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How to Prune California Fan Palm

The California fan palm is a thick tree found along the west and north edges of the Colorado Desert. Originally used for making clothing, sandals and baskets, California fan palm provides shelter for birds like woodpeckers and finches. The California fan palm has a thick and robust trunk that can grow up to 65 feet high. The palm has tiny white flowers that produce oblong black fruits. The leaves are fan-shaped and gray-green in color. The California fan palm is found along groves, springs, and streams and prefers moist soils.

Prune the California fan palm of all yellow or brown fronds. This will facilitate hardy growth throughout the year.

Remove loose stems or stalks by hand. If you cannot pull them off, leave them on the tree so as not to damage the palm.

Cut all broken or diseased palm fronds by removing the entire branch. Remove all insect-infected fronds to avoid contaminating the tree.

Remove old palm flowers and fruits which can provide food for pests like insects and rodents. Removing these flowers and fruits can also free up starch that is beneficial to developing fronds and their root system.

For clumping palms, where the fronds are too close together, thin the fronds out so allow for new growth. Clumped fronds will also block essential light needed for new growth

Grow California Fan Palms

Plant California fan palm where the tree is exposed to bright sunlight. The palm thrives in rich, well-drained soil. Water California fan palm thoroughly immediately after planting. Soak the soil in a large circle around the tree and don't limit water to the trunk area only, as the roots spread a considerable area. After the first six to eight months, 1 inch of water per week is adequate. Remove shrubs, groundcovers and other plants growing within a 2- to 3-foot radius around the tree. Leave a 6- to 8-inch ring uncovered immediately around the base of the tree, which prevents the mulch from mounding at the base of the trunk. Refer to the fertilizer container for the exact rate of application.


Palms trees produce infertile fruit that will later drop and stain hard surfaces like concrete. Make sure your palm is planted far enough away from outdoor patios and decks.

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