Queen Palm Tree Trimming


Faster growing than a coconut palm, but with equally graceful and feathery fronds, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) makes a tropical silhouette against the sky alone or in grove clusters. Tender to prolonged subfreezing temperatures, the queen palm is best grown where winter temps never drop below 25 to 27 degrees F. This correlates to U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 and warmer. Remove immature fruits to prevent weedy seedlings from invading the landscape.

Step 1

Examine the canopy of the queen palm, noting the approximate height of the fronds and how many fronds or flower stalks warrant trimming or removal. Leave yellowing fronds until they fully brown, as the palm pulls nutrients from dying fronds and uses them when sending out new fronds. This is particularly important in non-acidic soils.

Step 2

Extend the pruning saw on the extension pole to a length that allows you to reach the base of fronds.

Step 3

Use eye protection and gloves before you begin trimming. Eye goggles prevent sawdust from dropping into your eyes as you look up to saw. The gloves can provide better grip on the pole and protect hands from any cuts when handling fallen fronds.

Step 4

Saw or pull off all dried, dead fronds that persist on the lowermost half of the canopy along the trunk. Expect debris to break off and fall downward.

Step 5

Cut off any fronds that angle downward from the canopy that pose a safety threat or nuisance, such as one that rubs against a building window or dangles over a sidewalk. If the frond is green and not a real problem, leave it.

Step 6

Step back and visualize a horizontal line through the crownshaft of the palm--the growing point where all fronds emanate. Consider pruning off any other frond that angles below this imaginary horizontal line. Do not remove any frond that is horizontal or angled above this line. Do not over-prune or "hurricane cut" your palm, which is a bad practice, according to the University of Florida.

Step 7

Trim off any emerging flower stalk, expanded flower stalk or stalk that bears the many fruits. The flower stalk tends to emerge in very late spring in a wide, spear-like covering. The drooping white flower clusters are pretty, but if you leave them, cut them away once they fade to avoid any dropping fruit litter that is guaranteed later that summer.

Step 8

Dispose of (or compost) the pruning debris. Palm fronds decay slowly, so don't put them on a compost pile that is almost finished.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you cannot safely reach fronds or stalks with the pruning extension pole, consider using a ladder if it is stable or if someone can assist you. Hire an arborist or experienced landscape company with equipment that can better reach fronds atop tall palms.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw
  • Extension pole
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves


  • University of Florida: Pruning Palms
  • "Arbor Age"; Palm Pruning; Robert Lee Riffle; August 1998
  • "An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms"; Robert Lee Riffle and Paul Craft; 2003
  • "Your Florida Landscape"; Robert J. Black and Kathleen C. Ruppert; 1998
Keywords: queen palm care, pruning palms, Syagrus romanzoffianum

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," nonprofit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He's gardened and worked professionally at public and private gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has written articles for eHow and GardenGuides.