How to Keep a Palm From Growing Tall


Keep a palm from growing tall with careful and deliberate pruning practices. Hacking away at the top of a palm plant to shorten it is not the answer. It will result in an unhealthy, damaged tree. Correct pruning encourages the palm's health. Pruning palms does not, as some people think, make the plant grow faster. The key is to be selective about which fronds to remove. Cutting off too many each year will weaken the palm. The tree needs the fronds for food, which develops roots, flowers and fruit.

Step 1

Remove yellow or brown fronds. The color change indicates the fronds are not healthy and will eventually fall off anyway. They are taking energy from the rest of the tree and are better off removed now.

Step 2

Thin out the palm if it's clumping and getting too large for the planting space. Prune new growth where it meets the rest of the tree.

Step 3

Leave two rows of mature fronds in place when pruning palm trees. The mature fronds are growing just underneath the current season's blooms.

Step 4

Prune the palm over a few seasons to achieve the desired look.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not remove more fronds in one year than the tree produces during that year.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw/shears
  • Bleach


  • University of Nevada Cooperative Extension: Pruning Palm Trees
  • Sun Palm Trees: Palm Tree Pruning
Keywords: shorten palm tree, prune palm trees, tall palm tree

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.