The palm tree is a woody tree of the Arecaceae family with a wide variety of species. The palm is an easily cultivated tree that requires nutrient-rich soil and plenty of sunlight in order to maintain a healthy lifespan. Though South Florida naturally provides ample sunlight for the palm, soil consistency can, at times, be a challenge. Caring for palm trees in South Florida require general maintenance steps with special attention to soil health.
Feed the palm tree once every three months or four times each year. Use a slow-release palm tree fertilizer such as 12-4-12 or 13-13-13. Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the tree. Keep the fertilizer approximately 1 foot from the trunk of the palm to prevent root burn. Irrigate the fertilizer thoroughly into the soil, providing 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water.
Irrigate the palm tree deeply and infrequently. Provide the palm tree with 1 to 2 inches of water, approximately once each month. Adjust the irrigation schedule during dry periods, providing the same amounts of water three to four times each month or once every 10 days.
Increase the moisture retention of the palm tree's soil. Add a thick layer of sterilized mulch to the tree, approximately 5 to 6 inches thick. Apply the mulch evenly around the diameter of the tree and about 6 inches from the base of the trunk.
Prune the palm tree only as needed. Trim away any dead fronds from the tree, if they fail to fall off by themselves. Allow the dead fronds ample time to fall from the tree, however, as the palm tree uses the dead fronds for natural nutrients, molds and fungi that it needs to thrive.
Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to remove the fronds using an angular cut for rapid healing. Avoid puncturing or creating holes in the trunk of the palm tree, as they will never heal. Keep the area of the palm tree clear of debris and dead fronds.