The elegant, arching fronds of the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) are beautiful in the tropical garden, but the copious amounts of seeds dropped is bothersome. Although you cannot prevent a mature palm from flowering, you can remove the flowering stalks to prevent fruits and seeds from being produced. This diminishes mess as well as weedy seedlings in the landscape.
Monitor the canopy and crownshaft of the queen palm in spring and early summer. The crownshaft is the point where the fronds meet at the growing tip at the top of the trunk.
Look for a wide, spear-like light green flower stalk to emerge among the frond bases. It will soon expand to reveal showy, creamy-colored strings of flowers.
Extend the pruning saw atop a pole-extension up into the queen palm canopy to cut off the flower stalk. Put on eye goggles to prevent sawdust from falling into your eyes as you look up into the palm. Saw gently at the base of the flower stalk until it breaks off or is pulled away from the plant.
Discard the flower cluster and stalk into the compost pile.
Repeat as needed, since the flower stalks of the queen palm will not all appear simultaneously. They may appear sequentially across spring through mid to late summer.
Fertilize your Queen Anne palm with a fertilizer that contains manganese. You will only need to do this twice each year, once in early spring and again in early fall. Make sure you follow fertilizer directions so that it works efficiently.
Make sure your Queen Anne palm is getting plenty of sun. This is important because the Queen Anne is a tropical plant. If your Queen Anne palm is still young, and you see it isn't getting enough sun, you will need to transplant it to a place where it will get full sun.
Water your Queen Anne palm generously three times per week during the spring and hot summer months. During the fall and winter, twice per week is enough.
Keep an eye out for pests. The palm leaf skeletonizer and scale are commonly found on the Queen Anne palm. Fortunately, these pests are easy to get rid of. Just squirt them off the palm leaves with a hose.
Prune the fronds on your Queen Anne palm only a little bit at a time. Too much pruning will cause the tree to grow slowly.
Fertilize your queen palm at least once per year in the spring or early fall, bypassing the extreme heat and potential drought conditions of summer. Follow the product guidelines for repeat doses throughout the growing season as fast-release formulas may recommend repeat applications and slow-release formulations may not.
Select a complete fertilizer formulated for palm trees--often called "palm special"--that contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium plus trace minerals. Ensure that the fertilizer product contains the trace nutrients iron and/or manganese plus acidifying agents to help correct for even slightly alkaline soil. Palms prefer acidic soil.
Determine the amount of fertilizer to use by consulting the product label and comparing the size, age and soil square footage where the palm is growing with the corresponding recommended dose.
Cast the fertilizer granules with a gloved hand around the drip line of the tree, keeping at least a foot or two away from the trunk and extending to a foot past the outer frond tips of the crown.
Water the fertilizer and surrounding soil in deeply so that the soil is drenched to a depth of at least 1 foot.
Feel the soil's moisture levels with your hands for the best indication of when you need to water. Until you get a feel for your queen palm's needs at all times of the year, check the soil's moisture level at least three time weekly.
Water newly planted queen palm trees so that the area around their root ball remains moist at all times. Give the tree enough water to moisten to soil to a depth of 6 inches.
Water established queen palm trees whenever the top few inches of the soil dry out. Moisten the top 6 inches of the soil and apply the water in an area that is five times the diameter of your queen palm's trunk.
Locate dead fronds by looking for yellow and brittle leaves that are hanging downward toward the ground. It is a natural process for palm trees to lose their fronds as they grow. Old, dead fronds will be replaced by new growth at the top of the tree.
Using the ladder, carefully saw the frond off 3 inches from the trunk with the pruning saw in even back and forth motions. Cutting closer to the trunk can severely damage the tree since the trunk is formed by expansions of leaf tissue.
Avoid cutting, scraping or otherwise damaging the trunk of the tree.
Remove the dead fronds away from the trunk of tree. Palm trees have shallow root balls and are very susceptible to diseases. Debris around the base of the trunk increases the risk of insect infestation and disease.