Tips for Protecting Your Florida Palm Trees

How to Properly Care for Your Most Valuable Plants

Helpful Advice from Buck’s Backyard

Palms are a very important part of our Florida landscape. Every time you see a Florida TV commercial or advertisement, the background typically has a palm tree in it. They are everywhere you look, homes, schools, businesses. As important as they are to our scenery, most of the time Florida palm trees are not fed correctly, and are pruned or trimmed incorrectly — to the point where damage can occur.

An example of a "hurricane cut" where too many fronds are removed

An example of a “hurricane cut” where too many fronds are removed

In the 90’s when Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, a huge number of palm trees were trimmed with what they call “hurricane cut” or severe over pruning. Most of the palms did not survive the storm. The palms that did were either not trimmed or were trimmed correctly, so it’s important to have professional assistance when pruning or trimming your trees to ensure their health.

Some palms also self-defoliate. When you see for example a yellowing frond on a Christmas tree palm (adonidia.) It will be on the bottom and the yellowing will start showing, and in a few days that frond will fall off. Do not remove that frond by hand. If you do you can leave an open wound and invite insects and disease.

Some palms come from parts of the world where grass fires burn off the dead fronds and don’t even hurt the palm. That is how Mother Nature wanted it to be. Palms pull nutrients from the lower fronds to provide nutrients to the new fronds (spear). So by cutting off the frond too early, it can actually slow the growth down and keep much needed nutrients from the growing palm.

A properly trimmed Florida palm tree helps the plant to remain healthy

A properly trimmed Florida palm tree helps the plant to remain healthy

If you have to trim a palm always keep the canopy in a 9 to 3 cut. Using a 12 hour clock picture a 9 to 3 cut (half circle) this is the most you should ever trim a palm tree. In the near future we will go over proper watering and feeding of palm trees.

Buck MoonBuck Moon serves as the Certified Pest Control Operator for Harmony Care. In this role, he supervises field personnel and ensures all operations proceed in a safe and effective manner. He writes regularly on best practices for maintaining a healthy vibrant lawn in his home state of Florida.