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How to Trim a Date Palm

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How to Trim a Date Palm

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Overview

There are many palm trees that have the word 'date' in their name but only the Phoenix dactylifera is the true date palm, producing the delicious fruit it is named for. Phoenix dactylifera can grow to 100 feet with fronds that are 18 to 20 feet long. As with all palms, once the date palm has matured, every new frond will mean an older frond dies. Trimming or pruning your date palm too severely or improperly may result in increased pests and disease, slower growth and possibly death of your date palm.

Once A Year

Step 1

Trim your date palm of dead, brown fronds no more than once a year. This should be done in late spring. You may wish to trim off any brown or yellow tips on the fronds at this time.

Step 2

Use an A-frame style ladder, not an extension ladder, to trim off dead fronds if your date palm is not too tall. An A-frame style ladder helps you avoid damaging or injuring the trunk of your date palm. Leaning a ladder against your date palm trunk could damage it permanently or leave open scars that invite decay causing organisms. If your date palm is quite tall and a ladder will not reach the dead fronds, you may need to rent a lift bucket (hydraulic lift) from your local equipment rental yard.

Step 3

Carefully cut the dead frond from your date palm using sharp, clean pruners or a pruning saw. To avoid infecting your date palm, clean the pruners or saw with a 50-50 solution of bleach and water.

Step 4

Make your first cut on the outer side of the frond, above the spiky bits. This should drop the frond. The second cut should remove the petiole stub with the spiky bits. The spiky bits and petiole stub are extremely sharp, and heavy gloves and great care should be taken to avoid any injuries.

Tips and Warnings

  • Trimming tall date palms can be hazardous if you are not experienced. It is advisable to hire a professional to trim tall date palms.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Lift bucket-optional

References

  • University of Nevada Cooperative Extension: Pruning Palm Trees
  • Floridata: Phoenix dactylifera (Date Palms)

Who Can Help

  • Hotgardens.net: Palms
Keywords: pruning date palms, prune a date palm, trimming off fronds, trim off fronds

About this Author

At home in rural California, Kate Carpenter has been writing articles and web content for several well known marketeers since 2007. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas and A Master of Education equivalent from the University of Northern Colorado, Carpenter brings a wealth of diverse experience to her writing.