Palm Tree Care Mistakes

Tree Care Service Gainesville FLOne of the things that people love about living in the Gainesville area is our palm trees but as a professional tree service we see lots of mistakes made by homeowners in the care and maintenance of these trees. Palm trees are very easy to grow but even easier to kill if you don’t know what you are doing. Here are the most common palm tree care mistakes that owners make.

Over or under watering

If you notice your newly planted palm tree leaves turning brown or yellow and falling off then you may be guilty of one of these common mistakes. Most palm trees like MOIST and WELL DRAINED soil. To find out if your palm tree is getting enough water, check the moist level of the soil the next day after watering. The soil should be moist down to the root of the palm tree but not saturated. 

Root Damage

Adding fertilizer to the soil when planting a palm is a common mistake. This is almost guaranteed to kill your palm. Palm tree roots are very fragile, and adding fertilizer so close to the root ball could damage it. A palm tree with damaged roots is more likely to get diseases and die. Newly planted palms should not be fertilized for the first 3-4 months. Give them some time to become established. 

Bad Soil

Good soil will allow the palm tree root to develop properly. What constitutes good soil? Canadian peat moss is one of the best for palm trees. Cheap soil = poor results. What is the worst way to prepare your soil? Plain soil mixed with fertilizer (see root damage above). 

Pruning Mistakes

Undoubtedly, this is one of our favorite areas and we encourage you to utilize our professional tree services to make sure that your palm trees are pruned properly.  But in case you decide to utilize the do it yourself method or use a tree service other than Mr. Tree and Lawn Service you should be aware of the following.

Many articles online tell people to cut brown part of the leaf because it will save the palm tree from wasting nutrients on the dying leaf. Makes sense right? Wrong. Palm trees need dying leaves for nutrients, and when you cut them off, your palm tree doesn’t like it. Palms move nutrients from the older fronds to the new growth. Palm fronds should be cut when they are as close as possible to the trunk. Do NOT remove any fronds that grow at 45 degree angle or greater. If your palm tree looks like a rooster tail, you over-pruned it.

It is also not unusual during hurricane season in Florida to get a knock on the door by a team of so called professionals, offering to prune your palms. They might say that removing extra weight from your palm tree will save it during hurricane or other high wind conditions. Makes sense, right? Wrong. For two reasons. First, NEVER use someone soliciting door to door for your tree care needs. These people are generally untrained, unlicensed, and may actually cause damage to your trees. This is a scam because in reality, palm trees need all the leaves they can get to protect the new growing fronds from wind.

To contact Mr. Tree and Lawn Service for maintenance on your palm trees or any other kind of tree on your property, call us at 352-682-4444 or use the “Contact” feature on our website.


Image courtesy of satit_srihin /