Do you trim a Palm Tree?

JERock(WA)March 29, 2007

I have a very established Palm Tree (I don't remember the variety that it is)and the lower part of the trunk has a lot of fibrous covering and lower leaf junctions on it. Should the fibrous material and old leaf stubs be removed to make a clean trunk? This palm must be 10 ft. tall. I'm in the Seattle area, so I know it's a variety for this region.

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There's a good chance we're talking about Trachycarpus fortunei (windmill palm). Most people don't remove the fibers, but if you do it, it won't hurt the plant, and some people think it makes the palm look more tropical. I have heard that it takes quite a while and is not an easy task. I don't recommend trimming off leaves that are mostly healthy and green.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 10:05PM
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I love my palm tree and do not remove a good looking leaf! I was just unsure as to whether to take the fibrous stuff off. I know in AZ they clear the trunks on all there palms, but ours are not the same. I'll have to go look up that variety you mentioned and see if it looks like mine. Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 10:49PM
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joslookin(zone 9)

We had palms when we lived in So.CA and always cut all but the top 2 or 3 ROWS of fronds. ROWS, remember. It will leave a stub about 4-8 inches for each frond. You cut them off because if you leave them to dry, bend, and slump to the truck the are more likely to harbor rodents. The love to make nests in these. As your palm get higher and higher it will be harder to reach for trimming. We used an extention pole trimmer that Fisskar makes. It was slick. If you choose to clean cut the fibrous stuff entirely because of the look, don't go any higher toward the crown of the tree than 6 feet or so. We din't start this kind of cleaning till the palm was at least 25 ft or so. And you can use a curved carpet knife for this. Go thru just the first layer when you 'score' it, then it peels off kindof unevenly. It takes maybe 10 minutes per foot for this 'cleaning'.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 11:24PM
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I do indeed have a Trachycarpus Fortunei/Windmill palm. After reading up on it, I was just going to leave the fibrous stuff there, but now reading the previous post about rodents living in there............

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 12:48AM
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This is not southern California and rodents don't live in palm trees here :-) Even with a mature Trachycarpus, there is not enough cover to provide protection or shelter for these varmints. Remove the fiber or not, but don't worry about rodents - they've got more than enough homesteading territory in all the ivy that's all over.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 7:17AM
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Thanks for the reassurance. My biggest fear...those rodents! Yes, Ivy..........we were sure glad when our neighbor got rid of his Ivy!!!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 6:49PM
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