Trimming Palm Trees

Trimming Palm Trees

In many subdivisions around town, homeowners are being given reminders to have their palm trees trimmed.  So I thought that I would talk a bit about trimming.

First, there are several palm trees that are self-pruning and really do not need to be trimmed.  Trees such as Royal, Adonidia (Christmas Palm), Foxtail, and Bottle palms will shed their own branches.  The only part that could use help is trimming off the seed pods that will stick out from the sides.

Trees such as Queen, Canary Island Date, Pygmy Date, Washingtonia, and Sylvester’s palms do require routing trimming, usually about once per year.  All of these palms, except the Queens, have sharp and painful thorns.  So be careful!  Generally, a good time to trim palm trees is just after the seed pods have opened and the seeds have not yet fallen to the ground.   The fallen berries, especially from Queen Palm, can attract unwanted guests such as rats, mice, and other pests.  Cleaning up all the palm berries is also very time-consuming.  Try to trim them before they fall to the ground.

Proper trimming is also important.  Do not over-prune.  Usually, just trim off the dead or yellowing branches.  After trimming, the remaining branches should be at the angles of 3 and 9 o’clock.  Trimming more will give a carrot top look and is unhealthy for the tree.  The tree needs green to feed the plant. Some people “Hurricane” cut and this is also unhealthy, especially in a hurricane (Ironically).  The palm branched support each other is wind.

Boot trimming should also be done.  This is removing all the dead “Husks” that are near the top of the trunk but before the branches.  Trimming them off the tree prevents them from falling to the ground and creating a mess to clean up.  It also reduced the space for critters to live like rats, mice, ants, and roaches.

Here is a link and a .pdf produced by the University of Florida IFIS.  They are the leaders in everything we do when it comes to Florida Agriculture, Plants, Fertilizations, and Pest Control.  They are my number one resource for information.  I will use them frequently in future blogs.