The money trees are popular houseplants that give your house or office an exotic feel with their lush green leaves and braided trunks. However, one of the various problems that a money tree can have is a soft trunk. Let’s find out why it happens.
The primary cause of soft trunk in money trees is root rot and overwatering. When you overwater the money tree, the stem holds the excess water, making them weak and soft. Apart from that, the root also starts to rot, leading to a soft and squishy trunk in the money tree.
The soft trunk is not a good sight, and it clearly tells that the money tree is unhealthy. But, instead of worrying, you need to follow some steps that can help your money tree return to health along with a healthy stem.
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Money tree has soft trunk
The first step to figuring out what causes the money tree trunk to be soft is to understand the problem.
You need to check all the parts of the money tree, including the roots, to make out the issue. We have listed some possible reasons behind the soft trunk on your money tree.
- Heavy soil mix
- Poor drainage system
- Low light
- Temperature fluctuations
Now let us understand all these in detail to figure out what you are doing wrong and what the right way is.
Overwatering can occur if you are not aware of the water requirements of the money tree or neglect it. Your might tree will not gain anything from getting some extra water as that will cause more harm than help.
It is suggested that you give the money tree thorough but infrequent watering, similar to its natural environment in the tropical regions where it receives heavy rainfall followed by a prolonged drought.
When we say deep and thorough watering, the money tree should receive a good soak until water starts seeping out through the drainage holes. Anything more than that can cause overwatering.
If you water the money tree too frequently without even checking the soil, that can also lead to overwatering.
Overwatering leads to some of the most deadly problems, such as root rot and pest infestation that can make the plant weak. All these can make the trunk of the money tree soft and mushy.
You should always check the money tree’s soil and water when the soil is at least 50-75% dry. Most money trees require watering once in one or two weeks. However, it can depend on other external conditions such as the plant’s size, humidity, temperature, etc.
However, you can start by watering the plant a little less and then move up depending on the plant’s requirements.
Also Read: What To Do If I Overwatered My Money Tree? (Problems+How To Fix)
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Heavy soil mix
If you use a regular potting mix for your money tree, you might be making a mistake. A standard potting mix might retain more moisture than required by the money tree.
Money trees like their soil to remain slightly moist and not go completely bone dry. However, in no way it means that it will not allow the excess water to flow out.
If you have been using a regular potting mix, it can cause root rot as the roots will remain moist for too long along with the soil. Therefore, you need to switch to a better option immediately to help the trunk of the money tree recover.
If you use a regular soil mix, you can add sand and perlite to make it well-draining. You can also use peat-based soil along with a succulent blend.
If you start using the correct soil type, it will not retain extra moisture and not affect your money tree’s roots or trunk.
Also read: What Kind Of Soil Does A Money Tree Need? (+Best Soil Mix)
Poor drainage system
We have already discussed how soil can affect drainage and lead to a soft trunk, but even the pot plays a vital role in determining the drainage system of the money tree.
If the pot does not contain any drainage holes, the excess water won’t have a way of coming out of it and will remain in the pot and the soil.
Even if your pot has drainage holes, it can get blocked over time if you don’t clean them.
You should ensure that the drainage holes don’t get blocked by checking them from time to time. Throw some pebbles in the pot before adding soil to the pot to prevent the drainage holes from getting blocked.
You should use the correct sized pot as a larger pot can hold too much water that can eventually lead to a soft trunk.
Low light is not an ideal condition for the money tree in any way as it prefers long hours of bright and indirect sunlight.
The money tree can tolerate low light for a short period, but keeping it in low light for a long time can lead to different problems, one of which is a soft and weak trunk.
Low light doesn’t let the soil get dry on time, and that keeps the roots moist for long. This encourages overwatering, root rot, fungal infections, and pest infestation.
Light is essential for a healthy money tree, and if it is not getting enough light and the trunk starts becoming soft, you need to relocate the plant to a brighter spot or use artificial light to make up for the lack of light.
Also Read: How Much Light Does A Money Tree Need? (Money Tree Light Requirements)
One of the common problems that money trees face is overfertilization. While many money tree owners feed their plants excess fertilizer to see more growth, many fertilize during the winter when the plant doesn’t need it at all.
First of all, the money tree is a light feeder, which means it doesn’t require heavy fertilizing.
Don’t fertilize your money tree with the prescribed dose. Dilute the regular amount to make it half-strength and then give it to the money tree. You should fertilize the money tree once or twice a month during the growing season.
You should reduce fertilizing from fall and stop fertilizing in the winter as the plant becomes dormant. If you fertilize in winter, the roots have the chance of getting burnt. The plant will get shocked and the trunk will start becoming unhealthy and soft due to the shock.
Also Read: Does Money Tree Need Fertilizer? (How Much, How Often & Best Pick)
Money trees are sensitive to sudden rise or fall in temperature levels.
The temperature drops below average during winter, and the money tree can get shocked if it is exposed to that low temperature.
If the money tree is placed outside or near a window exposed to low temperature, frost, or cold drafts, the plant will get stressed and shocked.
Money trees thrive in medium to high temperatures, so low temperature or sudden change can be harmful. This can lead to falling leaves and soft stems.
If you want to save your money tree from the shock, you must maintain the correct temperature levels. Bring your money tree inside during winter and keep it away from the window.
Keep your money tree in a room with a fireplace or furnace to increase the temperature of the plant. Make sure that the plant is at least a few feet away from the heat source.
Don’t expose your money tree to sudden temperature fluctuations.
What to do if money tree trunk is soft?
You need to determine the severity of the condition, based on which you can decide what action to take.
If the trunk has just started becoming soft, but you don’t notice any other damage, you might be able to save the plant.
You can get rid of the soft stem and repot the tree in a new pot.
But if the damage is severe, you might not be able to save the plant. But you can take healthy cuttings and propagate a new money tree from the cuttings.
Also Read: How To Propagate Pachira Money Tree? (Soil+Water Propagation)
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How to remove soft trunk from the money tree?
If you have a braided money tree, you might need to get rid of the trunk that has turned soft. This is because a soft trunk indicates that it is dying.
If you keep the trunk, it can affect the other trunks that have formed the braid. If you want to save the other trunks, it is best to remove the soft ones.
The first thing to be done is to get the money tree out of the pot. Once it is out, you must inspect the roots and trim the damaged ones which look brown and mushy. Be careful so that you don’t hurt the healthy roots.
After eliminating the damaged roots, try to pull the soft trunk out of the braid. Do it gently so that the other trunks remain intact and unaffected.
Prune some of the leaves and branches to help the money tree save some energy that it can use for its recovery after the pruning and repotting.
You can use these healthy branches to propagate a new plant later on.
Take a pot with drainage holes and add well-draining soil mix to it. If you intend to use the old pot, clean it with a diluted bleach mix to eliminate any bacteria or mold.
Place the money tree in the middle and add soil from all sides. Make sure that there are no air pockets in the soil.
The whole process might be very stressful for your money tree. You need to give it some time to recover. Don’t worry if you notice falling leaves.
Water the plant properly but avoid overwatering. Don’t fertilize till the plant recovers. Don’t expose the money tree to cold drafts or direct sunlight. You can understand that the plant has recovered once you see healthy and new growth on it.
Also Read: Should I Remove Dead Trunks From Money Tree? (+How To)
How to prevent trunks from becoming soft?
If you want to prevent your money tree trunks from becoming soft, you need to:
- Take care of the watering. Water the money tree after checking the soil and not by following any watering routine blindly.
- Use the right-sized pot that has working drainage holes.
- Use a peat-based or succulent blend soil mix for good drainage.
- Fertilize with a diluted dose during the growing season, which is spring and summer.
- Keep the money tree in a bright spot.
- Keep your money tree away from low temperatures, cold drafts, and frost in winter.
Reference: NYBG, WIKIPEDIA, CABI, Missouri Botanical Garden, Effect of light intensity on plant growth.
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