california palm

Asked February 17, 2013, 11:29 AM EST

We were moving a 18 year old califonia palm tree and broke it in half. Will it still grow if we plant the bottom half?

Yuma County Arizona

1 Response

I am very sorry to hear this story. As a palm's apical growth is in the crown, I really don't think you would have any success of it resprouting if trunk has been severed. I found this article to confirm: http://ceventura.ucanr.edu/newsletters/Vol_18_No4_December_200429829.pdf -

"Single stemmed palms are anatomically rather simple. The more complicated multiple trunk palms are similar except that they have shoot-forming buds at their base. The typical single stemmed palm such as Washingtonia robusta has two main meristematic areas; 1) the shoot apical meristem or terminal bud that forms leaves and trunk and the root initiation zone at the base of the stem that forms roots. Once a palm forms its trunk, the tissues are fully formed and cannot be changed. Unlike shade trees and other woody vascular plants, palms have no vascular cambium. Their stems do not enlarge throughout their lifetimes and they have no ability to form wound tissue over injuries. There is only one terminal bud per trunk so if it is injured, that stem or the
entire plant for a single stemmed palm will be damaged or killed."

After 18 years, I'm afraid you'll have to mourn your tree. Then plant a new one.