Should Palm trees be trimmed?

We all love palm trees. They bring out the tropical feeling and scenery and you don’t have to tend to them every day. But that doesn’t mean that you completely neglect them?

Every now and then, it’s important that you trim your palm. And no, it’s not to make your trees grow faster. Enough with that myth already.

To answer the age-old question, yes palm trees should be pruned for these reasons;

  • For grooming purposes

A well-maintained lawn and backyard gives you a great sense of joy and fulfilment. It all starts with the lawn and trees. You don’t want old palm leaves hanging over a perfectly maintained garden now, do you?

  • In preparations for hurricane season

As the hurricane season approaches, you need to get rid of any and all potential dangers. Loose palm leaves can end up anywhere and it’s better to remove them before they cause any damages.

  • Helps the palm flourish

Pruning may not make the tree grow faster but it will enable them to flourish. Without the old and disease infected palm leaves, the trees will eventually do well.

  • Prevents disfigurement

Old hanging palm leaves can cause huge damages to your house, patio, cars or neighbours property. To help curb this, you need to prune them especially if the palm tree is tall.

What happens if you don’t trim palm trees?

 Trimming palm trees comes with its advantages. The main ones being having a neat backyard or patio with little chances of palm fronds falling over. Every year, palm trees grow and new frond shoots up. But that also means old ones dry up and hang aimlessly.

Believe it or not, not trimming your palms has its own advantages too. You see, during the hot months of summer and the cold and chilly winters, the old dry fronds will protect the younger and fresh fronds. So, what happens when you don’t trim palm trees? They will remain healthier in harsh weather conditions.

But, not trimming your palms has its cons also. The dry fronds are a great fire hazard, especially during the hot months. It’s even worse when they fall on the ground as they can easily catch fire.

Again the dry fronds act as a rich breeding ground for all manner of pests from scorpions to rats. Have you noticed an increase in any unwanted crawling creatures in your backyard? Well, it could be the old palm in your backyard.

One last thing that happens when you don’t trim your palm trees is blocking your views. If you love to sit outside watching the sunset and listening to music or chatting and need to see the horizon get rid of old hanging palm fronds.

What is the best time of year to trim palm trees?

 Trimming your palm trees is all about timing. You do it too early and the trees will grow unhealthier. You leave it too late and create a fire hazard on your patio.

It’s recommended that you wait for spring to start pruning your palm trees. Yes, they look untidy and unpleasing, but it’s for a reason. The old fonds will come in handy during the cold and hot months as they will protect the palm tree.

Hence, trimming the trees in spring allows them the sprout and grow easily.

But again, you don’t have to wait for spring to trim if you feel the tree needs a shakeup. If the palm leaves look untidy and are a danger to you and your neighbours, you better get the tools ready. For instance, if your neighbours complain that you are palms are blocking their view and fronds are falling over, you better get going trimming.

Just remember, the more leaves you prone, the more exposed the tree and the more likely it is to grow unhealthier. Trim only the dead or almost dead palm leaves and don’t touch the trunk. It looks like a fun idea but it could easily lead to the death of the palm.

How frequently should palm trees be trimmed?

Here is another myth. Palm trees should be trimmed yearly. Well, for all intentions and purposes, this statement is not true. Palm trees grow new leaves or fronds each year. And each year, old fold weather and wither away. This often leads to many people assuming that pruning should be done yearly. But the truth is, only prune your palms when the fronds are dead or dying. Never, we repeat, never prune green palm leaves. You are effectively killing the tree. Palms, just like most plants, rely on green leaves to make their food. When you cut off green fronds, you are denying the tree a chance to make food. When this happens, you will have a weak tree.

The truth is, there is no definite number of times when you should or shouldn’t prune. It all depends on how each palm tree is looking.

How to trim your palm tree 

Before we jump on how to trim, let’s get a few basics right. Here are some of the things you need for trimming;

  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Heavy pants
  • Ladder or hydraulic lift if they are too tall
  • Pruning saws
  • Pruners
  • Garden knives

Use the long pruning saws to cut down any old, dead, dying fronds. Don’t leave behind any injured or infected frond. Take them all out. However, don’t trim any green fronds or remove trunks. Most gardeners give in to the temptations of shaping the palm which often leads to a weak palm tree.

If you feel like a tree is too big for you, you can call in professional gardeners. There is some risk that’s associated with tree pruning which experts can handle better than a layman. However, ensure that the professional has the right tools to do the job. Don’t let anyone with spike climbers on your palm trees, they will cause more harm than good.

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