How to Grow Date Palm Trees

Written by marlene affeld
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The date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera) is an easy to care for, fast growing, elegant and attractive ornamental tree, ideally suited for home gardens and urban landscapes in United States' "Hardiness Zones" 9 to 11.

With over 30 known varieties, the date palm can be grown as an ornamental tree to define property boundaries, or planted as a fruit-bearing orchard crop. In fact, the date palm is the oldest fruit tree cultivated by man, and can be found in temperate climates around the world. Reaching a regal height of over 30-feet tall, the date palm is one of the easiest palm trees to grow and maintain.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Test the soil. Take a soil sample to your local county extension office or landscape nursery to have the soil tested for nutrient content.

  2. 2

    Fertilise date palms three to four times a year to encourage growth and date production. Soil lacking in nitrogen can cause a yellowing of the leaves, stunted leaves and low fruit production. If required, add nitrogen to the soil, following package instructions.

  3. 3

    Apply a 4- to 6-inch layer of organic compost to the base of the tree for slow and steady soil enrichment as the compost decomposes.

  4. 4

    Cover the compost with a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch. Straw, shredded newspaper, aged non-treated sawdust or torn strips of cardboard may be used to help retain moisture and control weeds.

  5. 5

    Top dress the mulch layer with 1 to 3 inches of pine bark or decorative wood chips.

Tips and warnings

  • Palm trees prefer a well-drained soil and a sunny location. Palm trees are fast growing. Plant in a spot that allows the tree to grow without interference from other trees and utility lines.

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