How to Take Care of Palm Trees

Overview

Palm trees are a relaxing reminder of the tropics and an elegant addition to any yard. They come in an array of shapes and sizes and can last for more than a century. Caring for palm trees is relatively easy when grown in warm climates with sufficient rainfall. Preventative measures are the most effective when protecting your palm from disease and infestation.

Step 1

Choose the best location for your palm. Most palm trees need eight hours of direct sunlight each day and well-draining soil. If you are planting multiple palms, be sure each tree has a radius of 10 to 20 feet of space.

Step 2

Mulch the tree's base. Evenly spread a 6-inch layer of mulch around the base of your palm tree stretching to the edge of the canopy. This keeps the soil temperature low, conserves moisture and prevents an onslaught of weeds.

Step 3

Regularly water your palm tree. Young and newly planted palms should be watered one to two times per week. Mature, established palms should be watered deeply during periods of inadequate rainfall. Use an open hose to fully soak the base of your palm tree one to two times per month.

Step 4

Fertilize every three to four months. Add a slow-release fertilizer specially formulated for palm trees such as 12-4-12 or 13-13-13. Most palm fertilizers come in the form of pellets or spikes to be buried in the soil around the tree.

Step 5

Prune gently. Some palms, such as the coconut palm, recycle nutrients from dead fronds back into the core of the tree and do not need pruning. Other palms, such as the Kentia and Sago palm, benefit from regular removal of dead leaves. Be sure not to tear the bark when pruning.

Step 6

Keep humidity high. If growing an indoor or potted palm, mist your plant daily with water. Keep in a greenhouse for additional humidity and rapid growth.

Tips and Warnings

  • Puncture wounds in palm trees never heal. Do not nail signs or lights to the trunks of palms.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning Shears

References

  • University of Floridia
  • Jungle Music Nursery
  • Palm Trees
Keywords: palm tree, potted palms, tropical landscaping

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. She is a featured poet on NYC public radio, is the winner of the San Jacinto & Alethean Literary Societies' Poetry Award, and has authored three collections of poetry including "cold days," "bastante" and "short poems." She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Southwestern University.