The Q&A Archives: Care and Maintenance of Palm Trees

Question: I have four new palm trees. They vary in height from 12feet to around 18feet. I have been told that they are Sabra Palms. I would like to know about watering, fertilizer, insecticides, etc.

Answer: Your palms are probably Sabal (Palmetto) which are native from North Carolina to South America. These are large, slow growing fan palms. Some species can reach 80' high, but there's a Sabal minor which reaches only 6' at maturity, and a Sabal palmetto, which reaches a height of about 20' at maturity. Sabal palms thrive in full sunshine, average soil and moderate water throughout the growing season. They are all hardy to about 22F degrees. There are no particular pests of these trees so you won't need to stockpile insecticides. To keep the fronds looking attractive and to discourage mites from boarding there, wash the fronds off occasionally with a stream of water from the hose. Palms are not heavy feeders so regular fertilizer applications should be unnecessary. When you plant your palms you can spread 2"-3" of compost over the soil to help provide nutrients to the roots of the plants. Be sure to help your trees adjust to their new homes by supplying one-inch of water per week to the roots during the summer months.

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