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Sunday, September 4, 2016

How To Get Rid of Palm Seedlings

Q. I have 100's of palm seedlings coming up in my yard. Can you tell me the best way to get rid of them, short of pulling them up by hand, which for me would be physically impossible! I’m 88 years old.
Palm seeds are released in abundance from Washingtonia fan palms. These seeds are nearly 100% germination. They will land in shrub beds and even come up through mulch.
When you try to pull them when they are very young and in dry soil they frequently break off.
But when you pull them when they are a bit larger and the soil is wet they will frequently pull out with their entire root system.
A. I am sure there are probably some weed killers that will kill palm seedlings but those weed killers would not be safe around other landscape plants. I have had no luck killing them with Roundup even at the highest rate.
            I understand your dilemma in pulling them but If you pull them when they are about 12 inches tall and the soil is wet they should pull out fairly easily including the roots. If you try to pull them when they are small or cut them off they may regrow.
            I know this may be a lot of work but if you use a shovel in wet soil and just push the shovel in three or 4 inches a couple of inches from the Palm seedling you can pop them out of the ground pretty easily.
            If you are to use chemicals, a.k.a. weed killers or herbicides, then you would select something that kills woody plants and spray them individually so that the chemical does not harm other plants.

If you are going to use a weed killer, pick one that kills woody plants but apply it with a spray bottle, wedding only the leaves and not the soil. These types of weed killers can damage other woody plants in the landscape including trees, shrubs and fruit trees.

1 comment:

  1. You might try a different category of herbicide control, I use triclopyr to stop re sprouting of cut tree stumps, you can find it as 'brush and vine control' by Monterey at the nursery. an old small paint brush could be used to 'paint' it on instead of spraying which would contaminate the soil or other plants and being only on the sprouts it should absorb and kill only them.

    Also, prevention is better than the cure, first, have the seeds cut out before falling or use a 'pre-emergent' weed control that stops germination but doesn't affect established plants, this should stop them from sprouting and eliminate the need for pulling them (I have no direct experience with this process but the idea is sound and should work...). Other than that, consider removal of the parent palms if they are no longer of any viable landscape aesthetic value and have become a maintenance problem. Good luck!