I have a foxtail palm; it is only 2 months old. We gave it a good drink of expert gardener all-purpose food 24-8-16. The leaves are turning brown about an inch all up and down the leaf. I was told this will kill it. I gave it some iron three or four days ago. Can you help me out?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Janice: Foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifuracata) is a fast-growing tropical palm, native to Australia. It can be grown outdoors in hardiness zones 9-11. These palms are quite tolerable of most soil conditions but prefer moist, well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients. Because you are gardening in zone 9 I am assuming you are growing this palm in your garden. As with any new additions to the garden, there is always a bit of transplant shock. For a healthier plant in the long run, it is a good idea to let them become established in the natural environment without adding additional nutrients. Not fertilizing for the first year is perfectly fine and actually recommended. This is especially true if you have not had your soil tested to know the amount of available nutrients. If you have not had your soil tested you can contact your County Cooperative Extension Service. The fertilizer you applied has a very high percentage of nitrogen, which can potentially burn the foliage. I am also wondering if the all-purpose food you applied had iron (Fe) in it as well. This should be listed on the packaging. For now you should avoid adding any additional nutrients. Keep the soil evenly moist and have your soil tested. Go ahead and remove the foliage that is damaged. Plants have survived for a very long time without our help and as gardeners we want to make them happy and strong, but in most cases it is best to let them do this on their own. The Aransas County offices are located at 611 East Mimosa, the phone number is (361) 790-0103.