The elegant, arching fronds of the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) are beautiful in the tropical garden, but the copious amounts of seeds dropped is bothersome. Although you cannot prevent a mature palm from flowering, you can remove the flowering stalks to prevent fruits and seeds from being produced. This diminishes mess as well as weedy seedlings in the landscape.
Monitor the canopy and crownshaft of the queen palm in spring and early summer. The crownshaft is the point where the fronds meet at the growing tip at the top of the trunk.
Look for a wide, spear-like light green flower stalk to emerge among the frond bases. It will soon expand to reveal showy, creamy-colored strings of flowers.
Extend the pruning saw atop a pole-extension up into the queen palm canopy to cut off the flower stalk. Put on eye goggles to prevent sawdust from falling into your eyes as you look up into the palm. Saw gently at the base of the flower stalk until it breaks off or is pulled away from the plant.
Discard the flower cluster and stalk into the compost pile.
Repeat as needed, since the flower stalks of the queen palm will not all appear simultaneously. They may appear sequentially across spring through mid to late summer.
Things You Will Need
- Pruning saw with pole-extension
- Eye goggles
- Clean your pruning saw with rubbing alcohol after cutting the palm's flower stalk to prevent the spread of any disease or pest to the next plant you prune with that equipment.
- You may cut away old flower stalks that are beginning to form fruits, too. Just discard the orange fruits in the garbage rather than the compost pile.
- Consider using an A-frame ladder to help you better reach the flowering stalks in the queen palm with the pole-extension, but do not over-extend your reach or become unsafe with an unstable ladder.
- If the height of the palm is too tall for you to maintain, consult with an arborist or landscape maintenance crew with a hydraulic truck arm or other safe, high-reaching equipment to remove the flower or seed clusters.
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