Don’t prune your own palm trees! Here’s why

The Florida Palm Tree is a Gorgeous Sight!

The Florida Palm Tree is a Gorgeous Sight! Image courtesy of Dru Bloomfield (click image for more)

The palm tree is the beloved symbol of Florida. It conjures up jealousy in everybody outside of our gorgeous sunny state, but caring for a palm tree is trickier than it may look.

Palm trees are so common in Florida that it may seem they’re indestructible, but just like every other living organism, we humans often feel the need to mess with nature.

Each palm tree has an optimal amount of fronds (branches) which is unique to that tree and each time it grows a new branch, it will shed an old one. Left alone, the palm will take care of itself, shedding fronds and leaving its own debris to act as a mulchy manure. Problem is, that natural mulch attracts bugs, and not so nice smells, and the dead fronds aren’t too pretty, so many of us are tempted to speed up the course of nature and chop branches before they’re ready. Unfortunately, because the tree gets most of its nutrients from the mature leaves, pruning can cause it to lean on younger leaves causing them to mature too fast, before new leaves can replace them, and the tree will never catch up. Hence, misguided pruning can lead to permanent damage, disease, insect infestation, and sometimes death of the tree.

While it can be tempting as a property manager to accept help from a relative, or a low cost tree trimmer as they offer services door to door, you could find yourself spending more than double down the road to have your diseased tree removed. As a member of the International Society of Arboriculture, PALM Atlantic is trained in caring for all trees, and palms happen to be our specialty and, as lifelong Floridians, they are the heart of our company.

If you just can’t help but prune the palms while cleaning up your property, here are just a few pointers:

1. Remove the debris from around the tree. Just cleaning up from around the tree (not the stuff still attached) can be a momentous help in cleaning up the property. It can also be a time consuming and tiring job in itself.

2. Remove the dead branches by hand IF they come off easily. If you find yourself pulling hard, the frond is not ready to go. If it looks brown, give it a week or two and try then.

3. Remove the fruit. Most fruit will not be fertilized unless there is a male tree around, so it will eventually drop and could stain or, if it has been fertilized, could begin growth in an area that it is unacceptable to you.

Some palm trees are actually not native to Florida, so knowing your own trees can help you to understand their needs. Non native plants need different (oftentimes more) care than native species. The Desert Fan Palm for example, is better off with no pruning at all.

While pruning a palm tree can seem like a simple task, it shouldn’t be underestimated. At PALM, we know palm trees and we care for them using expertise that cleans up the tree while maintaining its optimal health so that it continues to decorate the property today and for many years to come.

For more information on our services, please give us a call: (954) 938-1999


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