Queen palms (Syagrus romanzoffiana), also known as Coco plumosa, are tall, stately palms native to southern Brazil and Argentina. Known for its rapid growth and long gracefully flowing fronds, the palm makes a good specimen tree. The queen palm is a relatively easy palm to grow and care for, including pruning. In fact, too much pruning can be damaging. Queen palms grow best in the warmest regions of our country, in zones 9 and 10, as they do not tolerate freezing weather.
Sharpen and sterilize your pruning shears, loppers, or blades before pruning the queen palm. Sharpened blades will make a cleaner cut, leaving the palm less likely to become diseased. Wipe the blades off with a mix of 50 percent water and bleach, to remove any disease or bacteria present.
Prune the queen palm during the warmer months. Branches cut in winter will not have time to heal if a frost occurs. The standard practice is to prune in April or May and then again in early October.
Cut off only the fronds that have turned brown or are beginning to yellow. These fronds are either dead or dying. Do not prune green fronds from the queen palm, as it is not healthy for the tree.
Use pruning shears, loppers or a pole saw to trim off the branches. What tool you use will depend on the height of the tree and the size of the limb you are cutting. Cut off the frond where the stem attaches to the queen palm’s trunk. Do not cut into the palm’s trunk section. A ladder may be required, as queen palms can reach 50 feet.
Saw the limb starting at the top; saw downwards and away from the queen palm’s trunk at an angle. The frond should fall to the ground. Cut the frond in half, to make it more manageable to remove, as fronds can grow up to 10 feet long.
Cut off any seed pods before they ripen, if you do not desire the queen palm to produce seeds. Removing the seeds pods will force the root system to put more energy into the tree’s growth, rather than producing flowers and fruit. Remove the seeds pods throughout the year, as it will not damage the tree.