The Q&A Archives: Care for Queen Palms in Tampa, Florida

Question: We live near Tampa. We have 2 large queen palms (we've had them for 9 years) and they were already about 8-10 feet when they were planted. Now they are about 20 feet high. One is doing exceptionally well, in fact it is one of the healthiest queen palms I've seen, showing sturdy, huge, deep green fronds, and considerable growth. The other, about 10 feet away from the better one is not doing as well. The trunk is not as big around and there are not as many fronds. The fronds are green, but this tree doesn't grow as many new fronds each year, and it looks sparse next to the better one. What can I do? Any general tips for queen palms?

Answer: Well, my first suggestion is to move it away from the healthy one so it doensn't look so bad in comparison, but that's not a solution. These trees thrive in poor, dry soils, and are prone to disease if soil is damp or overly rich. Could it be that the soil just 10 feet from the healthy tree is closer to the water table, a leaky water line, etc.? Other underground lines (sewer, gas, etc.) can sometimes interfere with the health of plants. The only way to find out for sure is to have a professional arborist or agricultural extension agent (ph# 813/582-2149) take a look at the tree and make a diagnosis. These are fairly short-lived trees, too, so if they suggest an expensive solution, ask them as well about the expected life span of the tree. Hope this helps!

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