How to Prune a Palm Tree

Palm trees are a favorite in warm desert and tropical environments. Palm trees require little maintenance and grow quickly with ideal conditions. Pruning a palm tree can be beneficial when done correctly; however, overpruning a palm is detrimental to the health and growth of the tree. The thought that the more a palm is pruned, the faster it will grow is an incorrect notion.

Look for yellow, brown and broken fronds on the palm tree. Prune off any discolored and broken fronds.

Remove loose petioles by hand. Leave them on the tree if they do not pull off easily.

Remove all flower and fruit stalks from the tree. Thin out clumps of palms, and trim back new growth when the tree is growing too big for its surroundings.

Leave on all of the green fronds on the tree. Do not take more fronds off the tree than it will produce in a year.

Do not cut off fronds too close to the trunk. Leave enough of the frond so that the tree is not damaged when it is removed.


Leave at least two rows of mature fronds on the tree. Wear thick work gloves to protect your hands from the rough bark and fronds.


Tall palm trees should be pruned by a professional. Use caution not to damage the palm in any way with the gardening equipment. Damage to the palm can result in pests and disease. Do not prune palms for cosmetic reasons.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Ladder
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