How to Safely Remove a Queen Palm Tree From Your Yard
Did you know that some palms can grow as tall as 197 feet?
Fortunately, this is not the case with queen palms, which reach a maximum height of roughly 50 feet.
However, even this height can be far too tall for some situations in your yard. If you have a queen palm tree that is growing under a power line or in danger of falling onto a roof, then it's wise to consider removal.
Historically (and fittingly) palms represent peace and plenty. But if a queen palm in your yard has grown too large or is in the wrong spot, keeping it around will probably not result in either of these!
That said, while taking out a problematic queen palm might be a smart idea, failing to take safety precautions definitely isn't.
Depending on the size of your queen palm tree, removing it may be quite an undertaking. However, there are ways of going about palm removal safely. And because tree removal is literally our business, we know all about them.
Ready to figure out the safest way to take out your queen palm? If yes, keep reading.
DIYing Queen Palm Tree Removal as Safely as Possible
If you've spotted any of the signs a palm should be removed from your garden, the next step is to figure out how to go about this.
One of the options is to remove the palm yourself. This is generally only advised for smaller palms. The taller a palm, the more dangerous it is to take down.
If your queen palm tree has not yet reached its mature size, then doing a DIY removal might be possible. However, take note that any type of tree removal (other than digging out a baby palm) can come with its share of risks.
Therefore, it's essential that you take all the precautions you can. Here is a list of steps you can following to remove a queen palm tree as safely as possible on your own.
Apply for a Permit
The very first step in DIY palm removal is to check to see if you need a permit. According to a recent change to state law, cities are now prohibited from requiring a permit to cut down trees if the trees are presenting a hazard to people or property.
However, you can't decide on your own that a palm is becoming dangerous. You will need to get an arborist to evaluate the potential dangers. If the arborist's evaluation confirms the palm presents a hazard, you can move forward with removal without applying for a permit.
On the other hand, if your queen palm is not presenting a danger to anyone or anything, you will need to check your area's requirements. The queen palm isn't a protected species in Florida, so in some cases, you might be able to remove yours without a permit. However, depending on what county you live in, there may be specific stipulations that still require you to get a one.
For instance, in the City of North Port, you will need a permit if removing a non-protected tree that brings your property’s tree canopy below 35%. In Charlotte County, you will need a permit to remove any palm that has more than 6 feet of clear trunk.
If you would like to learn more about the different permitting regulations in these areas as well as Manatee and Sarasota County, go to this page.
Check Your Home Owner's Insurance Policy
Once you have gotten clear on whether or not you need a tree removal permit, the next thing is to check your homeowner's insurance.
If there is any chance that you could accidentally cause damage to your home or its roof while removing your queen palm—this is a vital step. If you have a basic homeowner's plan, then any damage caused by you taking down a palm is likely not going to be covered.
On the other hand, if you have comprehensive coverage, you may find that damage of this kind is included.
When you are sure what's covered in terms of damage from tree removal, you can make a final decision as to whether or not you are going to take down the palm yourself.
Make a Plan for the Waste
If you decide to go ahead with a DIY removal, before you get cutting, you should also take a moment to figure out what you are going to do with the waste.
Once you have cut down a palm, there's a surprising amount of biomass, so it's good to have a plan for where this is going to go. If you have a big yard, you could designate a spot for garden waste and allow it to break down over years.
In most cases, however, it is usually easier to have the waste removed.
Assemble the Right Equipment
The next step is to get your equipment together. If your queen palm tree is very young, you might be able to dig it out with an electric spade and some guy ropes.
If so, you won't need much more than this, some gloves, safety goggles, and a good pair of sturdy shoes.
However, if your queen palm is bigger, then you will need to assemble the following:
- A chain saw
- An ax
- Safety goggles
- A safety harness
- A reliable ladder
Once you have these items together, it's time to get down to business.
Decide How to Cut the Palm
The first order of business when removing a queen palm is to decide exactly how you are going to cut it. If the palm is still small, and there is nothing in the way, you can opt to fell it at the base.
This is relatively quick.
However, to ensure the palm falls the way you want it to, you should cut out a wedge from the side where you want it to fall. So, for example, if you want the trunk to fall in a southerly direction, cut out a wedge on the south side of the palm. The wedge should be roughly one-third to one-quarter of the trunk's diameter in depth.
Once this is done, using your chainsaw, cut towards the wedge on the other side of the palm's trunk. The palm should slowly start to sag.
Once your blade gets close to the wedge cutout, take it slow. At this point, the trunk may start to drop on its own, even if you haven't severed it through yet. If this happens, let it drop down without further cutting, as it will come down more gently.
If you have to cut right through to the wedge, make sure you are extra cautious towards the end, as the trunk can jump backward and potentially injure you as it falls.
If your palm is too large to safely cut from the base, you will need to first top it, and then take down sections of the trunk. Let's take a look at how to do this.
Trim the Fronds Back
If your queen palm tree is of a size that you need to take it down in sections, the first thing to do is start removing the fronds. Take note that you can also do this if you are dropping the palm at its base, but want to reduce the volume of foliage that's coming down all at once.
If you're wondering how to trim a queen palm tree and its fronds, it is relatively simple (though also slightly hazardous).
To begin, set up your ladder securely at the base of the trunk. Then start removing the individual fronds with either a chainsaw, a pair of loppers, or a hand-held tree saw.
Take care not to cut fronds that are directly above you. Instead, reposition your ladder so that the falling fronds won't land on you or the ladder.
Cut the Trunk Down in Sections
Once all of the fronds are down, its time to start cutting down sections of the trunk. To reduce the safety hazards associated with this, aim to cut down short sections of no more than an arm's length at a time.
Be very careful during this stage. If the falling trunk sections hit your ladder, they might send it and you toppling to the ground.
Operating a chainsaw on a ladder is dangerous enough without falling sections of palm trunk. So make sure that you work with the utmost care and that your ladder is sturdily placed.
If you have a tree harness and are comfortable using it, you can opt for climbing the tree rather than using a ladder. This can be safer in some cases, but tree harnesses should generally only be used if you have had training or experience.
Remove the Base of the Trunk
Once you have taken down the trunk of your queen palm tree, the next step is to remove the base.
In some cases, you may want to leave the base and use it as a seat or pedestal to put pot plants on. However, if you want it removed, or your homeowners' association requires it, then you're best off renting a stump grinder.
While there are other methods, such as rotting out the stump, when it comes to how to remove a queen palm tree stump, a stump grinder is the most effective method.
Dispose of the Refuse
The final thing to do after taking down your queen palm tree is to dispose of the refuse. As we said before, the two main options are to let it decompose something on your property or have it removed.
Depending on the diameter of your palm's trunk, you could also consider getting a chipping service in to shred the biomass. This will allow it to decompose faster in a compost area. Alternatively, you can also the chippings as mulching in your yard.
The Safest Way to Remove a Queen Palm Tree: Hire a Tree Removal Service
If your queen palm is any taller than head height, removing it yourself can be hazardous. Balancing on a ladder, with a running chainsaw and falling trunk sections is precarious at best.
If you take a look at the statistics, tricky ladder work isn't something to take lightly. Of the half a million ladder falls that happen annually, 97% occur at home or on farms. What's more, research has revealed that 43% of fatal falls involve ladders.
Therefore, if you have anything but a young and short palm to deal with, we recommend you call in the experts. As a professional tree removal service, we know what can happen if one doesn't have the right equipment and training.
Professional Tree Removal Is Safer and Simpler
Hiring a professional tree removal service is without a doubt the safest way to take down a queen palm tree.
What's more, besides being less hazardous for you, it's also safer for your property. If your homeowner's insurance doesn't cover potential damage caused by tree removal, and something unexpected does happen, this can cost you dearly.
If you choose a professionally run tree removal service, they will hold insurance for these types of incidents. If damage does occur, you won't be the responsible party.
Lastly, if you call in a good tree removal service, they will also have arborists on hand to evaluate whether you need a tree removal permit and they will also be able to advise you on any disease issues, such as queen palm tree trunk rot.
Finally, comprehensive tree removal services will also take care of any waste.
Do You Need Your Queen Palm Tree Removed? We Can Do It Quickly and Safely
If you have a queen palm that needs to go, you can either take it out yourself or get it removed professionally.
Take note that DIY removal is only recommended if the palm is very young. The taller the palm the more hazardous cutting it down becomes.
Do you have a queen palm tree in your yard that you would like removed? If so, we are your men and women.
Greentopps Landscape Maintenance is equipped with the machinery and insurance to make sure that every job, no matter the size, is done right. What's more, as our reviews show, our customers are our top priority. We stop at nothing to make sure that our clients are happy with the services we provide.
If you're ready to get that palm out with a minimum of hassle and zero risks, both to you and your property, contact us today to schedule a free estimate.