The coconut palm is the most recognized palm tree in the world. It has been used in many advertising brochures and videos to give that tropical feeling. This palm is truly a tropical tree too, hardy only in USDA planting zones 10b and 11 in the United States. Scientifically known as Cocos nucifera, the coconut palm will grow on a beach or in a parking lot, as long as it has sun and water. When it comes to care, there are more don'ts than dos.
Place an inch of manure on top of the soil around the tree and work in slightly if the tree was not planted with manure in the planting hole. Keep the manure 3 inches away from the trunk. Top dressing with manure can be done once a year to enrich the soil around the roots of the tree.
Fertilize the coconut palm with a good-quality palm food once every nine weeks. Do not start to fertilize until the tree has at least three fronds. Follow manufacturer’s directions on amount to apply.
Water the tree once a week during the hot, dry summers beginning at 3 months old. Cut back watering in the fall to once a month unless it’s very dry. Once the tree is established, water the tree twice a month during dry periods. Water at the base of the tree with a hose. Do not use a sprinkler on the tree.
Mulch around the tree a full 18 inches from the trunk, leaving a 6-inch space between the trunk and the mulch. The mulch will keep the weeds from growing so you will not need a weed trimmer. Weed trimmers can damage the bark on the trunk.
Do not prune the palm. The fronds will shed naturally and pruning will take nutrition from the tree, causing it to be weak. Continual pruning causes the trunk to thin at the top, making the tree dangerous during a storm.
Do not nail or screw anything to the tree. Wounding the tree leaves it open for disease.