Why Are My Sylvester Date Palms Dying?

Question: Hi there. 6 weeks ago I bought 16 2&3ft Sylvester Date Palms. Its been hell keeping them alive! I have sandy well drained soil. One died and was replaced 2 are on life support. All have new green shoots coming from the center. Problem is that the outer and some new shoots have died and the outer dies about a third from end looks horrible. Yesterday I trimmed all the brown and today more brown! Should I trim a partly brown limb? Today I concluded that the problem might have been the continuous watering with house water which is soft water with 3ppm chlorine in it. So I switched to well water which is very hard with lots of lime and Iron in it. Could this have been it? The tree farm said to keep them tied but the brown outers were keeping light from the new center growth so I untied them. Help! Thanks.

Answer: There are few things that could be happening. They could have been planted too deep, or not acclimatized for the area (if you live in a colder climate), or the watering schedule is wrong.  It is hard to figure out from a distance. Palms usually lose a lot of roots during transplanting. Few roots that are left have to work extra hard to provide tree with enough water until it develops new roots system.  They should be watered every day for the first week and every other day for the second week. Here is my article on palm watering. Don’t cut brown leaves, palms use them for nutrients. Just water them with well water. Fertilizing will not help. ~Susan Brian

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