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Palm Care Tips for the Green Industry!

Every landscape manager, especially on the gulf coast, wants to add the tropical feel to their landscape.  The chief way to achieve this is by incorporating palms and other tropical plants to their surroundings.  As a landscape installation or maintenance professional, one would like to care for it properly as with any other plant.  I would like to blame the improper care of palms on simple lack of “know how” and nothing else.  Some palm care practices are a real problem in Northwest Florida; whether it is pruning, installing, or fertilizing.  University of Florida has some great resources available to Green Industry Professionals on palm care and maintenance.  Let’s hit some highlights and use these tips to improve palm care in Northwest Florida.

First, installation is very important with palms, as it is with all plants.  One practice that ultimately results in death to a palm is planting too deeply.  Some have done this in the past to help secure the tree from falling over.  This may seem like a good idea but will harm the plant in many ways.  Look at these two palms that were planted at the same time, see the difference?

Make sure when you’re planting to dig the hole twice as wide as the rootball and only as deep as the rootball is tall.  Then for support, build a supporting structure, but do not nail directly into the trunk (this will allow an entry point for disease).  Once planted, water the palm in thoroughly, allowing for no air pockets to remain.  If the fronds are tied up, untie them as soon as your palm is planted.

The next issue that faces many landscape professionals is pruning palms.  Many prune palms too much for a variety of reasons.  Take a look at this palm for an example of a palm that has been pruned too much.

Follow the 9 to 3 rule, only pruning above the horizontal line of the crown of the palm.  If you follow this rule you will generally be pruning correctly. To learn more about the 9 to 3 rule, follow the “pruning” link below.

Read more about pruninginstalling and general palm information for Northwest Florida.

Permanent link to this article: http://santarosa.ifas.ufl.edu/blog/2012/05/09/palm-care-tips-for-the-green-industry/