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How to Care for Landscaped Palm Trees in Arizona

If you think of warm desert locations, one of the first images that comes to mind might be a tall palm tree. However, palm trees don't naturally grow in desert locales outside of natural oases. Palm trees just aren't that drought-resistant, contrary to popular belief. Another misconception is that you can trim palm trees as much as you want. Like all plants, palm trees use photosynthesis to produce food and grow. When you trim them so that they look like a carrot, you add extra stress on the palm and it will decline and eventually die. With the right care practices, you can get landscaped palm trees in Arizona to grow and even thrive.

Water your palm deeply on a periodic basis. You'll want to water an area that encompasses 4 feet in each direction from the trunk and allow the water to penetrate at least 2 feet into the ground. Check soil samples with a soil probe and adjust watering accordingly.

Fertilize the palm with a high quality palm fertilizer. Palm fertilizers have 3 times as much nitrogen and potassium in them as phosphorous. They also contain palm specific micronutrients. Fertilize in mid spring and again in early summer. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer bag. Water the fertilizer in deeply after applying.

Prune your palms as necessary with a pruning shears. Only prune off yellow or brown fronds along with fruit and flower stalks in June or July. Do not prune up beyond horizontal on a palm tree as this can lead to bud damage and disease.


Proper watering techniques include watering the palm deeply every 2 weeks or so in the hot months and then backing off to every 4 to 6 weeks in the cooler months.

Look for fertilizer that contains 10 to 20 percent nitrogen, 5 percent phosphorous, and 10 to 20 percent potassium.

Avoid spreading the fertilizer right up to the palm's trunk.


Keep sprinklers from spraying directly on the palm trees. Salts from the water evaporation can encrust on the trunk or leaves and the water may also cause heart rot disease in the palm.

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