Damian Russell is a nursery pro with over 12 years of experience. He has designed countless landscape designs across California and Texas. Currently residing in Austin, Texas, Damian brings his nursery knowledge to his writings to provide you with the best yard care tips.
Palm trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape in California. Whether they are used to create a lush oasis around a backyard pool, a tropical resort entryway, or simply to augment the curb appeal of a home, palm trees establish a laid-back, peaceful vibe wherever they are planted.
While palm trees are one of the easiest plants to care for, properly trimming them is key to maintaining their relaxing and luxurious appearance. With a few quick tips from the nursery pros at Moon Valley Nurseries, you’ll be trimming your palms like an expert green thumb in no time!
HOW TO TELL THAT YOUR PALMS
NEED TO BE TRIMMED?
Palm trees should receive a trimming when their older fronds bend below an imaginary line that runs 90 degrees perpendicular to their trunk.
In other words, if you were to draw a straight line from one side of the palm’s crown to the other, any fronds that extend below that line can be removed. From there, any yellowing or brown fronds at or below that line can be trimmed away as well.
WHAT TIME OF YEAR SHOULD YOU TRIM PALM TREES?
Most palm species love the sun, and as a result, prefer to be trimmed during the warmer months. In fact, the best time to trim and prune palm trees is in the summer. Any unwanted fruit or flower stalks can also be trimmed during this time as well.
Summer is an essential growing season for almost all palm trees. By trimming any excess growth during the summer, you allow your palms to focus their growing energy on new growth rather than old fronds.
If you are in an area with heavy storms or monsoons, trimming before the late summer storm season helps to alleviate excess weight from your palms, allowing them greater durability in high winds.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY TO TRIM PALM TREES?
Following the guidelines above to know what and when to trim is half the battle of properly trimming your palm trees. The next step is learning what tools and techniques you should use.
For most palms where the fronds are within easy reach, a curved pruning saw or pole saw will work well to remove old growth. You can use a pair of hand clippers for thinner fronds, such as those on Mediterranean Fan Palms (Chamaerops humilis) or Pygmy Date Palms (Phoenix roebelenii).
Try to make your cut as close to the trunk as you can for a flush appearance. On date palms such as Pineapple Palms (Phoenix canariensis) or Medjool Resort-style Date Palms™ (Phoenix dactylifera), cut the fronds where the thorns stop.
For larger or taller palms, especially species such as Mexican Fan Palms (Washingtonia robusta) or Hybrid Fan Palms (Washingtonia hybrid), we highly recommend contacting a professional. Trimming taller palm trees can be very dangerous and requires special equipment.
To learn more incredible yard care advice, design tips, and tree knowledge, check out our library of articles! We have a massive catalog of entertaining and informative articles written by our experienced nursery professionals to help you succeed with all of your landscaping goals.