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How to Transplant Date Palm Trees

date-palm image by Arkady Chubykin from

The date palm, a well-known fruit-producing ornamental, is relatively easy to transplant, according to the University of Florida Extension. Date palms tend to be hardy and drought-tolerant and make a nice addition to the landscape. Whether you have a pot-bound palm that has been in a container for some time or a relatively young palm grown from an offshoot or tissue culture, the same transplanting techniques apply.

Dig a hole in the ground where you wish to plant your palm about a month prior to transplanting. Make the hole approximately 36 inches deep and 42 inches in diameter. Mix the soil from the hole with compost. Date palms are tolerant of a wide range in pH, but if your soil is outside the range of 6.0 to 8.0 amend the soil accordingly. Refill the hole and water the soil.

Plant the palm in the early morning. Dig a hole two to three times as wide as the root ball and about the same depth as the container the date palm has been growing in--deep enough to place the root-shoot interface about an inch below the soil surface.

Place the palm in the hole and carefully fill in with soil around the palm. Firm the soil, creating a shallow basin of soil just outside the perimeter of the root ball. This will help hold water near the plant’s roots.

Top-dress the transplanted palm with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Spread fertilizer in the area of the root ball and out to 12 inches beyond the root ball’s edge.

Mulch the area around the date palm tree, creating a circle about three feet in diameter around the tree, but do not allow the mulch to touch the palm trunk.

Water the date palm. Depending on the weather, maintain a schedule of watering about every two to three days for the first six months, or until the tree is established.


The University of Florida recommends a high nitrogen fertilizer for the first six months after a container date palm has been planted in the landscape. Once the palm is established, however, it will grow best with a fertilizer containing a relatively low nitrogen content.

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