Palm Season

It’s palm season! i.e. Summer! Yes palms are summer creatures, they are evergreen in that they never go dormant and keep their green fronds year round. In fact our cold frosts are one of the biggest dangers to them, so depending on the species some protective actions may be needed to protect them from the cold. For now though, the Summer is growing season so new growth and flowers are are actively pushing out.

The most common are the Washingtonia’s- Robust and Filifera (Mexican & CA fan palm), with their profuse flowering and the subsequent mess as the tiny flowers fall, demand for trimming peaks.  If they have been kept with year after year it’s a fairly simple process to remove a few of the dry dead fronds and raise some of the green fronds and remove seed heads (inflorescences).  Good paln trimming keeps the head semi-full: about to the 10 & 2 position for Mexicans (robusta) and closer to 9 & 3 for California’s (filifera).

Date palms are the next major category of those the common ones are the Canary island date (phoenix canariensis) or the “Phoenix” date palm (Phoenix dactylifera)- which is actual a food production date that has gone into retirement here in our communities.  The date palm without the presence of a male nearby for fertilization produces fruit that doesn’t mature and ripe so the fruits that come of are generally not edible.  The date farms sell only older female palms so people can’t grow their own and compete with them for fruit production (which is good for decorative palms so ripening fruit doesn’t attract and feed growing rodent populations).  The Canary palm is commonly called a “pineapple” palm, at least when it is shorter and the shape resembles a pineapple.  Either of these palms should be pruned to keep the fronds full (9-3), over-pruning causes narrowing of the trunk and hurts the health of the palm.  These are commonly over-pruned simply for speed- it may seem you’re getting more ‘value’ becasue they are removing more but actually they are hurting your palm and doing the fast work of just whacking away more fronds instead of the challenging and dangerous work of getting inside the full head to remove the dates (these guys are very spiny and extremely sharp!).

More details later, if you have questions please contact us for more information.

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