What You Should Know About Palm Tree Pruning Services

When you think about the beach, what sorts of images spring to mind? Rolling waves, sunny days, and swaying palm trees may come to mind as you imagine days spent relaxing on the sand. If you live near the water, you may want your home to feel as much like an oasis as possible, and that means planting at least a few palm trees.

Palm trees can be a gorgeous addition to your home, but, like any other tree, they need regular maintenance. Read on to learn more about palm tree pruning and how you can keep your palm trees healthy and beautiful.

Prevent Damage

There are several good reasons to prune your palm trees, one of which is to help prevent future damage. Trees don’t exactly grow in predictable, structurally advisable ways. As they develop, they can get lopsided, grow out over roofs or sidewalks, or even become too heavy to support their own weight.

Left unmanaged, these growth patterns will reach a breaking point – quite literally. Your tree may fall under its own weight, breaking in ways that can be catastrophic both for your property and the tree. Regular trimming can keep your palm trees growing in healthy patterns that keep you, your property, and your family safe.

Help Your Trees Thrive

You might be surprised that regular pruning can actually help your palm tree to be healthier. Think of tree pruning as a haircut for your palm – imagine what your hair would look like if you never got it trimmed. It would become straggly, worn, and more prone to breaking in unfortunate places.

When you trim your palm tree, you remove some of the excess weight preventing it from reaching its full growth potential. The new, healthy growth will have space and resources to thrive, expanding out in balanced patterns. However, trimming your palm tree for its health is a balancing act; you don’t want to remove so much foliage that you kill the tree.

Prepare for Hurricanes

If you have palm trees, there’s a good chance you live somewhere that gets hit by hurricanes. We don’t need to tell you how devastating these storms can be and how big a role trees can play in damaging your house and car. Palm trees are no exception, and a large enough palm could destroy a significant part of your house. 

Keeping your palm tree trimmed can go a long way towards making sure your home is protected in the event of a storm. Removing damaged or diseased portions can lessen the chances that a piece of your tree falls on your house. Keeping your tree healthier will also reduce the odds that it falls and crushes your roof or your car.

Keep Things Looking Sharp 

For many of us, keeping our homes looking beautiful is a point of pride. Your home is the most valuable thing you’ll ever own, not to mention being the center point of your life. You want your home to be an attractive, pleasant place to live and to represent you and your family well. 

Regularly trimming your palm trees can be a great way to improve the curb appeal of your house. An unpruned tree will look sloppy and untidy and will degrade the entire rest of the property. But a well-cared-for tree will make your home look sharp and like the sort of place you can take pride in. 

When You Can Trim It Yourself 

While hiring a professional to trim your palm tree is often a good idea, there are certain circumstances in which you can trim your palm tree yourself. In general, you should only prune palm trees that are small enough for you to prune from the ground. If you have to climb a ladder to prune your tree, you need to call in professionals.

You also need to make sure that you have the proper palm tree pruning tools and experience to prune your palm tree. If the fronds on your tree are small enough to cut with a pruning saw or a hand pruner, you can likely handle the job yourself. But if you have to use a chainsaw to cut through them, it’s best to hire an arborist.

Proper Trimming Season 

If you plan to prune your small palm tree on your own, it’s important to pick the right season to do it. Pruning in the summer or winter can be harmful to your tree since it removes extra layers of protection. Dead fronds may not be the prettiest, but they can help to shade your tree during the summer and keep it insulated during the colder months. 

Experts recommend tackling palm tree pruning projects during the springtime. You should wait until after the last frost just to make sure the last of the harsh winter weather has passed. But make sure you don’t wait until May or June when the summer heat begins to set in.

How to Trim Your Palm Tree

Before you pick up a saw or pruner, take a hard look at your palm tree and decide where you need to cut. You want to keep a full circular canopy and avoid the “hurricane cut” look, in which only a few fronds are left on top of the tree. While this does reduce the tree’s chances of blowing over, it also damages your tree and makes it hard for it to get the nutrients it needs to thrive. 

Once you’ve figured out which fronds to remove, wipe all your tools down with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol to sterilize them. Begin from the bottom up and make sure to only remove fronds from the bottom half of the full canopy. Make your cuts two inches away from the trunk to avoid damaging your tree.

Dangers of Pruning Palm Trees 

If you plan to prune your palm trees yourself, you should be aware that this job can be dangerous. For one thing, if you have to climb a ladder to reach your tree’s canopy, you risk falling and injuring yourself. Your chances of an accident get worse if you’re carrying sharp, heavy tools (like chainsaws) up that ladder with you. 

But you might be surprised to learn that the biggest risk homeowners face when it comes to pruning their own palm trees is suffocation. As the fronds collapse, they can fall on top of you, making it impossible for you to breathe. The most common cause of death for palm tree trimmers is smothering under the weight of all those fallen fronds.

When to Call the Pros

Given that palm tree trimming can be so dangerous, when is it time to give in and call the pros? As we mentioned, it’s never a good idea to trim a tree that requires you to use a ladder. Professional tree trimmers have specialized equipment that helps them to stay safe when working on trees this large. 

It’s also a good idea to call a professional arborist if it’s been a long time since your tree was trimmed. Overgrown trees can present more of a danger of suffocation since you’re removing so many more fronds. You also want to ensure that your tree gets trimmed the right way in order for it to balance properly and get the nutrients it needs.

Small Trees

The first question many homeowners ask when hiring a professional palm tree trimmer is how much it’s going to cost. Palm tree trimming expenses vary by how tall the tree is. As you might expect, the taller your tree, the more you’re going to have to pay to get it professionally pruned.

Getting small palm trees trimmed can be very affordable. Keep in mind that if it's too tall for you to trim from the ground, you do need to bring in a professional for this job. You may be able to get discounts if you’re having more than one tree trimmed during a single visit.

Medium Trees 

With the exception of juvenile trees and some dwarf species, most palm trees are likely to be taller than fifteen feet. Your average palm tree is likely to fall in the 15 to 25-foot range, especially if you have a Christmas palm tree or a Pindo palm. Because these are a little taller and require some more specialized equipment and training, you can expect to pay more to have them trimmed.

However, getting medium palm trees professionally tended to still isn’t an expensive prospect. Arborists may be able to use ladders or pole saws so you can avoid the expense of specialty tools. Like small trees, you may also be able to get a discount per tree if you get multiple trees pruned at once.

Large Trees

There are some species of palm tree that can grow to be even more than twenty-five feet tall. The Canary palm tree grows to be more than thirty feet tall, and the Sylvester palm can be forty feet high or more. Palmetto palms, the most common species found in Florida, easily crest thirty or forty feet even when they’re young.

In order to trim large trees like this, arborists will need harnesses, climbing equipment, and special training. There may be a small discount for more than one tree, but that amount is likely to be less since it’s so much more work to trim these trees.

Enormous Trees

Many species of palm trees grow to be taller than fifty feet, and trimming them can be a challenge, to say the least. The palmetto palm can reach up to sixty-five feet when it’s fully grown. And the stunning Mexican palm tree can reach an astounding eighty-two feet – the equivalent of an eight-story building. 

If you have a tree over fifty feet, you need to plan to invest money in getting it regularly pruned. However, this investment will be more than worth it when you see your gorgeous tree growing healthy and tall. You'll also have peace of mind knowing your home is safe from falling fronds.

Caring for Your Palm Tree

Aside from getting your tree trimmed on a regular basis, there are some other important steps you need to take to care for your palm trees. Bracing your palm trees can help give them the support they need to grow straight and strong. Use three two-by-four pieces of lumber to support your trees for the first year they’re in the ground.

It’s also a good idea to give your trees some protection from cold winter weather. If possible, drape light sheets or blankets over your palms during cold snaps, and water the soil around your trees before cold weather. You may even consider setting a propane heater near your palms during extreme cold weather. 

Learn More About Palm Tree Pruning

Palm trees can be a gorgeous addition to your landscaping, but they do need regular care to be at their best. It’s a good idea to have them pruned every year, being sure not to take off too much foliage. Depending on the size of your tree, professional pruning may cost anywhere between $60 and $1,000.

If you’d like to learn more about palm tree pruning, check out the rest of our site at Green Topps. We offer full-service landscaping for both commercial and residential properties. Contact us today and discover our wide range of affordable services from landscape installations to tree trimming and removal.

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