Palm trees seem like an obvious choice for landscaping here in southern California. But any tree, even one that commonly does well in your area, needs the right care in order to truly thrive. If you’ve planted a palm tree in your yard or are considering one, here’s what you need to know.
Choosing the right type palm tree. Most people don’t realize that there are a number of different varieties of palm trees, and they don’t all have the same needs. If you’ve “inherited” a palm tree that was already planted in your yard, we hope that the previous owner chose it carefully. Otherwise, pay close attention to each variety’s need for sunlight, shade, temperature, and so on, and choose one that suits your yard.
Provide the right type of soil. Some varieties of palm can do well in either acidic or alkaline soil. Others are more finicky. If your soil isn’t just right for the variety that you choose, you can always amend it. And whatever you do, provide good drainage. All varieties of this tree need well draining soil.
Provide the right moisture. Again, different varieties of palm have different needs with regard to watering. Find out what type of palm you have, and water it according to its needs. Some need deep but occasional watering, while others need water just about every day. If choosing a palm for a low-water landscape, go for a desert variety but be prepared to water it deeply about once per week. If you decide upon a grouping of different palm trees, just make sure they have similar water needs.
Brace your palm tree. Bracing works better for young palm trees than staking. You will need to brace the tree for about a year or so, until it has developed strong enough roots that it can withstand wind.
Fertilize your palm tree. If you’ve just planted a new palm tree, wait a few weeks before applying fertilizer. Established palm trees need fertilizer that contains two parts nitrogen, one part phosphorus, one part magnesium, and three parts potassium, four times per year.
Prune your palm tree. When old fronds turn completely brown, remove them from the tree. Cut as close to the trunk as possible with a sharp pruning tool, and clean your tool with rubbing alcohol in between trees to reduce the spread of diseases.
If your palm tree has grown tall, you will either need a pole saw or climbing gear to trim dead fronds. Or, you can hire a professional tree trimming service. Give us a call, and we’ll help you keep your palm trees healthy and beautiful.