A Primer For Keeping Your Palm Trees Healthy

When it comes to giving your yard a subtropical look, you cannot go wrong with planting palm trees. While the iconic plants thrive in warm climates, you can even grow some varieties of palm trees in hardiness zones where temperatures dip below freezing. If you have palm trees in the yard of a house you purchased or recently added the plants to your lawn, it is important to understand how to keep them healthy and manage common problems.

Optimal Soil and Nutrients

Even though many varieties of palm trees can survive harsh weather such as drought-like conditions, sea salt and high winds, that does not mean that you should slack off on making sure the plants receive adequate nutrients and grow in optimal soil conditions. A healthy plant will be less likely to sustain irreversible damage.

If you are adding palm trees to your yard, choose varieties that are ideal for your climate and grow well in residential gardens. The best growing medium for palm trees is well-drained, sandy-based soil. Compacted soil will prevent the tree's roots from spreading properly.

Fertilizing a palm tree once or twice a year will help the maintain optimal nutrient levels in less than ideal soil. The best type of fertilizers for the trees contain copper sulfates, iron, manganese, magnesium, nitrogen and potassium.

If you enlisted the help of a tree specialist to plant a young or fully grown palm, you may be able to purchase fertilizer spikes from them. Otherwise, you can order palm tree fertilizer spikes from well-stocked garden shops or specialty retailers.

The spikes are easy to install. You hammer them into the ground at the drip line around a tree. The directions on the package will tell you how many spikes you need based on the size of the tree.


Pruning is essential to the health of palm trees. However, as the trees get taller, it may become difficult to prune them properly due to the shape of fronds and the presence of trunk spikes. Do not let the difficulty hinder your pruning efforts. You will not have to perform this task often if the tree is healthy.

Tall palm trees with out-of-control canopies will have develop damaged leaflets that will fall and litter your hard or break off during storms.

Signs that your palm requires pruning include:

  • Yellow or brown fronds
  • Clumped leaflets
  • Canopies that look as if they are leaning or that are too close to buildings

Shorter palms that grow into a bush-like formation may need to be pruned so they do not become a hiding place for rodents.

It is imperative to hire a professional to prune large trees. Experts will have the right type of equipment to climb the tree and safely remove damaged vegetation. In addition, if you do not have experience pruning palms, you could damage new growth or leave wounds that make the tree vulnerable to diseases and pests.


If you want to move a palm tree to another place in your yard, you need to make sure you do not damage the tree during the process. You have to take into account a variety of factors such as the age of the tree, the size of its root ball, and the time of year.

Consequently, if you want to make sure the transplant process is a success, seek help from a tree expert to move the plant. Large palm trees are too unwieldy to move without professional help anyway. The tree experts may need to use a crane and flatbed truck to move the plant.

In addition, trees need to be re-planted at the same depth of their previous site. If you do not transplant a palm properly, the plant will be vulnerable to chronic nutritional issues. For more information about caring for palms or other trees in your yard, contact a local tree service company like Destiny's Tree Service LLC.