How to Properly Care For and Maintain a Palm Tree
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Last Updated on September 9, 2021 by Gary Stephen
Nothing feels quite as lush and tropical as a landscape filled with majestic palm trees. Well-maintained palms add beauty to the landscape and can even add to your home’s value. Proper care leads to strong and long-living trees and their care begins the moment they are planted into their new surroundings. Here are a few ways to properly care for and maintain a palm tree.
Watering Guidelines for Transplanted Palms
Once established in the landscape, most species of palm are relatively tolerant to brief droughts. It can take anywhere from 6 months to a year for a newly planted palm to establish its root system in the new site. During this time, it’s important that the transplanted palm receives enough water.
Newly planted trees aged 1-2 years old require three to four water applications weekly, while 3-4 years old trees require two to three water applications weekly. Be sure to water deeply so that it reaches the root ball, promoting deeper root system development. Once these trees are established you will need to water them less and less regularly.
Depending on the soil you’ve used, its ability to retain moisture, and your local weather conditions, taking into account the time of year and season, you might have to irrigate your newly transplanted palm daily. If the soil you are using is sandy, and your outside conditions are especially hot and dry this will be a necessity for a few weeks up to a few months. Consistent watering for the conditions doesn’t mean you want to keep the soil soggy and saturated though. Overwatering is just as bad for the tree as underwatering, and you want to let the top few inches of the soil dry out before you water again to avoid root rot.
Watering Guidelines for Potted Palms
Palm trees grown in containers typically require daily watering in the active growing season, spring through summer, but less frequently during winter as palms go dormant and grow much slower at this time. Water your plant when it has completely dried out. In a pot, it is really easy to check if the soil is dry and needs water. If the top 3-4 inches of soil feels dry to the touch it is time to water in the growing season. If you don’t let the soil dry out sufficiently, the palm can develop root rot and die.
If you are keeping the palm indoors, be sure to keep it in a location with lots of natural lights that mimics what it would receive outdoors. If the palm is too large to move in its pot be sure to place it close together with some other potted plants, to help insulate it and protect the roots from the element. If your palm suffers cold damage the leaves will turn brown and die. Wait until they have completely dried before you trim them off.
Browning Frond Tips
As you have just read, if your palm isn’t getting enough water the tips of the fronds start turning brown. But this is not the only reason for browning leaves. In addition to too little water, this can also be a sign of too much fertilizer and a lack of humidity. The leaves won’t revert when you correct the issue, but the plant will be happier. Don’t overfertilize and give the plant sufficient water to fertilizer ratio.
Be sure to mist the leaves to improve humidity if you live in a low humidity region.
Palm Tree Pruning Requirements
An important aspect of palm tree care is how to cut palm fronds properly so as not to weaken the tree’s health and even lead to its death. Selecting a proper landscape location actually plays a huge role in how much you will need to prune. Palms should be able to reach their full potential without interfering with structures such as power lines, walkways, and buildings.
It is important to remember that you don’t want to prune anything other than dead, completely brown fronds. The quickest way to weaken a palm species is by trimming off green fronds. Those with even the slightest color are still giving nourishment to the plant.
Palm fronds go through a process where they slowly brown, which is completely natural and will eventually lead to a completely dead frond. Depending on the species of palm, this process could take several months, and only then should one prune off the front. Fascinatingly, some palm species are actually self-cleaning and will drop their dead fronds. For these palms, one just needs to collect the fallen leaves from the ground.
Proper palm tree care is important when it comes to keeping your palms strong, problem-free, and year-round eye-catching beauties. Healthy palms produce lush, healthy, robust growth, and having them in your garden or house can almost instantly change a bland space, or yard into a tropical paradise. With so many different palms to choose from, your biggest problem will be choosing which one you want to bring home to plant.