Palm tree pruning

Palm trees are often planted in the landscapes because of there low maintenance and tropical look. Most palms require regular maintenace including pruning to keep them looking attractive. Many palms maintain a set number of live fronds at any given time. Usually a regular turnover of fronds occurs when the lower fronds die they are replaced with new ones growing at the apex or heart of the tree. Dead fronds aren’t detrimental to the health of the palm. When there is an excessive amount of older yellowing or dying fronds, it is important to diagnose the cause before pruning. A possible cause could be a nutrient problem caused by a magnesium or potassium deficiency that could worsen if the palm is prunned or fertilized with the wrong fertilizer or a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content.

There are several reasons for pruning palms: 1) Removing dying and dead fronds improves the look of a palm tree. 2) Dead & dying lower fronds are weekly attached to some palms and can place people and property at risk especially should they fall from tall palms. People have been severely injured by falling palm fronds from trees. Dead & dying palm fronds should be removed regularly to reduce these risks. 3) Pruning can remove the fruit clusters or nuts in the trees where falling debris can be messy as well as hazardous. Removing the fruit or flowers helps to reduce the number of potential seedlings. All sprouts should be removed from the base of these trees.

You never want to overprune palms by subjecting them to what’s called “hurricane pruning” or “hurricane cutting”, where all but a few fronds are cut off. Not only is it bad for the palm but also is illegal to prune trees in this manner in Broward County, Florida. Palms are naturally able to withstand the high winds that hurricanes bring, so removing all its fronds isn’t necessary. In fact, it can seriously damage the palm since it removes green leaves that serve  as the tree’s energy factory.When pruning palms, only remove fronds that are completely brown and those that hang below the 9 -3 o’clock positions. When in doubt, consult a ISA certified arborist for your questions or price quote.

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