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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Palm Fronds Do Not Fall From Tree Normally

Q. I am chairman of building and grounds at a church where we have palm trees which are about 40 feet tall. These trees have skirts of dead fronds below the green tops. Somebody told me if we wait long enough these dead fronds will simply fall off and we won't have to trim them. Is this true?

A. No, it is not true unless a very strong wind blows them off and you are prepared to have them look “ratty” until the rest of them blow off. Normally they hang from the palm trees in a “skirt” that can be very attractive if left fully intact but can harbor birds and rodents. It can also be a fire hazard.
Most palms hold on to their fronds unless they are physically removed, strong winds blow them off or they burn. When they remain, these dead fronds are called a "skirt".
            At the best, your church has the expense of removing dead and dying fronds every couple of years if they can tolerate some dead fronds in the canopy. Otherwise, pruning must be done annually if they are to look their best.
The base of the palm frond remains attached to the palm tree trunk unless removed by pruning, strong winds or rotting.
            Another problem of many palms are the seeds they throw everywhere each year. Have palms pruned the same time they flower and the flowering spikes that produce seed can be removed at the same time. This eliminates the problem of palm seedlings growing everywhere.

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