How to Trim Coconut Trees


If you live in a warm climate, you might have coconut palms growing on your property. The large "nuts" are the fruit of this palm. Caring for a coconut palm involves keeping old fronds cut off and keeping small coconuts removed, especially if your tree is in an area where people often walk. Fronds will fall on their own if you leave them to turn brown, but it's better for the tree if you regularly trim them.

Step 1

Look for fronds that begin to droop from the base of the circle of fronds on your coconut palm. When these drooping fronds begin to turn yellow or brown, then it is time to trim them.

Step 2

Cut drooping fronds close to the tree's trunk, taking care not to cut into the trunk. If your tree is small, you can use a tree saw or machete: if it is older and the fronds are not within reach, climb a ladder to reach the fronds, or use a pole pruner.

Step 3

Cut off small coconuts to prevent them from growing large and later possibly dropping onto vehicles, animals or people. A large falling coconut can kill a human and can inflict damage to cars, sheds and other structures.

Step 4

Use your cut fronds as mulch in other parts of your garden. If you lay them around the trunks of fruit trees, they will help prevent weeds from taking over an orchard.

Tips and Warnings

  • Refrain from trimming off too many fronds. Doing so can cause a condition called "pencil top," which weakens the top of the tree, making it susceptible to breakage during high winds. Always be careful when working with sharp tools, especially when you are on a ladder.

Things You'll Need

  • Tree saw
  • Pole tree pruner
  • Machete
  • Ladder


  • Pruning Coconut Palms
  • Ambergris Caye: Care of Coconut Palms
  • Broward Co., Florida: Palm Tree Care
Keywords: coconut palm, tree pruning, tropical plants

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.