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 5, 2017 6:53 AM CST
Does it have any live new growth at the top of the bulb? Can you post a photo of it here? The photo should show the entire plant, including its pot.
Will Creed
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Illinois
Donghsu
Aug 5, 2017 9:04 AM CST
Yeh sorrry

Thumb of 2017-08-05/Donghsu/6765ae

hope that worrks don't see any new growtg
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Aug 5, 2017 9:16 AM CST
Your plant is a Sago Palm or Cycad revoluta, not a Ponytail Palm. It is hard to know what caused the fronds to yellow. It could be dormancy or it could be that the roots are dead. Move it to a warm, sunny location indoors. Allow the soil to dry very deep into the pot and then give it a thorough watering. Look for signs of new fronds emerging, but it may take a month or more. Keep the soil on the dry side at all times. The yellow fronds will never recover so they can be cut off.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 5, 2017 9:30 AM CST
Welcome!

It looks like two different coloured materials in the pot, like maybe it was repotted? Do you know why it looks whitish in the middle circle - has it been fertilized at all?
Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Aug 5, 2017 9:31 AM CST
Don't cut the leaves off until they are brown. Your plant may not sprout growth for many months. New growth could be as rare as once a year. In the meantime try to provide the best care you can (mainly strong light and regular water) so the plant survives.
Illinois
Donghsu
Aug 5, 2017 11:45 AM CST
okay we bouthg the plant at the store like that hoping we could save it
the whitish circle in the middle is the base of the plant
i dont believe t has been fertilized maybe just once
thanks you guys
Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Aug 5, 2017 12:02 PM CST
The base of the plant shouldn't have any white on it. Try to determine what it is. Is it a fungus?
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Illinois
Donghsu
Aug 5, 2017 12:13 PM CST
i don't think therre is any white
Sooby thought s/he saw somehting; no fungus whew!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Aug 5, 2017 2:53 PM CST
Sooby's observation is a good one. It does appear that the original rootball was moved into a larger pot with a different type of potting mix surrounding it. The extra soil may have retained too much moisture around the roots.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 5, 2017 3:38 PM CST
You may want to re-pot so the soil is all consistent - that will help with water retention and drainage. You can reuse the same pot.

The Sego is most likely still alive - I have rescued trunks with no roots or leaves and they have flourished. But as Baja pointed out, it could be a year before you see any signs of life.

This is a job best taken on with a great amount of patience. Smiling
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Aug 5, 2017 3:51 PM CST
And this is how you will know you're on the way to recovery...

Thumb of 2017-08-05/Baja_Costero/e93ec1

Illinois
Donghsu
Aug 6, 2017 10:53 AM CST
ok i'll try that
thank y;all so much, i'll repot my sago as soon as posssible
thanks for your help!
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
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purpleinopp
Aug 7, 2017 12:39 PM CST
Potting-up (placing an intact root ball into a bigger pot surrounded with more soil) instead of repotting (removing the old soil & replacing with new soil, into a new or same pot) so often leads to rotting roots. I killed a lot of plants by potting-up until I learned the difference.
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Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Aug 7, 2017 12:45 PM CST
My experience is the opposite. I view the greater danger to be manipulating the root ball, in terms of damage and rot. There is no danger whatsoever in moving a root-bound plant to a new, bigger pot if that new pot is sized appropriately (not overly huge) and the timing is right. I do this several times a week to various plants so I'm speaking from experience. I like to move plants along in 1-2" increments of pot size, so it's rarely a huge change anyway.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Aug 7, 2017 12:54 PM (+)]
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Illinois
Donghsu
Aug 7, 2017 12:58 PM CST
So I repotted my pllant to a bigger pot and I found these on the roots
What are they

Thumb of 2017-08-07/Donghsu/bb659e

Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Aug 7, 2017 1:05 PM CST
By all means, repeat that which leads to desirable results.

I've never had a woody entity not respond in a noticeably positive way to being repotted. The times I've repotted Sago, I did remove the old soil, trim the death-spiral of roots at the bottom of the root ball, and replaced with new soil.

Having had some of my woody plants for decades, a moratorium on the size of their pots had to be declared. Once a pot gets to be the size of a 5-gallon bucket, that's my limit. Waiting for a root ball to form a solid pancake/death spiral of that size before making any attempt to trim is not something I would let happen to any of my plants, and is against everything bonsai masters do to keep potted woodies healthy & gorgeous for hundreds of years.

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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Aug 7, 2017 1:05 PM CST
Nematode damage.
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Name: tarev
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tarev
Aug 7, 2017 1:08 PM CST
Hello Donghsu, I do agree it is a cycad not a ponytail palm.

If it were mine, I would also NOT cut the leaves, but will repot it to a totally new media. It needs very well draining, and gritty media. I will remove all the old media, it does not look right for it. Use a container with drain holes, and wide mouth but shallow for now. It really grows so slow, so be very patient with it. It does not look dead to me yet.
Position the plant is part sun as it adjusts to its new set-up. NO fertilizers either, the plant is in some distress, so it needs to recover. Make sure to plant it as it was before, with the caudex raised high.

I have been very mean to one of my cycads before, and it also showed similar yellowing leaves, since I have been growing it wrong, planted too deep, using a self-watering container that holds too much water:

Thumb of 2017-08-07/tarev/d61f85
It is however still trying to grow new leaves:
Thumb of 2017-08-07/tarev/e736ed

After a repot, removing all the old soil, improving the container and using the correct media, positioning it is part sun/shade, it eventually recovered nicely. The old yellow leaves turned browned but it still helped the plant till it grew better leaves, so just allow the old leaves to dry out naturally.
Thumb of 2017-08-07/tarev/7bd97d
Thumb of 2017-08-07/tarev/92da9a Thumb of 2017-08-07/tarev/2ecc5a


Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 7, 2017 1:10 PM CST
Can we get a closer, sharper picture of the things on the roots? Was the plant purchased already potted? If it has nematode "knots" one would tend to assume it had previously been planted in the ground. Edited to add an afterthought - or someone used garden soil when they potted it at some time.
[Last edited by sooby - Aug 7, 2017 1:12 PM (+)]
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