Palm Fronds for Mulch?

teadye(9b St Pete FL)August 20, 2010

We have so many palm fronds that we're thinking about getting a small chipper/shredder to turn them into mulch and for brown in the compost pile. Is there any reason not to do this or if there are any plants we shouldn't put it on if we do? How about areca palm trunks? We had to thin some mature trunks away from the house and utility lines recently and have a pile of long straight trunks that could be used for edging things.

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Sounds good to me ! I use everything I can scrounge together for mulch, in my rose-beds, it all breaks down and nourishes the soil... I just cut my palm-fronds with clippers in smaller pieces... if you have a chipper, maybe you could even 'chip' the trunks ? they would make good edging also,and are quite attractive ....... sally

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 1:41PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

I did just that last season w/ a big pile of well-dried sabal palm fronds & used the mulch for my veggies. I figure it's very similar to grass or hay mulch, just a bit coarser. My little electric shredder does better w/ the dried, old fronds than the fresh 1s, tho the reverse is true w/ other woody plants.

I haven't tried palm trunks for edging, but I've used other wood from trees in my yard & even the smaller ones have lasted for years now. I really like the rustic look.

I'm a firm believer in using what I have - waste not, want not = )

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 1:47PM
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Yes, use the fronds as mulch. Chip them up fine as they tend to a bit longer to break down.
No, don't use the cut trunks to edge anything as they will rot away in just a few years and then you've got a mess. Plus the old trunks are a perfect medium for Gandoderma to form and that's a whole world of trouble.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 1:54PM
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I lie my fallen fronds on the ground to block weeds and allow them to decompose naturally. We do this in an area where there are no fancy beds, just wild growth along the back edge of the yard, and I have not noticed any negatives to this practice. The little lizards, snakes, and frogs seem to really appreciate the cover as well.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 1:55PM
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I had an entire dump truck of palm shreds brought here.
It is much slower to decompose.
The motto on the soil forum:
It all becomes compost sooner or later.
It's all good.
Go for it!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 4:44PM
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teadye(9b St Pete FL)

Thanks for the great advice. I'm glad to be able to shred up the fronds. We'd probably have to buy a pickup truck to deal with the yard waste otherwise... it's already an intimidating pile of fronds, and we've only been in the house 6 weeks!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 5:49PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I too have palm frond mountains but am told because of their strininess machines will just get tangled.
When my dad was a bit pryer and I was getting him off booze I needed to keep his hands busy, he would work diligently and be ever so proud of the buckets of mulch he chopped for me. The neighbors started to bring their fronds to him. But in his new apt he cannot be that messy so I have to deal with them on own and they sure pile up fast!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:12AM
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When we bought our property a year ago, I had a landscaper cut off all the dead fronds from the palms (27 Queen palms and a few Areca) and shred them so I could spread them under a big live oak. He did complain that they were really stringy and dulled the blades quickly, but the real problem is they seem to have some sort of thorns along the spines that is in the mulch, and I can't bring my garden cart over it as they puncture the tires. One afternoon all four tires went flat, and when I took out the tubes, they all had long thorns sticking out. I've probably had a dozen flats to repair, and can't bring the cart anywhere near where I do most of the gardening. I'd think twice about doing it again.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 12:29PM
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If anyone is into basket-making, the palm is super for weavers... I used to weave baskets and palms also banana fronds are gorgeous and very durable.... the palm seed-pod stem makes a great handle..........sally

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 5:28PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

My neighborhood is surrounded by miles of marsh and swamp, much of it infested with cattails. Last year I went out and sickled a huge load of cattail stalks, brought them home and chopped it up and applied it to my vegetable garden as mulch. It worked great until it got windy and blew my cattail pieces out of the garden and all over the yard. Apparently, after the moisture dries out of the cattail pieces, they become very lightweight, just waiting for the next breeze to begin their new journey.
Oh well, live and learn!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:42PM
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