The palm tree looms large and languidly.
image by Dominic's Pics/Flickr.com
Tropical palm trees provide shade in sunny areas and the biggest palms, such as the black trunk or King Kong palms, can grow up to 80 feet in height. Most palm trees need to be grown in extremely warm areas where the temperature never drops below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. However, certain types of palms, such as the dwarf sugar palm and Bismarck palm, grow best in temperatures of 30 F. Always match your climate with the variety of palm tree you are choosing to ensure the highest-quality growth.
Choose the best area for your tree to go before digging a hole. Palm trees need to be in full sun, with plenty of room for their roots to spread. Keep them at least 30 feet away from your home to ensure the palm's root do not overtake your home. The palm must also be kept away from your house in case high winds should ever knock it over.
Obtain your desired variety of tree from your local garden center. Purchase a tree on the same day you will be planting it. Palm trees need to be planted as soon as they are brought home from the store. Always plant your tree when soil temperatures have reached above 65 F.
Measure the width of the palm's root ball and multiply this number by 2. This is how wide your hole needs to be. Measure the depth of the root ball to find the depth of the hole.
Dig the hole according to your measurements. Be sure that you do not dig the hole any deeper than the palm's root ball. Planting the tree deeper will deprive it of necessary nutrients. Use a rototiller to help break up the soil before excavating the dirt with a shovel.
Fill the hole halfway with a 1 to 1 mix of compost and backfill. Water the hole and wait for the soil to settle. This removes any air and open spaces in the hole.
Sprinkle water on the tree's root ball and gently loosen the roots. Gently place the tree into the hole and cover the tree with the remaining soil. Water the tree thoroughly, wait for the soil to settle and refill any holes or areas with exposed roots.
Build a water circle around the tree. Use any remaining soil and compost to construct a circle 2 feet away from the tree on all sides. The soil must be 2 to 3 inches high and wide. Cover the interior of the circle in mulch.
Place a soaker hose within the circle and water the tree daily for the first few months. Never allow the soil to get dry. The water circle will diminish and disappear over time as the tree is established.
Apply a fertilizer with a 3-1-3 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium every four months.
Replace the mulch and add new compost every spring.
Prune away dead palm fronds or leaves as they appear. Never cut too close to the trunk. You might want to hire a specialist for this work because the slightest pruning mistake can invite insects and disease into the tree.