palm trees, residential landscape

Palm trees can be a stunning addition to your outdoor landscape, if you reside in a tropical or warm climate. Palm trees are relatively low maintenance; however, they still require a certain amount of care to ensure their continued growth, vigor, and beauty. Failure to adequately meet the needs of your palm tree may result in a less than stunning appearance and the palm may become susceptible to a variety of palm tree diseases and/or malnutrition.

1. Watering Palms

Although palms are somewhat drought resistant and can survive on very little water, however, they do prefer regular irrigation. When watered insufficiently, the palm tree may become malnourished and unable to uptake the necessary nutrients to flourish.

The same goes for over watering. Excessive watering can lead to irreversible damage to the palm.

The damages of over watering palm trees include:

  • Nutrient Deficiencies in the palm tree
  • Root Rot Diseases (which may cause a foul odor in extreme cases)
  • Discoloration and wilting of the palm fronds, or palm leaves

Palm trees are preferential to moist, well-drained soil. Therefore, the palm should be receiving enough water to ensure the soil is remaining moist and the area should be well irrigated to discourage ponding.

For more on watering your palm trees check out: How to properly water palm trees

2. Fertilizing Palms

Having a relatively shallow root system palm trees derive much of their nutrients from the top soil. This makes proper fertilization a very important part of growing beautiful healthy palms. Failure to provide your palm trees with the appropriate balance of nutrients will result in malnutrition; which if left unresolved will result in the death of the palm. Malnutrition weakens the palm tree leaving it vulnerable to tree diseases and tree pests. The most common symptom of a deficiency in the palm tree is yellowing of the fronds, or palm leaves.

3. Pruning Palms

The most common mistake associated with palm tree pruning(trimming), is over pruning. Many believe that removing old fronds, or palm leaves, will save the tree from wasting nutrients. However, it is quite the opposite in palm trees. New growth and mature palm fronds get their nutrients from the old fronds, that have not dropped. However, the palms fruit and seeds, should be removed because, they are unnecessarily using up nutrient that take away from the new growth. Green palm fronds should only be trimmed away after they have dropped and are hanging at an angle that is below 90-degrees, or parallel to the ground. Always use clean pruning shears to prevent cross contamination and the spread of potential diseases.

With just a little care and attention your low maintenance palm trees will continue to be a beautiful addition to your landscape.