How to Maintain Palm Trees in South Florida


Tropical southern Florida is nearly synonymous with its most ubiquitous symbol, the palm tree. The Florida state tree is the Sabal palmetto, and nearly all of the 2,500 known varieties of palm tree can be grown in South Florida. Palm trees thrive in the warm, balmy weather that characterizes the area, and they grow more easily there than in most places in the United States. However, even palms grown in this palm-tree paradise need to be adequately maintained.

Step 1

Water you palm tree when the surrounding soil dries out--about two to three times a week. Monitor the soil in the summer to make sure it remains moist. Water less in the winter, about once a week. Insert a soil probe into the soil to determine the moisture level. Apply water if the extracted soil is dry. Water over a few hours with a hose laid at the base of the tree.

Step 2

Fertilize the palm tree four times a year with slow release fertilizer pellets sold commercially as "Palm Special" (12-4-12 or 13-3-13 with trace elements). Apply 1/2 lb. of fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter per year between April and September on established palms. Spread the fertilizer around the root system at least 1 foot from the trunk of the palm. Apply enough water to the fertilized area to ensure even distribution of the fertilizer.

Step 3

Prune your palm tree only to remove old fronds or those that are less than a 45-degree angle to the ground, if desired.

Step 4

Spread a 4-inch layer of commercial, sterilized mulch around but at least 6 inches from the palm tree's trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil probe
  • Palm special fertilizer
  • Organic mulch


  • Florida Palm Trees
  • Broward County Florida: Palm Tree Care
Keywords: florida palm, palm tree, grow palm

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.