How to Prune a Palm Tree

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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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.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Ladder

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  1. 1

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

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

Tips and warnings

  • 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.

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