How to Care for & Feed Palm Trees

Written by b.t. alo
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How to Care for & Feed Palm Trees
Give palm trees the proper care for long life and healthy growth. (palm trees image by john barber from

Many varieties of palm trees exist and each has a specific care and feeding requirement. However, general guidelines can be applied to most palm species to encourage healthy trees and good growth. Soil nutrients and moisture are two key factors when caring for palm trees, especially in the first couple of months after planting. In addition to the general rules of palm tree care and feeding, it is important to investigate any care needs particular to your palm species.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Mycorrhizal fungi
  • Organic compost
  • Slow-release fertiliser
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Add mycorrhizal fungi to the soil of your palm. Palms have developed a symbiotic relationship with the fungi, which helps them uptake nutrients from the soil even in very dry and barren soils. You will need to find a strain of mycorrhizal fungi specific to your palm tree species.

  2. 2

    Plant your palm in well-draining, organically rich soil. If the soil in your area is overly sandy, extra care needs to be paid as fertilisers and water may drain out too rapidly. Loamy soil is best and organic compost, such as manure or blood meal, can be added to the soil as a conditioner a month before planting.

  3. 3

    Add a slow-release fertiliser to the soil around the palm three times a year. Choose fertilisers with micro-elements as well as with a 3:1:3 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) ratio. It is especially important for palms to have adequate access to calcium and magnesium, so look for those micro-elements in the ingredients list.

  4. 4

    Water the palm tree daily after planting for at least two weeks, then decrease to weekly watering for a couple of months. Water regularly when palms are established, every couple of weeks or more, in hot, dry weather. While palm trees may be associated with desert environments, remember that they always grow at an oasis in the desert. They need lots of water.

Tips and warnings

  • Resist the urge to over-fertilise. While palms need lots of nutrients, over-fertilisation can cause serious maladies and even plant death. Wait to fertilise for at least six weeks after planting a new palm and fertilise in a radius around the tree trunk, not directly on the trunk or the crown of the plant as this can cause burns.

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