Palm trees will require palm-tree-care to look nice
Proper palm-tree-care is essential to maintain healthy beautiful palms. This will keep them from being a detriment to your landscape look, and add to the contrast of the landscape.
Palm trees do not need great soil to be healthy. The secret is good drainage, palm trees in general love soil that does not retain water. The best type of soil would be a rocky agregate or straight up sand. If you are planning on planting palms and do not have good drainage in the soil you will need to address that first.
The palm, or palms will need infrequent watering. Drip irrigation is the most effective wayay to irrigate this type of tree. A bad design or plan makes it hard to give good palm tree maintenance. I know that a palm looks great in the middle of a nice lawn area but guess what happens if the tree is sprayed with water on a daily basis, the trunk will crack and deteriorate.
If your winter weather seems to turn the trees fronds brown every year, you can trick the tree into staying green by injecting a high nitrogen solution directly into the roots. Pretty much what this does is heat up the soil so the tree thinks its still warm outside. In my area the same guy who does the trimming will also apply this fertilizer mix for you. I'm sure it is the same in other markets.
If the winter weather gets marginally cold maybe you should think of getting the palm tree parka. This product is like a winter coat and can be used for palm-tree-maintenance to keep the tree from wintering hard or even dying. The palm parka is 3 to 4 feet wide and wraps around the top part of the trunk (the heart). Some people just get some insulation or burlap and duct tape it around the top. that works too, but it's unattractive.
Fertilizing palm trees properly will keep them green and active in the winter and provide a deep green color to the fronds. A 9-9-9 fertilizer, high in phosphates and iron, will keep the tree nourished with the right food, this type of fertilizer promotes mostly root growth and maintains canopy health and color.
You will want to talk to a local nursery to see what varieties work in your climate. There are varieties that prefer a more humid air and will burn in the dry hot air, take the queen palm for example. It doesn't like the cold and it doesn't like the dry heat either. These work really good next to the coast or as a house plant but put one in a yard here in St George, Utah and it won't last through the summer or the winter. Other types can handle the extremes better, The California Palm for example, is good to 8 or 9 degrees and loves dry arid climates.
If you have the right tools to do the trimming, palm-tree-care can be fun. Other wise you may end up with some cuts and scrapes. the palm tree thorns are like hooks and they will suck you in. This power trimmer is fun to use and it puts some distance between the operator and the thorns.
It's always good to wear some heavy gloves and maybe an old coat when palm trimming. The cut off fronds go every which way when they fall and they are dangerous to bare skin and bare hands. If you don't heed the warning you will soon find out the hard way that not only do they stab and rip and tear flesh, the thorns also will cause the wound to be very sore for a couple weeks. Yes palm tree maintenance can be dangerous.
Palm trimming may need to be done occasionally but it is not required for the plant to be healthy. As shown in the picture, cut the frond at the base 2 or 3 inches from the trunk for good palm tree maintenance. Make sure the cut is straight. This way the excess won't have a sharp corner hanging there and the look will be cleaner.
If you like a perfect manicured look you may choose to have the palms skinned . Skinned palm trees look good. Trimming palms like this will clean up the appearance of the landscape in general. An easy way to make a new landscape look mature is to plant Large palm tree specimens that are six to eight foot tall in key spots. After a year or so the transplanted trees will develop a normal canopy and complete the look.
In the southwest we can manicure the California and Mexican palms this way. Some other trees like Pindo and Date palm are cleaned up diferently. They are trimmed specialy to look like they have a criss cross pattern on the trunk.
When the tree is young it is not too expensive to get this treatment done, but as the tree grows taller than 8 or 10 feet tall, the cost of palm-tree-care may be very high. That is one reason I always use the shorter varieties.
We have all seen the 60 foot tall palm trees around the valley in Los Angeles. Can you imagine what the cost would be to provide palm-tree-care for one of those? Also, what if one of those ever broke off or was toppled by heavy wind? Ya, stick with the shorter varieties.
Below is a short list of varieties and their mature heights in the desert southwest. I am sure that these can all get taller than this but these are the mature heights in my local area of St George, Utah.
EXAMPLES OF SHORTER PALM VARIETIES:
- California 20'
- Mexican Blue 12'
- Pindo 15'
- Mediteranian 15'
- Windmill 18'
palm-tree-care will be less of a hassle if you plan your plant and tree design with varieties like these.
Sometimes pruning won't get you an immediate positive result. In these before and after pictures the mediteranian palm is cut back drastically. Proper palm-tree-care will thin the shoots from the base of the plant. If they are not thinned out the end result is a mess. Here I have thinned the palm to a multi trunk with one center trunk and four outward branches. This variety grows to be eventually 15'. Keeping the base of the clump clear of the congestion of too many suckers is critical to palm-tree-care
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