To me, palm trees are a symbol of sunny days, relaxing beaches, and warm weather. I was born in a small town in Wisconsin (the frozen tundra), so when I came to California, it was exciting to see the sight of palm trees. In fact, people travel miles to our sunny beaches in order to experience the strength and beauty that palm trees represent. At times, due to our busy lives, we may overlook them. However, despite this, they always remind me of why I love to live here in sunny San Diego.
As the summer and warm season come to an end, palm trees go through their natural cycle of frond growth and expiration. In addition, some palms tend to produce fruit throughout the summer months. palms are a great asset to our homes, businesses, and community, so it is critical that we know how to properly care for them.
As a Certified Landscape Industry Manager, I thought I would share some of the knowledge that I have gained over the past 8 years of my commercial landscape career.
Palm pruning timing:
- Ideally most palms should be trimmed in the July/August time frame. If you are on a budget, 1x per year is sufficient.
- If you have a corporate campus and it is critical to keep the palms looking their best year round for curb appeal, you will want to budget 2x per year for pruning. These times include the early spring and in the July/ August time frame.
Basic palm pruning ideas:
- If palm fronds are yellow, brown, or broken then prune them off.
- Remove loose petioles or boots by hand. If they don’t pull off, leave them.
- Remove the palm flower and fruit stalks. The formation of fruit and seeds unnecessarily takes strength away from the trees. When mature, fruits may provide food for pests such as rodents and birds. Fruit and leaves can drop and stain hardscape in the adjacent landscape as well. In addition, seeds from certain types of palms, such as Fan palms, can germinate in undesired areas of landscape.
Keep palm pruning to a minimum:
- Many people prefer to keep their palms “high and tight”, so there is as much foliage removed as possible. Although this may look consistent and uniform, it may not be the best approach. Palms get most of their energy through their fronds, so the more you remove, the less surface area they have to produce the energy they need to thrive and survive. Many palm experts recommend pruning your palm fronds to a “9” and “3” position, if you were to relate it to the hands of a clock. Some will say “10” and “2” position. We would not recommend going any tighter than those positions, otherwise you may jeopardize the health of the palm. Below is a photo of a properly pruned palm and one which had too many fronds removed.
At Heaviland Landscape Management we are responsible for maintaining the palm trees in numerous homeowner associations, municipal, and commercial properties. After the summer months we are especially busy with palm pruning and fertilization projects. We collaborate with local Arborists and Palm Specialists to make sure we are providing the best possible service to all of our clients. Palm pruning is important for keeping a palm healthy and happy. Stay tuned for my next article on palm fertilization.
Until next time, you can check out the following websites on other pruning ideas and related items. I hope you found this information useful and keep those palms healthy!
For help with your commercial landscaping, contact Heaviland Landscape Management today or complete the web form on the right side of this page.