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Coir matting normal in some palms

Question: I have "burlap" growing between the fronds at the trunk of my 4-year-old male date palm. They look awful and are difficult to manage. Please advise.

I really hesitated responding to this as I was not sure I was "seeing" what you were seeing, so I will answer from my gut on this.

In some palms, the trunk exfoliates and produces a coir-like matting that can resemble burlap in texture. Some produce this more than others. Two that come to mind that we grow in Las Vegas are windmill palm and Mediterranean fan palm.

Some of the other palms, such as fan palms and date palms, produce very little.

Why? I don’t know; it is just one of their features.

I’m not sure if this is what you are seeing, but if this is the case, then really, there is not much you can do about it but try to enjoy it as best as you can. I don’t think it is worth trying to cut out or burn out, which are probably your choices.

I hope I am not too far off base.

Bob Morris is a professor emeritus in horticulture with the University of Nevada and can be reached at extremehort@aol.com. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. For more gardening advice, check the Home section of Thursday’s edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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