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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Tuesday - December 06, 2011

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Problems with non-native Canary Date Palms from Miami FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi: The fronts of my canary date palm, which I planted about 6 years ago, has been getting brown from the bottom of the tree and working itself towards the top for the past several months now. The browning starts from the tip of the leaves and move towards the middle of the front. There are only a few live fronts left. I need your help with first identifying the problem and telling me what I can do to save this beautiful tree. Please get back to me soon. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Since Phoenix canariensis, Canary Date Palm is native to (surprise!) the Canary Islands, it falls out of the realm of experience of Mr. Smarty Plants. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the place in which they are being grown. We understand that they do pretty well in South Florida, so we are going to refer you to some websites that may give you the information you need:

Canary Island Date Palm

Florida Palm Trees

Dave's Garden

The gist of the information we are getting from this is that this palm is very sensitive to cold, and needs to have its trunk wrapped most winters. Since there are apparently quite a few of these trees in your area, we suggest you contact the University of Florida Miami-Dade County Extension Office. If others in your area are experiencing the same problem, the Extension Office should know and be able to recommend what to do.

 

 

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