How often should I water my new planted palm tree?
You should water your newly planted palm tree every day for 2-3 weeks, every other day for the following 2-3 weeks and then switch to 3 times a week. The palm’s soil should be always moist but not allow for water to pool for extended periods of time. Adjust your watering schedule depending on the season; palm trees grow more during warm months and slow down during cold months. You should not be giving the palms the same amount of water in the summer as you would in the winter. Some palms enjoy massive amount of water while other do not. We tend to plant palms that do not like water 2-3 inches higher than ground level to ensure that the soil is sloped away from the trunk of the palm and will not pond water.
Say you have a palm tree that needs 20 gallons of water a day. You can water your palm two ways. One way is to take all 20 gallons of water and dump it around your palm tree in 2 minutes. The water will simply runoff and palm tree roots will not get enough. It takes time for the soil to absorb water. Another way to water your palm tree is to slow drip 20 gallons of water over the course of 1 -2 hours. Watering your palm tree for 30 minutes, turn the water off, let it soak into the ground for 30 minutes, then resume watering for another 30 minutes is recommended. You don’t need to water your palm when it’s raining, however our seasonal 10 minute Florida afternoon thunderstorms do not give adequate amounts of water to palms. With that being said, if your street floods and your neighbor’s cat is floating by on a couch cushion… You could hold off watering for a few days.
When should I fertilize my palm?
Adding fertilizer to the soil when planting a palm is a common mistake. Palm tree roots are very fragile when freshly transplanted. A palm tree with damaged roots is more likely to get diseases and die. New planted palms should not be fertilized for the first 3-4 months. Palms should be fertilized 4 times a year with heavy applications in the fall (Oct) and spring (Feb). Lighter applications should be given in the winter (Dec) and summer (July).
What kind of Fertilizer should I use on my palms?
Use an NPK ratio of 3:1:3. N stands for Nitrogen, P for Phosphate and K for potassium. Previous opinions were to use a 3:1:2 ratio, but more recent opinions are to use the higher potassium fertilizers. Note that this is a ratio, not the formulae you are looking for. So, a 15:5:15 ratio would be ideal (note the ratio of 3:1:3). An ideal palm fertilizer will contain microelements such as Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Sulfur, Copper, Molybdenum, Boron, and Manganese. Most fertilizer blends for palm trees will specifically say “Palm Tree Fertilizer”. Slow release fertilizer are better and safer than rapid release but slow release formulas cost more. If the bag doesn’t say “slow release” on it, it is the cheaper quick release fertilizer. Don’t use the cheapest, highest concentration of fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate 30:0:0 (lawn fertilizer), as this can lead to plant burn or injury. Find a fertilizer that works well for you and stick with it. Never fertilize on dry soil as it can lead to plant burn and death. Don’t forget that your fertilizer needs may be different than someone in a different climate or with different rainfall amounts. High rainfall areas with sandy soil often need more fertilizer and microelements, as these items are quickly leached from the soil.
When and how should a trim my palms?
Botanically speaking, you should never trim old fronds unless they are brown. Certain online articles tell people to cut brown fronds because it will save the palm tree from wasting nutrients on the dying leaf. This statement is false. Palm trees use dying leaves for storage of nutrients, and when you cut them off, your palm loses the storage and will require supplemental fertilizer. Palms move nutrients from the older fronds to the new growth and with repeated trimming of older fronds, problems with the palm may develop. When fronds need to be cut, they should be cut 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.
HURRICANE CUT- It is not unusual during hurricane season to get a knock on the door by a team of palm tree “professionals” offering to prune your palms. They might say that removing extra weight from your palm tree will save it during hurricane. This statement is false. Your palm trees need all the leaves they can get to protect the new growing fronds from wind. A lot of palms originate from the tropics and are designed to take high winds. The professionals at Oasis Palms and Landscaping have programs and equipment in place to trim your palms and trees the correct way. Feel free to give us a call any time to schedule your free estimate.
Should my palm be braced?
Depends on the location. Palms are always braced along the highway due to DOT regulations, but truthfully, most palms do not need to be supported. Palms are built like bowling pins; the majority of their weight is located at the base of the tree making them hard to topple over. For example, a 6’ CT Sylvester weights approximately 1500-1700 lbs. 1200 or so pounds of that is located in the root ball itself while the combined weight of all the fronds may only weight 100 or so pounds. Our palms are all watered in when freshly planted for two reasons. One, to ensure your palm receives plenty of water and to prevent shock. The other is to remove any air pockets that may of resulted from backfilling the hole. The water removes any of the possible air pockets. With no wiggle room left, it is very difficult for the palm to lean or fall over. However, some species of palm have large fronds or are very tall and they do need to be braced. If your palm needs to be braced, we will discuss this with you before installation of the palm.
I just had my palm tree installed and it looks like its dying…
This is sometimes perfectly normal. Not all palms will shock when freshly transplanted but some species are more prone than others. Weather can be a major factor, along with too much water or not enough water or enough water but you dumped all 20 gallons in 2 minutes…. Say you had ten of the exact size, shape, and species of palm planted in your yard. Why one will shock and the other next to it be perfectly fine is a mystery, even to me. Remember, palms are living things and may do things outside of “normal”. Have faith and give us a call if it gets worse.