How to Transplant a Large Canary Palm


Canary palms are a common large palm in the southern United States and grow upward of 40 feet tall. They are slow-growing and produce pale yellow or cream-colored flowers in the late spring or early summer, giving way to small fruits in the fall. As with any tree, transplanting a large specimen can be challenging, and the correct preparations must be made to ensure its survival. When the correct preparations and actions are taken, the tree will not only survive but thrive.

Step 1

Wet the soil around the root system to keep the root ball together.

Step 2

Use a pruning shears and remove half of the oldest leaves from the canary palm. The oldest leaves are toward the bottom of the tree.

Step 3

Dig up the Canary palm either by hand or with the tree spade. The root ball should have a diameter of 2 to 3 feet. Start by digging around the circumference of the root ball, and then dig underneath to sever any remaining intact roots.

Step 4

Tie together the remaining leaves to prevent damage and help with handling the palm.

Step 5

Loop a nylon sling around the center of the palm trunk and tie to the forklift. Slowly lift the palm out of the ground. Load the palm onto the flatbed truck for transport.

Step 6

Dig out a planting hole at the new site. The hole should be two times wider than the root ball and as deep as the palm was planted before.

Step 7

Lift the Canary palm off of the flatbed truck using the forklift and nylon straps. Move it to the planting hole and lower the root ball in.

Step 8

Shovel dirt back in around the root ball of the palm. Wash the soil in with water to remove any air pockets. Keep adding soil until the planting hole is completely filled in.

Step 9

Use nylon straps to attach short pieces of 2-by-4 boards around the Canary palm's trunk.

Step 10

Position three to four longer 2-by-4 boards at a 45-degree angle from the ground to the boards you strapped to the palm tree. Nail these boards together. These supports will keep the tree from toppling over in high winds.

Step 11

Leave the supports on for the first growing season so that the palm's roots can take hold in the soil.

Step 12

Water the Canary palm thoroughly for the first year. The root ball should be kept consistently moist to allow new roots to grow and the existing roots to stabilize in the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never nail support boards directly into the palm tree trunk. The trunk isn't able to heal, and the nail holes will allow fungus and disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Water source
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel or tree spade
  • Twine or rope
  • Nylon straps
  • Forklift
  • Flatbed truck
  • 2-by 4-boards
  • Saw
  • Nails
  • Hammer


  • University of Florida: Transplanting Palms
  • University of Florida: Transplanting Palms in the Landscape
Keywords: transplant canary palm, large canary palm, move canary palm, move large canary palm

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.