How To Care For Palm Trees Outdoors

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Last Updated on February 17, 2022 by

Knowledge on how to care for palm trees outdoors is important to help you learn the general ways you can use to take care of your plant.

Palms are plants that can grow across the world and you don’t have to live in the tropics to enjoy them.  Whether they are grown in pots or outdoors, palm trees evoke a tropical bliss that is outstanding.

The secret to healthy graceful palms lies in the care you give them.

Before you learn how to care for palm trees outdoors, you should learn how to choose the right palm.

Choosing Palms that You Can Grow

  • Palms have a Wide Variety to Choose from. You will need to choose the type that does well in your area.  When choosing palms, pay attention to nursery catalog descriptions or plant tags and remember these 2 important points.
  • The Winter Hardiness Ability.  Potted palms do not have this concern because they spend winter safely indoors.  The outdoor landscape palms spend the winter season outside.  You must match your palm tree to the climate.  Some cold-hardy palm trees can withstand very low temperatures below 0 degrees while others perish from frost.
Choosing Palms that You Can Grow
  • The Palms Mature in Size.  This depends on what size of palm tree you want in your yard.  Some go for the very tall ones others medium or the shortest.
  • Space and Purpose. First, establish where you want to plant them before picking the height.  It will help you see the picture more clearly with the space in mind. By choosing the right palm suitable for your intended space and purpose, you get to enjoy its beauty.

Read about How Fast Do Windmill Palm Trees Grow? 

How To Care For Palm Trees Outdoors

Palm trees just like other kinds of plants require special care but are low maintenance.  It is important to take special for their roots because they do not have deep roots growing deep beneath the tree.  The palm tree roots branch very little and do not increase in size as the tree grows upward.

Most palms have a single trunk although there are species that grow as clusters.  They have a single growing point at the top of the trunk called the terminal bud. Once the terminal bud is injured, most palm trees die.

The roots of a palm tree do not damage sidewalks and utilities because they do not thicken like other trees.

Outdoor Palm Tree General Care

  • Soil.  Palm trees receive most of their nutrients from the topsoil and the top of the nearby ground.  This means you will need to fertilize the soil with proper nutrients.
  • Watering.  New palm trees need watering at least 2 times a week for the first 6 months.  Give it adequate water to ensure moisture is penetrating 1 ½ foot into the soil.  If you are growing your palm tree on sandy soil, add extra water as sandy water does not maintain moisture. Once the plant gets established, watering will depend on the season, climate, and rainfall frequency.  In most cases, gardeners water 2 times a month during summer decreasing the frequency during the colder season to once every 6 weeks.
  • Fertilization.  Palms suffer from a nutritional deficiency in manganese, iron, and zinc.  Using moss peat, pine bark, compost or liquid sulfur lowers the pH of the soil.  The ideal fertilizer for palm trees is 8-2-12 which varies greatly from other plants. Remember palms get their nutrients from the top of the soil.
  • Pruning.  Most palm trees shed their fronds as a natural process. When pruning, remove the yellowing or browning old fronds because they take away important nutrients from the tree.  Do not trim the branches too close to the trunk as this might easily damage the tree.  Do not prune off more leaves than the tree has produced in one year.  This will cause stunted growth.

Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Palm Plant Food, 4.5 lb

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Pests And Diseases

Palms are susceptible to bacteria, viruses, and fungi as well as pests.  The most common pests include:

  • Giant Palm Borer.  This borer is large and quite ugly.  This borer lives in the inside of the palm trunk for up to 9 years before exiting as beetles through big-sized holes.
  • Palm Budworm.  This beetle’s larvae feed on the flowers of many varieties of palm trees.  These caterpillars are about an inch long and are pink green in color.
  • Thrips.  The North America thrips make up a large family of insects.  Some of the thrips have a taste for palm trees feeding on leaves and flowers by puncturing the surfaces to suck out the sap.  Thrips are not fatal to palms but when they feed on adult plants discolors and wilt the leaves.

Find out How to GetRid of Sod Webworm

Pests and diseases are common with palm growing.  Fungal diseases are best treated with fungicides and removal of the affected parts.


How do you keep outdoor palms alive?

It’s an age old question. The answer is to feed them. The type of food you feed your palm will determine the amount of leaf growth, the overall size and shape of the palm and even how fast it will grow. I like to start my palms out in containers in the spring so they have a head start on the year.

I also like to give them a good dose of fertilizer and water. This helps their root systems get established and keep them healthy all year long. I like to use a slow release fertilizer that has a ratio of 10:10:10. In other words, one part nitrogen, one part phosphorus and one part potassium. This fertilizer helps with root development, stem development and leaves.

If your palm tree is not in a container or under cover, you will have to water it on a regular basis. When it comes to growing palms, it is best to plant them in a well-drained area. To make sure that the palms are happy, they need to be in full sun for at least six hours a day. It is also important to fertilize them with fertilizer. Keep Learning There are many different kinds of palm trees that can be planted outside.

How much water do outdoor palm trees need?

An indoor palm tree needs approximately 10 gallons of water a week, while an outdoor palm tree needs about 50 gallons a week. The difference in amount of water needed between indoor and outdoor palms is due to the fact that outdoor palms are exposed to more weather elements than indoor palms.

How do I keep my palm trees healthy?

There are many factors that can affect your palm trees' health, but the most common is a lack of water.

You may have heard the old adage, "A thirsty plant is a dead plant." And while it's true that if you don't give your palm tree enough water, you're going to end up with an unhappy palm tree, that's not the only factor at play here.

In fact, one of the biggest mistakes people make when caring for their palm trees is simply watering too often. "There's a misconception that palm trees need to be watered daily," says Dr. Robert D'Amato, Palm Beach County horticulturalist and owner of D'Amato Palm Nursery.

"The truth is that they don't need to be watered as much as other plants." While it's true that a palm tree needs plenty of water to thrive, the key is not to overdo it. While it's true that you should water your palm tree every day, you shouldn't overwater it either. "You don't want to over-water because that will encourage disease and pests," says Dr. D'Amato. "If you keep your palm tree watered all the time, it's going to get weak and eventually die.

How do I keep my palm tree green?

If you have a pot with drainage holes, you might try to repot your palm tree into a pot with drainage holes.

This will prevent the roots from sitting in water and rotting. You could cut off the damaged leaves and try to replace them with new ones. Also, try to fertilize the tree with an organic fertilizer, like fish emulsion or seaweed extract.

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