Palm trees are usually associated with beaches, however in recent years many people have started growing them in other climates. These tall, skinny beauties look like they don’t need much, but there are certainly some things that need to be done to ensure their health and safety. Just like any other living thing, they need to have access to a good water system and have their environment maintained to be able to grow and sustain themselves where ever they are planted. Here are some tips to keeping your palm trees in shape and looking great.
1. Build a Water Trap at the Base of the Palm Tree
The first thing to know about palm trees is that they will not start sprouting leaves until the roots in the trunk are settled comfortably. Even though palm trees don’t appear to need as much water as an evergreen would, they actually require just as much hydration if not more. A good way to allow them to get the maximum amount of water is to build a small ring-shaped trap at the base. This is the most ideal way to get water right down to the roots and preserve any excess for later. You should start the trap roughly 40 centimeters from the base of the trunk to hit this ideal location, and it will result in good drainage for your palm trees.
2. Keep the Tree Warm During Cold Spells
When a palm tree is young, it will be easy enough to access all parts of it, as it will be rather low to the ground. If you live in an area that experiences colder weather, it is essential to keep it warm so that its growth progress isn’t stinted. The best way to do this is by taking a fleece blanket and covering up the main section of leaves. Then wrap the base with bamboo mats. Then, secure the fleece blanket by taping it to the bamboo mats on the trunk until the cold weather has passed.
3. Fertilize Frequently During the Warm Months of the Year
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to their palm trees is not fertilizing them enough. Just like humans, palm trees need a lot of vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy and grow, and also to help build their immune system to defend themselves from pests. Fertilizing during the summer is extremely important, and during that course of the year you should apply fertilizer at least four or five times.
4. Don’t Over Prune your Palm Tree
Over time you will notice dead or dying brown sections on your palm tree. Even though these parts aren’t alive they are still necessary to the tree. A lot of the brown leaves still contain nutrients for the live part to feed off, so it is a good idea to leave some of that on there. The key thing to remember is if you see a section that is sprouting at a 45-degree angle, don’t cut it! If you want to prune some of the dead parts off stick to the ones closest and lowest to the trunk section.
5. Don’t Fertilize New Palm Trees Right Away
When a palm tree is fresh and newly initiated to the ground its roots are extremely sensitive. It is a very bad idea to fertilize the tree as soon as you plant it, because the chemicals from the product are more than likely to damage the roots. In fact, if you do it anyway it is more than likely that you will end up with a sick or dead tree within a couple of months. In order to avoid this, allow your tree to be in the ground for at least four months before you fertilize it. This gives it a chance to establish its roots and before anything else is added to the soil.
Stewart Scott is a certified arborist and is the owner of Cevet Tree Care, where he offers the best tree service Columbia MO has to offer. Cevet has provided tree trimming and other tree care services to mid-Missouri for almost 20 years.