Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Keep a Palm From Growing Tall

Palm tree image by Sergey Danilov from <a href=''></a>

Keep a palm from growing tall with careful and deliberate pruning practices. Hacking away at the top of a palm plant to shorten it is not the answer. It will result in an unhealthy, damaged tree. Correct pruning encourages the palm&#039;s health. Pruning palms does not, as some people think, make the plant grow faster. The key is to be selective about which fronds to remove. Cutting off too many each year will weaken the palm. The tree needs the fronds for food, which develops roots, flowers and fruit.

Remove yellow or brown fronds. The color change indicates the fronds are not healthy and will eventually fall off anyway. They are taking energy from the rest of the tree and are better off removed now.

Thin out the palm if it&#039;s clumping and getting too large for the planting space. Prune new growth where it meets the rest of the tree.

Leave two rows of mature fronds in place when pruning palm trees. The mature fronds are growing just underneath the current season&#039;s blooms.

Prune the palm over a few seasons to achieve the desired look.

Palm From Growing Tall

Palm trees are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from under 3 feet to more than 200 feet tall, depending on the species. If you cut back a palm's roots or overtrim its fronds, you risk damaging the tree so severely that eventually will die from the trauma. Check with your local nursery about the many other varieties of small palms. Cut back the palm fronds in a style known as "hurricane cutting." Excessively pruning your palm tree this way will stunt its growth, but it also will leave it vulnerable to diseases. Severe pruning will weaken the trunk. Prune the roots, removing any large pieces and leaving smaller tendrils intact. Cover the roots back up and let them adjust for seven days before watering.


Use clean pruning shears and saws when trimming palm trees. Put the blades in a mixture of half bleach and half water to sterilize them. Let them soak for 5 minutes.


Do not remove more fronds in one year than the tree produces during that year.

Garden Guides