When And How To Prune Palm Trees?

Some tips so that your palm trees are always cared for and perfect.

How ugly the palm trees are when they are full of dry leaves, it gives a sense of abandonment, of non-maintenance, however when they are clean and green they are the queens of the gardens, the streets, the beaches and of all the places where they are.

Palm trees have a regulation system whereby they generate new leaves in the upper part of their cup as the old leaves dry in the lower part of the glass.

In cold climates, these dry leaves covering the trunk of the palm tree are a good protection for the cold, but except in these exceptions, it is important to prune the palm trees to ensure that they remain beautiful, healthy and clean. In addition, with pruning we will avoid the risk of falling dry leaves at high altitude.

When to prune a palm tree?

The optimum cutting time will be during the vegetative period, in spring, summer and autumn , never in winter.
In hot climates, it can be done at any time of the year. Keep in mind that we mainly talk about removing dry leaves. You should always avoid temperatures above 20ºC that can favor the 
attack of red weevil , a pest that is causing the death of many palm trees in southern Spain. Another pest to be careful with is paysandisia , which is affecting palm trees in Alicante or Elche lately .

Depending on the species and size of the palm we will prune them more or less frequently, to know we will only have to be attentive to the state and color of the leaves and thus we will know when to cut them. If they are green and healthy it means they have chlorophyll and perform the photosynthetic function perfectly: they collect nutrients from the earth and convert them into carbohydrates. So we will have to cut them when they start to yellow , it is not advisable to wait until the leaves are completely dry. Also, if any, we must remove diseased leaves attacked by fungi, so we will prevent the spores from spreading to healthy leaves.

Fruit clusters are usually decorative so they will be cut or not according to taste , although it should be taken into account what:

– They consume energy from the plant , so if we cut them, the palm tree will grow a little more that year since all its energy (water and nutrients) will be concentrated in the leaves.

– Some species , such as “Syagrus Romanzoffiana” or vulgarly known as “Plum Coconut”, throws them to the ground , so in addition to posing a danger, it is annoying and dirty.

How to prune a palm tree?

If the palm trees are of low and medium height , we can prune ourselves with the appropriate tools so as not to damage them .

And remember that we should not eliminate the green leaves , since we will break the balance of the palm by weakening it, delaying its development and causing it to lose nutrients.

The pruning tools used for these palm trees are:


– Marcola or palm knife:

It is common among palm trees (palm trimmers) in southern Spain. Only with this tool you can do all the pruning work : clean the trunk, cut leaves by the petiole, cut fruits and to make the finish of the balona.

 – Corvellot:

It is a tool similar to marcola. It is widely used in the Spanish Levante.

For palm trees with high logs , the most sensible thing is to turn to professionals specialized in pruning palm trees. Good safety equipment is needed to climb the trunk, as well as good cutting tools . 

In addition to the tools already mentioned for smaller palm trees, here also, we may need if the specimen is large these others:

– Ax:

It is also used by many pruners to cut leaves and “pencas” (petiole base); then, the tuning of the ball must be done with the marcola or with the corvellot.

– Chainsaw:

There is a small hand and serves to cut the leaves into large specimens .

– Handsaw:

 For the same as the chainsaw, to cut leaves by the petiole, very little is used today.

Before climbing the trunk of a palm tree, make sure it is stable enough. When going up, it should be hitting to check that there are no holes or rotten areas.

On the other hand, the ascent by the palm tree must be done so that the trunk is not damaged , since serious damage could be caused to the palm tree. There are different systems to climb the trunk of the palm tree, stirrups, “bicycle” or lifting platform .

Pruning is done by trimming the dried leaves flush with the trunk, starting from the lowest part of the crown and spiraling up.

After pruning the palm tree

Once the leaves have been cut, we will remove all the remains of the pruning and then we will fertilize the soil around the trunk with a specific product so that the palm tree grows stronger .


From here we advise you that if you like gardening , do not hesitate to prune small specimens following these recommendations, but if in your garden you have copies of considerable height , it is not worth it to buy all the tools and safety equipment, It is an expensive equipment and if you have no experience you run the risk of falling, cutting and / or pricking yourself, realize that unless you are mounted on a platform, you are in an uncomfortable and insecure posture and with sharp tools .

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