It is essential to understand how to care for palm trees to have them healthy in various landscapes. Unlike typical trees, palm roots do not grow deep into the soil, their root balls branch slightly and remain the same size as the tree grows. If a terminal bud on the trunk is injured, this may result in the death of the palm tree. Although the majority of palms grown in containers, others can be specimens in fields. The secret to graceful palms lies in maintaining their foliage green and healthy.
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Proper care for palm trees begins with the selection of appropriate species. Larger palm trees should be grown in the ground while smaller ones are best suited in containers. It is advisable to go for those that are robust in your area and plant them where they are exposed to sufficient sunlight and good drainage. Palm tree choice should be based on the plant’s mature size that fits the landscape situation.
Some palm varieties include cabbage palm, royal balm, Chinese fan palm, sabal palm, fishtail palm, pindo palm, queen palm, windmill palm, and Carpentaria palm.
How to Take Care of Palm Plants
Preparation is very essential to having a healthy palm tree as well as selecting a suitable site. Landscape palms grow best in soil that is well-draining and slightly acidic. Sulfur is recommended in the rectification of soil that is excessively alkaline. Since palm roots spread, organic nutrients should be made available over a large area so that the roots can access them several feet from the trunk. According to the agricultural research division at the University of Florida, IFAS, 8-2-12 is a great mix for palm trees. Low amounts of phosphorus aid palms to utilize other essential nutrients expeditiously.
When planting a palm tree, ensure the trunk is not buried in the soil since this can result in rotting. The root ball should be sufficiently watered before filling back the hole. If you have sandy soil, extra water should be added because sandy soil does not maintain enough moisture. For palms that are already established, watering depends on the rainfall frequency and climate. Mulch should be spread many feet from the trunk to serve as a supplement around the root zone over time as it gradually composts. The mulch should be replaced yearly.
After the palm tree has been planted, it requires subsidiary watering till its establishment. Palm trees have comparatively shallow roots that require an abundant air supply. The soil should not be left to dry out entirely during the first months but also it shouldn’t be left mucky because this can lead to fungal problems. Avoid overwatering palms because the fronds will turn yellow and brown. Palms in outdoor containers dry out faster than those in the ground due to exposure to wind and sun hence may require daily watering. Those that are grown indoors retain moisture hence they need less watering.
Apply a foliar feed in the first year in spring and occasionally a granular feed with a ratio of 3-1-3 after every four months. At the lapse of one year, apply granular feeding only. Dead fronds need to be pruned off as they occur. If one desires to maintain the size, the only bottom to middle fronds is to be pruned. Avoid trimming close to trunk because you can easily damage the bark leading to wounds that will enable diseases and insects to enter.
Protect palms from cold weather by wrapping the trunk and top of the soil with a blanket. Cold weather slows down the growth of palms, damages the plant’s actual tissue, and reduces the activity of roots.