Posted by Brent Wilson on 8/31/2016 to Pruning Tips
Pruning Palms is not absolutely necessary. Somehow, before humans and their pruners and saws arrived, palms lived for millions of years on the planet. That being said, the dead lower leaves of palms can be unsightly on a residential or commercial property, so pruning is often desired.
Do's and Dont's
Good palm tree care can mean AVOIDING removing most of the leaves (fronds) yearly or more frequently because it may weaken the palm and slows its growth.
Mature fronds provide food for developing fronds, flowers, fruit, roots and storage reserves in the palm's trunk. When healthy green fronds are pruned, the nutrients they would have produced are lost to the rest of the tree. Some nutrients move from older leaves of palms to newer leaves as they die. Removal of older green or chlorotic leaves exacerbates nutrient deficiency. Nutrient deficiencies retards growth.
So, when pruning a palm, take care to leave at least two or more rows of mature fronds; those that have turned greenish-yellow or muted green, but have yet to turn brown.
Never prune off more of the palm's leaves in one year than are produced during that time. Simply put, do not remove a palm tree frond until it has completely died (turned totally to brown).
How to Prune
When pruning a palm tree use a sharp pair of bypass hand pruners, or sharp pair of loppers for small fronds. For larger fronds a sharp, clean cutting saw will be necessary. If a ladder is used make sure to take all safety precautions. During the removal process larger fronds have been known to knock folks off the ladder!
Remove dead or diseased wood by pruning back to a point of healthy, disease-free growth, or remove the entire frond.