The Best Time to Plant a Palm Tree
Although associated with the tropics, there are about 2,500 different palm species. Some survive temperatures down to minus 10 degrees F, while others falter below 50 degrees.
Palms are best planted in the warm months of the year -- late spring to early fall, according to Donald R. Hodel in "Grounds Maintenance" magazine online. When soil temperatures are above 70 degrees, the roots of palms begin their most active growth and establish into surrounding soil more quickly. Soil warmer than 80 degrees is better still.
In subtropical and tropical climates, abundant year-round warmth allows gardeners to plant container-grown palms anytime. Bare-rooted palm trees are best transplanted when temperatures are on the increase from spring into summer. If your summer is rainy, it lessens the need for extensive irrigation to sustain new root growth.
Keep the root ball and surrounding soil of the planted palm evenly moist. Dry soil, especially on palms with damaged or cut roots, prevents the roots from absorbing any moisture to sustain the trunk and fronds. Avoid soggy soils, too, as you want to avoid an environment that encourages fungal rot, especially in fall and winter.
Plant A Palm Plant
Unpack the palm and check for any damaged, diseased or dead roots. Trim back the roots, as needed, using hand pruners. Dig a hole about twice the diameter of the root ball using a scoop shovel in an area that receives full sun. One gallon of water per square foot reaches 1 inch deep in well-draining soil. Tamp the soil down with your foot. Build a 3-inch-tall wall of soil around the perimeter of the palm’s root ball using the remaining excavated soil. If you need additional soil for the wall, use a sand-based medium, such as sandy loam. Follow fertilizing with watering. Fertilize the palm every three months at a rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet.
- "Grounds Maintenance" Magazine: Planting Palms
- "An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms"; Robert Lee Riffle and Paul Craft; 2003
- Clemson University Extension: Palms and Cycads
- University of California Master Gardeners: Palm Trees for Landscapes in Tulare & Kings Counties
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Palms for Florida
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Pygmy Date Palm
- University of Florida Sumter County Extension: Fertilizing Palm Trees
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service: Cocos Nucifera, Coconut Palm