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Plant Diseases/Pony tail palm disease


The top of where the fronds come out is turning brown. I had this problem with the other stalk { It is a twin stalk palm ] last year but it recovered and grew three new stalks. What is causing this and what can I do the fix it. Thank you.

Dear Vincent, Usually this condition is caused by the pony tail getting too cold which causes the top to turn brown.  At this point, it will either resprout on its own or you can prune the top off.  This will result in the multiple trunks you are getting.  Sometimes it is also caused by poor soil drainage.  Make sure if you are growing it in a pot, that the soil drains quickly, and if you have a saucer under the plant, make sure it doesn't hold any collected water.  Other than that, try to keep the plant from becoming too cold.  If it is too large to move and a cold snap is expected (it doesn't have to freeze, but any cold weather can cause this condition), then cover the top of the plant with a large garbage bag during the cold hours and remove it as soon as it begins to warm up.  If the top of the plant becomes mushy, then definitely prune it back.  Hopefully, you won't have any more cold weather on the plant and the drainage is good and you won't have this problem again, but the multiple trunks do make the plant very beautiful.  Good luck, and write back if I can be of further assistance.  Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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