The Q&A Archives: When is the best time to trim palm trees?

Question: I live in the desert southwest and have several palm trees in my backyard. When is the best time during the summer months to trim? I noticed my neighbor had his trimmed a few months ago and they are already starting to seed which is, unfortunately, falling into my backyard.
Thank you.

Answer: I usually trim my palms as soon as I recognize they are sending out their inflorescences. Wait until the stalky growth is fully expanded but before it opens, and certainly before it sets seeds. Then prune those off, along with any fronds that are lower than midway. I think of a clock face and prune off anything lower than 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock. Many people trim palms by removing all but the newest most upright fronds. This stresses the palm (they need leaves for photosynthesis) and because they've lost those necessary fronds they respond by growing faster. This rapid growth causes the trunk to be thin at the top where it is bearing the most weight, and makes the palm more susceptible to wind damage. Timing of pruning depends upon the type of palms you are growing but most send out inflorescences in April or May, depending on weather. Best wishes with your palms.

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