An Introduction to Palm Trees

Not only in Florida, but all around the world, there is an abundance of palm trees. There are some 20,000 plus different varieties of palm trees in all. Fortunately, for ease of maintenance, these 20,000 palm tree species can be further subdivided into a few major types of palms. This is done based on such characteristics as their trunk shape, leaf structure, flower buds, cold tolerance and so on. Most palms grow in warmer climates but some varieties can even withstand sub-zero temperatures.
 
Some of the More Common Varieties of Palm Trees

Here are some of the most common palm tree varieties:

  • Royal Palm
  • Bismarck Palm
  • Cabbage Palm
  • Sabal Palm
  • Christmas Palm
  • Fishtail Palm
  • Key Thatch Palm
  • Pindo Palm
  • Canary Island Date Palm
  • Paurotis Palm
  • Pygmy Date Palm
  • Sentry Palm
  • Windmill Palm
  • Yellow Butterfly Palm


Palm Tree Root System

People often assume that since palm trees have such a rugged exterior that they are a very strong tree. This can be misleading because of their smaller root structure. Their roots do not grow deep like most other species of trees. A palm tree root ball actually grows very little as the size of the palm tree itself becomes larger. This makes palms popular because their roots don’t expand out and damage foundations, driveways and sidewalks like some other tree roots often do.

Single trunks are the norm for most palm trees but some do grow out in a clustering manor that appears like they have multiple trunks. Palm trees also have a single growth point at the top of their trunk called the ‘terminal bud’. Damage to this part of the tree can result in the palm tree dying out.

Choosing and Maintaining Your New Palm Tree

If you are like most people when you want to plant a new palm tree you will go to a nursery and choose a palm that has already started to grow in a container. In order to keep that palm healthy after planting it you need to consider several factors.

They are as follows:

  • Plant in Nutrient Rich Soil: Unfortunately most natural soil is sadly lacking in nutrients. Since palm root balls do not grow very big you have to provide them with nutrient rich top soil where you place them. This is essential when planting any palm. Do not put fertilizer in the newly dug hole either. Wait 3 to 4 months to fertilize.
  • Watering Your Palm: Even young palms require a lot of water. You should plan on watering your new palm trees at least 2 times per week for 5 to 6 months. If your soil that the palm is placed in is very sandy you may need to make it 3 times a week for watering. After the new palms are 6 months old then you should water them 2 times a month in the warmer months and once a month in the cooler months.
  • Pruning Your Palm Trees: Palms are a variety of tree that does a good job taking care of themselves. Most of the time palm trees will lose their fronds naturally. Only remove severely yellowed or brown palm fronds. This is because slightly brown and yellow palm fronds will still feed the palm tree they are on nutrients.


If you remove a severely brown or yellowed palm frond never cut it too close to the trunk of your palm tree. This could cause a wound in the tree which may severely damage it. Be careful to never remove more palm fronds than the tree can produce in a year too. Experts believe for each old frond there is a new one waiting to bloom.

Common Palm Tree Pests and Diseases

Like any other tree palms are susceptible to insect damage, disease, fungus and bacteria.

Here are some of the more common palm tree pests that you need to be aware of:

  • Cabbage Palm Caterpillar
  • Giant Palm Borer
  • Palm Budworm
  • Palmetto Weevil
  • Royal Palm Bug
  • Thrips

 
Here are some of the more common diseases that will threaten your palm’s health if they contract them:

  • Bud Rot
  • Fusarium Wilt
  • Ganoderma Butt Rot
  • Lethal Yellowing


How Weather Impacts Your Palms (Cold and Storms)

Of course the biggest worries with any palm tree are cold weather and excessive winds. Severe frost and freezing temperatures can actually damage a trees delicate tissue. Wrapping a blanket around the trunk of your palm trees in cold weather will help lessen the cold weather’s impact on them. Make sure to take the blankets away immediately after the weather warms back up.

Palm trees handle even the strongest winds very well if you don’t over-prune them.

Ask Us any Questions You May have About Your Palm Trees

At Aardvark Tree Service, we are always more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the palm trees in your yard. Our arborists have expert knowledge on all the different varieties of palm trees found in and around Port Orange, Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Ponce Inlet and the surrounding areas. So give us a call at 386-233-5069 with your palm tree questions and concerns.

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