There isn't anything more quintessentially Florida than the palm tree. You see them on just about every block, heck, there's even one on the state flag. But do you know how to prune one? There are right and wrong ways to trim your tree, and some species you should never prune. We hope this blog helps you prune like a pro.
First, what to cut; all dead leaves, fruit stalks, and flowers can go. Just make sure they're entirely gone. Half-dead leaves don't look good, but they do provide much-needed potassium to the rest of the tree.
When it comes to where to prune, get as close to the trunk as possible. But be careful not to cut into the tree. Gashes in the trunk open the tree up to diseases and pests. This is another reason why the pros never use spikes on their boots to climb tall palms. Never intentionally put holes in your tree.
While we're on the topic of the trunk, don't pull dead fronds off the tree. If you yank the leaves off, there's a good chance that you'll tear a layer of the trunk tissue off, causing a small but potentially deadly hole.
There isn't an ideal 'when' to prune palms. Some say spring and summer are best because there is some proof that fuller palms stand up better to the cold weather than trimmed ones.
Then, there's the storm season' hurricane cut'. This method calls for the trimming of all fronds, except the youngest leaves. Some say this makes the tree more wind resistant. However, there is evidence that 'hurricane cut' trees are more likely to snap at the crown than others.
Perfecting the palm
Healthy palm trees are supposed to look round, with a canopy of green leaves. Overpruned trees resemble rooster tails. Trimming too much reduces that canopy, and, in many cases, when the leaves grow back, they are smaller than usual.
There is a family of palms that you should never touch with a saw. These trees have a section of green leaves that are tightly connected at the top called a crown shaft. The dead and sick leaves of these species fall off on their own. Fertilizer is the key to the health of crown shaft palms, not pruning.
We hope this blog answered some of your pruning questions about palms. The real key to perfect palms is a combination of trimming and fertilizer. It's a lot to learn, and if you don't want to take any chances with your favorite and probably most expensive greenery in your landscape, contact us.