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How to Keep a Palm From Growing Tall

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017
Prune palm trees to thin out their growth.
Palm tree image by Sergey Danilov from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</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.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning saw/shears
  • Bleach


  • 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.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.