Hardy Palm and Subtropical Board
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I've seen this -- both first and second hand.
There are some palm species that, when presented with major stress events -- like relocation or near fatal cold exposure -- become permanent bonsai plants.
I have a 12 year old Palmetto that is nowhere NEAR forming a trunk, for example. It's defoliated so many times (never spear pull, though). So, it's basically become a costa-palmate minor, for lack of a better term. And I'm actually fine with that. To tell the truth, if it developed according to typical palmetto schedule, I wouldn't have room for it. So, if it stays small, great! I'm just tickled to be able to say I have a 12-year in-ground state tree of SC & FL in my Delaware soil.
I imagine this "stunting" effect can be seen in other species, like your Butia.
Jim, Wilmington, DE, 7a
Last 30 Years Avg. Winter Low: 7.50F
Last 20 Years Avg. Winter Low: 8.35F
Last 10 Years Avg. Winter Low: 8.40F
Favorite Palms: Species: Phoenix Canariensis / Genus: Sabal