Mulch for palms

jenna1(AZ)April 23, 2013

We moved to Lake Havasu City about four months ago and had both our front and back yards landscaped with alot of pinapple palms and pygmy palms.

I recently put in another bed that I mulched with shredded red cedar mulch. I have plenty of the mulch left over and was thinking about mulching around some of the palms with the cedar mulch. I've looked online to see if this type of mulch would be helpful or would hurt these palms but all I could find were articles that said "organic" mulch, without much reference as to the type of organic material used.

We moved here from north central California and I mulched religiously in our gardens, but always kept mulch about 1' away from the base of the plants. I made my own compost and mulch and never used cedar before. For some reason the landscaper planted the back yard palms with some of the roots exposed and am also worried about the cedar burning or otherwise harming the exposed roots and plants.

Does anyone have experience with using the cedar mulch around palms? Would it be ok to put the cedar directly on top of the roots or should I cover with top soil first, then mulch?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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My bet is the landscaper got sick of digging :)

I've grown plenty of palms but in SoFla. My Robellini's and others sometimes would grow their roots above the soil line. I didn't have any problem putting well draining soil and mulch up and around the roots. Try to make sure the topsoil you use is not going to just compact and ferment on top! Just make sure not to let the mulch or maybe even the soil make direct contact with the soil because it can lead to rot. I found as long as it was an inch or two away, that seemed to be enough.

I'm not sure if it's the same here but in SoFla we tried to stay away from the red mulch because everyone seemed to be under the impression that it attracted termites. I always tried to use renewable / sustainable non-colored wood mulches.

Palms are one of my fav's!


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:00AM
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Helen, thank you for your response. Yes, the landscapers most definitely were tired of digging and I can't say that we blame them. The whole crew worked their butts off for several days and didn't even take breaks between the time they started in the mornings to the time they left in the afternoon, even when we tried to serve them lunch. And the owner worked right beside them.

Our front area was all mounded and the palms were planted in good soil which was brought in, with rock on top of that. However, because we have a pool in our back yard, we decided against mounding there as we worried that runoff during rains would end up in the pool. The ground here appears to be mostly rock, with a little bit of dirt mixed in. The crew was literally jackhammering the planting areas in back as well as the route the irrigation system was going to be laid in. I've worked with compacted clay soil hard as concrete but I've never seen anything like this. Gardening and landscaping here in this desert area is certainly not close to what I'm used to.

I haven't yet decided what I'm going to do with the exposed roots of these palms in the back yard. But we are planning on visiting a couple nursuries tomorrow and ask their opinion. As of right now I'm leaning towards top soil with the cedar on top of that.

Thank you again!


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:26PM
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From what I continue to learn is you'll want more of a broken down compost material that can be water down through the soil and not the bulkier cedar. I'm attaching a helpful video I found just today.

Here is a link that might be useful: QueenPalmfert

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 3:26PM
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