Palm Tree Pruning

 Palm Tree Pruning


TGO Nature Center, Nature, The Great Outdoors, Titusville, Florida, Education, Plants, Tree, Trees, Palm, Prune, Pruning

Photo Courtesy of Darlene Durham


Below is a very informative article about pruning palm trees.  Click on the photo above to get a closer look at some palm trees at the TGO Nature Center.  The shorter palms on each side of the taller palms have been pruned but they still have plenty of green fronds on them.  It looks like only the dead fronds were removed.  Now on to the article…


Here are some facts regarding harsh pruning of palm trees.

1. Cutting healthy green fronds steals the palms’ source of nutrients, permanently stunts growth, invites disease and reduces the palms’ natural resilience to high winds.

2. Cutting fronds reduces valuable shade, increases ground water evaporation and creates a need for irrigation.

3. Over-pruned palms develop bottleneck trunks. In high winds and hurricanes this stressed and weakened point will cause the palm to break off and die.

4. Pruning of protective green fronds makes the palm’s heart cold-sensitive and susceptible to winter frosts and freezes.

5. Harsh pruning causes native and migratory songbirds, woodpeckers, butterflies, honey bees, tree frogs, bats, anoles, squirrels, and other wildlife to lose valuable food, shelter, and nesting areas.

6. Work boots with climbing spikes incur wounds in the trunk, leaving the palm prone to disease.

7. Sabal palms (known as cabbage palms) are self-pruning palms, shedding dead fronds in high winds. They have survived droughts, fires and floods, enriched the soil and adapted to coastal and inland environments for thousands of years. Their spring flowers and winter berries are vitally important to the survival of migratory birds and Florida’s indigenous wildlife species. Though not necessary, it is acceptable to prune brown and yellow fronds hanging below an imaginary horizon line. Pole pruners work best. Prune stems away from the trunk.


1. Do not cut green fronds.

2. Say NO to landscapers who want to prune green fronds. Exclude annual harsh-pruning from your landscape contract.

3. Keep lawn mowers, weed eaters, and chain saws away from the trunk. These wounds are permanent and allow disease to enter the palm.

4. Mulch around palms to conserve water and keep out weeds, eliminating the need for weed eaters.

5. Work together to save and protect our valuable Sabal Palm, an integral part of Florida’s ecosystems.

** Information gathered from: Bertrock’s Guide to Landscape Palms, An Illustrated Guide to Pruning, The Sabal Palm, A Native Monarch

Click on this Palm Tree Pruning link to read some excellent advice from the Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN) on the benefits to nature of not pruning and harm caused to the trees by severe pruning.  Be sure to click on the three links at the bottom of their page to learn more about palm tree pruning and to see photos of palm trees that have been severely pruned.


Did you know the Sabal Palm is Florida’s state tree?


TGO Nature Center – “Living in Harmony with Nature

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