Palm tree pruning can be tricky. Palm trees can be a good way of adding shape and texture to your garden. Palm trees can also add an exotic feel and look to your garden. And help create the illusion you are on a remote island holiday when you are still in your backyard. As with all plants in the urban environment, sometimes palms need pruning to help manage their natural processes. Left alone, the palm will happily “prune” itself, shedding its dead fronds when it needs to and losing the odd live frond to strong winds. This is not always great news for the garden owner who may have a pristine flower bed, glass house, or child beneath it. This blog post will discuss palm tree pruning options for palm trees to ensure your tree, and anything beneath it, is kept in its best condition.
Palm trees are not actually trees in the strict sense of the word.
The way they grow and are structured is quite different to woody trees, and they actually bare more of an anatomical similarity to grasses. As such, the methods for palm tree pruning them also differ. Palm trees grow from a single, central stem. If this central stem is damaged significantly of removed the tree will die. Due to this fact, palm trees cannot be reduced in height.
As most palm trees do not branch, they only have relatively few leaves or fronds. It is via these fronds that the trees photosynthesis sunlight to create a food source for themselves. Removing these fronds therefore reduces the plants ability to feed itself, which can impact on the overall health of the tree. When pruning a palm tree, it is very important that an adequate number of live fronds are left intact so that the plant is able to function normally.
When the tree is finished with its fronds they die off and are shed, falling to the ground. This is not always ideal when there is a target beneath the tree. An arborist can prune away the dead fronds before they fall to alleviate this problem. A small percentage of the live fronds can be removed at the same time, but it is very important not to remove too many. Not only do they help the tree make food, the older live fronds also provide protection for the younger growing fronds. If too many mature fronds are removed the younger fronds can snap before they have fully grown, again limiting the trees ability to make food and impacting on its health.
Most palm trees grow pods to disperse their seeds.
These can also present a hazard when they fall. Any unstable or old seed pods can be removed to reduce this hazard. Removal of seed pods also prevents the tree expending energy into them. This energy can then be redirected back into the tree to strengthen its defenses.
Frequency of palm tree pruning of dead fronds will vary from species to species. It is better not to let too many accumulate as there is a higher risk of them falling. In some species the dead fronds can actually be a feature in themselves. A skilled arborist will be able to advise on this. Choosing the right palm for your space can also be key to ensuring a harmonious relationship between you and your garden. Ask your arborist or at your local palm nursery for advice on suitable species.
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