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How to Care for Palm Trees in Arizona

Posted by Jason Talmage on 11/18/2020

When you think of the foliage that grows in a dry, desert climate, palm trees probably come to mind. However, contrary to popular belief, palm trees aren’t particularly drought-resistant. With proper care, landscaped palm trees can still grow and even thrive in the Arizona desert.

Fertilizing Palm Trees

To set up your palm tree for success, provide it with nutrient-rich soil by following a monthly fertilizing schedule. First, select an all-purpose fertilizer like Moon Dust from Moon Valley Nurseries. This organic blend contains 16 percent nitrogen, 8 percent potassium, and 4 percent phosphorus to promote healthy, fast-growing palms.

We also recommend using Super Palm Juice, a fast-acting liquid fertilizer containing10 percent nitrogen and 11 percent phosphorus. This palm-specific fertilizer also contains manganese, which is necessary for palms to properly absorb nutrients in the soil. These are the exact products we use to fertilize the palms growing at our farms and nurseries.

Wait to fertilize your newly planted palm until it puts out a new spear. Once your tree is established, apply both Moon Dust and Super Palm Juice once a month between March and October. For the best results, skip fertilizing during heat waves when the temperature exceeds 110 degrees. Keep in mind that fertilizer shouldn’t come right up to the tree trunk. Follow the instructions on the package, and water deeply after fertilizing.

Watering Palm Trees

Proper watering helps your tree flourish. Different palms have unique needs, but in general, you should water newly planted trees every day for the first week and every other day for the second week. Then, reference our watering guide to help keep your tree healthy in every season for the first two years of its life.

Palm tree finger roots, the small roots that spread out nearly as far as the canopy, are responsible for the uptake of water and nutrients. A good technique for watering palm trees is to saturate the ground around the root ball to a depth of at least 36 inches each time you water. You want to introduce moisture slowly for more effective absorption, which can be done using a drip system or partially turned-on garden hose.

Pruning Palm Trees

It’s a common misconception that you can trim palm trees as much as you like. However, if you cut off living fronds, this could stress the palm, causing it to decline and eventually die. To ensure the health and longevity of your tree, only prune yellow or brown fronds, as well as fruit and flower stalks in June or July. Avoid pruning too high up the trunk as this may lead to bud damage and disease.

If you’re ready to add a gorgeous palm tree to your property, turn to Moon Valley Nurseries for help. We have a wide selection of trees in stock, including various palm trees, such as King Palms, Piru Queen Palms, Kentia Palms, Pineapple Palms, and many others. For more expert advice about fertilizing, watering, and pruning palm trees in our climate, please contact us online or visit one of our Arizona locations today.

Topics: Tree Maintenance