The cabbage palmetto is Florida’s state tree. The leaves, or fronds, of the tree are fanlike and almost round and they come directly from the crown at the top of the trunk. The cabbage palmetto, also known as sabal palmetto, can reach a height of 80 feet. The tree flowers in early summer and produces a dark, shiny fruit that matures and starts to drop by fall. These trees are actually self-pruning; too much human pruning can be unhealthy for the tree and can damage it. Take care to not overprune the cabbage palmetto.
Prune off only brown or mostly yellow dying fronds with your pruning pole. Pruning green fronds is unhealthy and takes away the cabbage palmetto's food source. It also makes it susceptible to wind damage and cold. Use a ladder if the fronds are too far to reach with the pruning pole. Cut the fronds right up to the trunk; the tree will form a ring around where the fronds used to be.
Place the dead fronds in with your compost or leave them under the cabbage palmetto as mulch. The fronds make a compost high in nutrition for other plants. Mulching under the tree conserves water and keeps down weeds. This eliminates the need for a weed trimmer that can permanently damage the tree and leave an open wound for disease to come in.
Prune off seed pods in the fall as they start to ripen. They can cause a mess as they fall and sprout cabbage palmetto trees where you don't want them.