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Sprouting ponytail

Sprouting ponytailMY ponytail palm outgrew the pot so I planted it in the garden. My cat has used it as a scratching post and damaged the bark. There is new growth coming from below the damage. Will it die or should I cut it back?


THE new growth from the base indicates your plant is healthy, so the good news is it should survive. Your photo shows the top looking reasonably healthy, so I'd leave it for now and wait to see what happens. If the damage is not extensive the plant will survive and continue to grow happily for many more years. Just make sure the cat doesn't have another go at it - which may be easier said than done.

If, however, over the next few months the top starts to yellow and die, cut the trunk off just below the damaged area with a sharp saw to encourage the new shoots at the base to take over. Then, with luck, after a few years you'll end up with an attractive multi-stemmed ponytail.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 206, 2006, Page 37

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: November 29, 2006