A lot of you out there have palm trees of many varieties. Many of them I can tell you, have been purchased when they were very small and cute looking, only to find out later that this cute little defenseless plant has grown to be this nightmare full of killer needles. On the top of this list are Date Palms.
Canary Date Palm
And yes, they are the ones that look like an overgrown pineapple with long sharp spines at the base, the ones you can’t trim back without poking yourself and losing half your blood supply in the process. This type of Palm does not belong in the landscape of an average tract home. It will get too large and are a danger to people.
Another Palm you might want to avoid is the California Robusta, unless you like the look of a telephone pole in your yard. They do look nice on large size properties or lining streets or in commercial properties where they are professionally cared for. These palm trees have a fan shaped leaf which dry out and are often left hanging on the tree which again invites pigeons, rats and other very undesirable creatures to inhabit. By the way, when I lived in Phoenix AZ, I used to climb all these palm trees to prune them and they would be full of pigeons mess along with roaches crawling out all over. It would just about freak me out. Fortunately, I no longer do that!
These trees, after they mature will throw out long seed pods which when dry, will rain down black round little seeds that will germinate in your flower beds and grow like irremovable grass. In fact that’s how some of you have received this free palm tree that you can’t ever recall planting.
Queen Palm, Mediterranean Palm & Pigmy Date Palm
Some of the nicer palms that I enjoy using in my landscapes are the Queen Palm, Pigmy Date Palm, Mediterranean Palm and Pindo Palm. It’s true that some of these palms do have needles, but they are much easier to work around than the Date Palm.
I’m very much against watering these palms with a drip system that has micro drip ends or micro drip system flooders. It does not keep these plants hydrated enough to endure the heat in the summer and the frost in the winter. A pop up spray system will provide great coverage to allow their roots to spread and stabilize the trees.
Palms are of the grass family and do not have wood trunks. They are made of fiber. One of the biggest problems that cause palms to fall over and die is because they gradually lose their root system. This happens when the soil is eroded from under the base of the trunk. As the soil erodes away, the smaller the root system becomes. This can be repaired by forcing soil under the base of the tree and raising the soil level around the tree 1″ above the top of the root line under base of tree.
Yes, palms are of the grass family and need to be fertilized to maintain good health and color. You can pick up palm fertilizer at your local hardware store or nursery.
So let’s keep our palms looking great by pruning and feeding them on a regular basis.