Palm Tree Care

This article will provide information on how to properly care for your palms. Palms can die from improper planting, poor drainage, soil compaction, over-pruning, prolonged fungus issues, severe nutritional deficiencies and untreated pest problems.


When planting a palm from a container it is important to plant at the same level as it is in the pot but not deeper than the top of the ground itself. It is crucial that the palm is not planted too deep in the ground. Having light mulch when establishing helps retain needed moisture but leaving a heavy layer of mulch after establishment can introduce too much moisture, leading to fungus problems. Palms should not be fertilized for the first six months. There should be enough stored nutrition in a well selected specimen for the palm to establish.


During establishment, new palms require water daily for the first 30 days. After establishment, watering two times a week for 15 minutes per zone is appropriate. Basically, what is appropriate for your lawn and shrubs. Palms should not be over-watered.


Surprisingly, less than 5 percent of the palm species planted in South Florida are native. Many of the nutrients that palms need to develop and grow properly are not present in Florida’s soil. For this reason, palms need proper fertilization at consistent intervals.


Homewoners need to make sure that their palms are getting all the nutrients they need. Palms that are regularly fertilized have more stored nutrition than palms that are not fertilized at regular intervals, therefore making them more resilient under stressful conditions. A healthy palm that is fertilized regularly is more likely to survive a prolonged cold snap during the winter or severe stress from a hurricane during hurricane season.


Trimming Foliage

It is very important to only trim palm fronds when they have turned completely brown. The normal progression is for the frond to turn yellow, orange and then brown. Allowing a palm frond to turn completely brown allows the palm to fully utilize its stored nutrition, helping to ensure that healthy new growth is produced. Self-cleaning palms never need to be trimmed.


These palms shed their dead fronds on their own and can be identified by their green crown-shaft. Some examples of common self-cleaning palms are: royal, foxtail and veitchia palms.

Cold Protection

South Florida can get cold snaps during the winter months, which can cause permanent damage or death to cold sensitive palm species. Palms that are fertilized at consistent intervals will have a better chance of survival and will recover more quickly.

Some tips for Cold Protection:
• Use a heat source such as Christmas lights or garden lights
• Water early in the morning to prevent freezing at night

Palm Tree Doctor uses a unique method to properly treat distressed and diseased palms. The proper treatment will be determined by having a representative make a diagnosis in person. Our proven method has saved thousands of palms over the years.


The cost of the treatment is surprisingly affordable, especially considering the cost to replace a single mature palm. Prices for maintaining palms vary, depending on the number and types of palms treated. One of our arborists will be happy to quote prices in person while at your property.


Visit for more information on Palm Services we offer and to read our other articles to help keep your palms healthy.