How to Trim a Palm Tree and When Not to Prune
Trim Brown Fronds and Fruit but Only When Necessary
Les Engles achieved Master Gardener through the Camden County Extension of the Rutgers Master Gardeners Program. He is an arboretum curator with over 30 years of experience. He describes himself as a “tree-hugging dirt worshipper” who is a member of multiple gardening societies and foundations.
Learn more about The Spruce’s
Updated on 06/21/22
Andrew Hughes is a certified arborist, member of the International Society of Arborists specializing in tree heal care, and reviews tree content on The Spruce’s Gardening Review Board. He founded and runs Urban Loggers, LLC, a company offering residential tree services in the Midwest and Connecticut.
Learn more about The Spruce’s
The Spruce / Almar Creative
Palm trees are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to pruning, but it’s still important to know when and how to trim a palm tree. Unlike many other plants, cutting back the green fronds won’t help with growth. In fact, pruning healthy fronds will just minimize food production and ultimately weaken the tree.
However, occasionally you’ll have to remove a healthy frond if it’s too close to a structure or blocking a road or sidewalk. Otherwise, most of your pruning will be to remove brown fronds, as well as flowers and fruits. The best time to prune is in the spring, especially prior to hurricane and fire season.
When to Prune
To remove dead, dying, or damaged fronds
To eliminate flowers and fruits that can sap the tree’s energy and be a hazard to those below if they drop
To improve visibility, such as near a roadway
To reduce fire hazards and other damage from fronds too close to structures
To get rid of unwanted seedlings
When Not to Prune
If your palm tree is small enough to prune from the ground, then you are set to start. However, if you need to climb a ladder, you should consider hiring an arborist. It’s more than likely the fronds will require a chain saw to cut, and an experienced professional will be able to do this safely. You must always prune from the top down; cutting lower fronds can dislodge upper fronds and trap the pruner against the trunk.
Equipment / Tools
- Pruning saw
- Hand pruners
- Clean cloth or paper towel
- Step stool (optional)
- Gardening gloves
- Safety glasses
- Rubbing alcohol
The Spruce / Almar Creative
Examine Your Palm Tree
Begin by taking a good look all around your tree. Note whether any fronds are completely brown. You can leave fronds that are turning from green to yellow, as they’re still providing the tree with some nourishment.
Also, note whether any fronds have been broken and are at risk of falling. Likewise, look for fronds that are too close to structures. Finally, check for fruits and flowers, and put them on the to-prune list.
Some palm trees are known as self-cleaning. They include king palms and Kentia palms. Self-cleaning palms naturally drop their dead fronds, so you generally just have to wait until they drop and pick them up from the ground. However, you still might need to prune in certain situations, such as to reduce fire and wind hazards.
The Spruce / Almar Creative
Plan the Prune
Determine the tools you’ll need. In most cases for DIY palm tree pruning, this will include a pruning saw and hand pruners. Prior to making your cuts, sanitize your pruning tools by wiping down the blades with rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth or paper towel.
As the rubbing alcohol dries, determine the order in which you’ll make your cuts, so nothing is ever at risk of falling on you. It’s often best to work from the lower fronds upward, so you have a clearer path as you reach up for fronds. Bring out a step stool if necessary.
The Spruce / Almar Creative
Make the Cuts
Cut fronds at least 2 inches from the trunk. This will prevent damage to the trunk that can introduce pests and diseases.
As you remove fronds, fruits and flowers will be easier to see. So be on the lookout for any that you hadn’t previously noted in your tree inspection.
The Spruce / Almar Creative
The rule of thumb for palms is to never remove more than one year’s worth of growth at a time.
Responsibly dispose of your pruning waste. Fruits, flowers, and other debris left at the base of the tree might attract pests or even result in unwanted trees growing.
If you’re unsure of how to dispose of your palm fronds—especially diseased fronds—call your local public works department for information. Many areas have special instructions regarding palm waste.
The Spruce / Almar Creative
How to Trim a Palm Tree Safely
How to Trim a Palm Tree Safely
Updated April 17, 2023
Photo: Nikita / Adobe Stock
A tree trimming may be just what the arborist ordered for your palm—just be super careful
Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.
For people living in warm or coastal climates, palm trees are a popular landscape addition. These trees provide shade and make you feel like you’re on summer vacation all year long. But these trees grow “beards,” where the fronds (what you might call leaves) turn brown. The brown fronds may then come loose and litter your yard or become obstacles in the road without proper care. Here’s how to trim a palm tree to help it look its best.
Why Do I Need to Trim Palm Trees?
You don’t always need to trim palm trees. Unlike other plants that you may trim for cosmetic reasons, palm trees are usually trimmed just to minimize safety hazards. The fronds can become fire hazards, especially when the trees are close to homes and garages. They can also fall and become road obstacles or may damage nearby structures in high winds.
Many palm trees also benefit from pruning for their own vitality. Dead or dying fronds, flowers, and fruits on palm trees can take away nutrients from the main plant.
How Much Does It Cost to Trim Palm Trees?
Tree trimming services cost about $100 to $1,500 per palm tree. The rate is less expensive for shorter palm trees, but the cost rises as the height of the tree goes up. Climbing up tall palm trees can be dangerous, and cutting away fronds requires precision and care.
Improper cuts can create wounds in the trunk that invite diseases and pests. Pruning too much or cutting from the crown of the tree can put stress on the tree and may even cause it to die off.
Prepping to Trim a Palm Tree
First, understand that pruning should be done with care because you can harm your palm tree if you are too aggressive. While tree maintenance promotes tree health, palm trees don’t need much pruning, so only undertake this project if absolutely necessary. Don’t just do it for appearance’s sake or you risk harming or even killing the tree.
With tools in hand, it’s time to inspect the tree. You’re only looking to trim the fronds (the leaves of the tree) and its flowers or fruit.
Finally, only do this project in the early spring if you can help it. Normally, you would prune most trees during the winter, but dead fronds or flowers on a palm tree will be more obvious in the spring. Not only that, but the dead fronds can actually provide some better protection to the palm tree from less favorable winter weather.
How to Trim a Palm Tree
It’s not necessarily easy to trim a palm tree, but it’s relatively straightforward with the right tools, equipment, and know-how. After that, it’s just a matter of hard work to get it done.
1. Clean the Tools
Cleaning your tools before and after each pruning session helps minimize the risk of spreading diseases from one plant to another. Use diluted bleach, alcohol, or a commercial disinfectant and a cloth to thoroughly clean and disinfect your tools before you start cutting away dead, dying, or infected fronds. Never mix any cleaners together.
2. Climb Up to the Fronds
There are a few different ways you can reach the fronds toward the top of the tree. For trees shorter than 15 feet, you can use a step ladder, a standard ladder, or an extension ladder. Make sure the ladder rests on steady ground, and ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to help you climb up and down and to steady the ladder while you are using it.
For taller trees, extended pole saws or cherry pickers can help you reach toward the top. While some professionals may use climbing gear like ropes and carabiners, this is best left to certified experts. Not only is climbing a palm tree dangerous for you, but wearing spiked cleats for stability can damage the palm tree.
3. Prune Flowers and Fruit
Some palm trees may flower or develop fruit, but these objects redirect nutrients from the main plant. You can use your hands to remove the flowers and use a serrated knife or pruning shears to cut away fruit and fruit stalks. Make sure to remove flowers and fruit stalks or fruit as soon as you notice them developing.
4. Remove Dead, Dying, or Diseased Fronds
Look for brown or broken fronds, but don’t trim away yellowing fronds, green fronds, or any fronds from the crown of the tree. You can use a serrated knife, pruning shears, or a saw to remove fronds, but be sure to leave a space of about 2 centimeters between the palm tree’s trunk and where you cut on the frond. If you cut the fronds too short, you can stress the tree or damage the trunk.
Once you’ve cut the fronds, you can pull gently on the petioles, or sharp brown blades, near the fronds. Only pull them out completely if they come out easily when you tug.
After you’ve cleared away the visible flowers, fruit, and dead fronds, you may notice more fruit stalks or previously hidden flowers. Go ahead and remove those by hand or with cleaned cutting tools.
5. Clean Up the Waste
Palm tree waste isn’t just an unsightly mess in the lawn; it may actually attract pests. Make sure to pick up the fronds, fruits, and flowers and dispose of them in an organic waste bin. Tuck away any pointy petioles and other sharp elements so they don’t hurt waste management service employees.
If you aren’t sure how to safely dispose of palm fronds, especially palm fronds or fruits with pests or diseases, you can contact your local waste management service for advice.
With the yard cleaned up, you can relax and enjoy the clean, neat appearance of your freshly trimmed palm trees.
Taking Care of Palm Trees
Aside from their beauty, palm trees have a major benefit—they are low-maintenance plants. You’ll need to prune and fertilize about once a year, and watering is only required when the soil around the tree goes dry. Other than that, these trees aren’t very fussy. Following these best practices will keep your palm trees looking great.
Prune as Needed
While you shouldn’t prune healthy fronds or prune too frequently, keeping up on pruning away dead or diseased leaves, fruits, and flowers can help lengthen the life of your palm tree. Palms may need to be pruned about once or twice per year at most.
Fertilize the Tree
Palm trees are vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies, but palm-specific fertilizers rich in potassium, nitrogen, and magnesium can help give them the boost they need. You can apply fertilizer about once per year, especially if you notice yellowing fronds or stunted growth.
Water Dry Soil
For healthy palm trees, plant them in well-draining soil. While you’ll need to water newly planted palm trees about once a day for the first week, further watering is only on an as-needed basis. Instead of setting the sprinklers or planning to water on a certain day of the week, you’ll need to get your hands dirty. Check the soil around the palm tree, about 2 inches deep, and only water the area if this soil is dry.
DIY Palm Tree Trimming vs. Hiring a Pro
Photo: Aleksej / Adobe Stock
If you can easily access the fronds by climbing a stepladder, then you can most likely do this job yourself. It’s pretty easy to identify dead fronds and flowers that need pruning, and you only need simple tools to do it. Trimming palm trees yourself can cost little to nothing if you already have tools like ladders or pruning shears, but the cost can reach up to $1,100 to buy the equipment if you don’t already have it.
Tall palm trees are a different story. Palm trees can grow up to 70 feet high, and a fall from those heights would cause serious injury or death, so it’s very dangerous for an amateur to try to climb the tree. Contact an arborist near you instead for a consultation and a quote. You can also ask them if pruning can help prevent palm tree diseases in your area.
Even if you hire an arborist to trim your palm trees, you might save up to $100 by cleaning up the trimmed fronds yourself. The arborist may also offer you a better deal per tree if you need multiple trees trimmed at once.
Frequently Asked Questions
Only trim palm trees as needed, which is usually about once per year. However, don’t stick to that schedule if the palm tree doesn’t need it. Avoid trimming palm trees when possible.
It’s best to trim palm trees only when you notice a buildup of dead fronds. That said, leave the brown fronds during the dormant season because this organic matter helps protect the tree from the cooler weather.
A serrated knife will work for cutting off small palm tree fronds, about 1 inch in diameter. For larger fronds, you will need pruning shears. You may also use a pruning saw, and if your palm tree is especially tall, an extended pole saw can help you reach the brown fronds around the trunk.
Yes, you can prune a palm tree with a chainsaw, but a chainsaw is overkill for a job like this. You risk damaging the tree if you make a bad cut. More commonly, you’ll need pruning shears or a serrated knife to trim a palm tree, or you can use a specialized pruning saw instead of a chainsaw.
By looking at the color, you can tell if palm tree fronds are healthy. A healthy frond has a deep green hue. However, yellow fronds or yellow spots indicate your palm tree may have a nutrient deficiency. Brown means the fronds have died and should be trimmed off the tree.
Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.
Learn more about our contributor
Paige Bennett is a professional editor and writer with experience covering design, DIY projects, food, health, and travel, and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University.
Hedge Trimming 101: How to Trim Your Hedges (and Upkeep Them Too)
By Kaitlyn Pacheco • June 24, 2022
6 Benefits of Pruning and Caring for Your Trees
By C.E. Larusso • December 14, 2022
Everything to Know About Hiring an Arborist
By Paige Bennett • March 7, 2022
Hotel Hotel Geraniotis Beach 4 o. Crete-Chania Greece: reviews, descriptions, photos, booking
Usually in the room
Air conditioning, room service, terrace, hair dryer, TV, refrigerator, telephone, shower
Eating at the hotel
Select tour to Geraniotis Beach Hotel
departing from Moscow
About Geraniotis Beach Hotel
1st beach line
29 km to airport0003
All hotel services
Beach Hotel is more than one hundred thousand square meters of well-groomed green
territories, snow-white buildings, surrounded by wooden parapets of terraces, affectionate
the waves of the Cretan Sea, whispering ancient tales to the golden sands of a wide
beach, and, of course, traditional Greek hospitality and friendliness.
The hotel is located
twenty minutes drive from Chania and only a few minutes walk from
well-maintained beach in the resort village of Platanias. Buildings are plowed open
tourists the doors of large bright rooms, inviting to plunge into the atmosphere of relaxation
and fun. Light from open balcony doors and windows, decorated with wooden shutters,
handfuls of playful sunbeams scatter on the dark wood of furniture and ivory
the bones of the walls bounce off mirrors and picture frames, creating a festive
mood and giving a feeling of home comfort.
Each room has air conditioning, a refrigerator and a telephone. In the apartments
there is also a well-equipped kitchenette with a stove, working
surface, extractor hood, microwave oven, dishes and small appliances.
The spacious bathroom has a shower or bath and a hairdryer. On
balcony – a table and a couple of comfortable chairs. From here you have a splendid view of
sea, neatly trimmed lawns, colorful flower beds and impressive
swimming pool with crystal clear water shimmering in the bright sun. Divided
in two by a small wooden bridge and a kind of island, over which
a sprawling palm tree rises, it beckons with coolness and freshness, and on a wide
striped blue-and-white sun loungers peek out from under umbrellas on the lawn around.
among flower tubs and carved dwarf palm trees, invite you to indulge in a noble
cozy wicker sofas with bright pillows, on which vacationers enjoy
breeze woven from sea breath, cool cocktails and aroma
on the territory of the hotel there was a place for one large pool and three children’s pools, and a little
aside from them there is a large playground, a mini club and a bar,
offering a wide selection of refreshing drinks and ice cream. The hotel is also open
a cafe serving fresh pastries, coffee and fragrant tea in an invigorating haze. More
thoroughly refresh yourself with dishes of Greek and Mediterranean cuisines
offered at the main restaurant Geraniotis Beach.
gourmets who want to diversify the menu by discovering the taste of traditional Cretan
dishes are warmly welcomed by numerous cafes and restaurants of Platanias. Great
assortment of treats from meat and fish, as well as a beautiful view of the sea,
complemented by the tart spirit of pine needles hovering in the air, offers its visitors
Kyano Beach restaurant on Kosti Palama. This establishment is considered one of the best in
Platanias. Excellent espresso, yogurt and honey, as well as fresh salads
fruit treats Incontro Cafe on Dimokratias street. And celebrate a special event in
romantic atmosphere, admiring the village spread below and the vastness
sea, invites the restaurant Cosmos in the old part of Platanias.
If during the day
the life of the village boils on the beach, where all the variety of water activities is available
and active sports, then in the late afternoon she directs the feet of tourists to
a promenade that stretched out with a string of shops, discos and bars along the old
the national road from Chania to Kissamos.
Although the village
it is already hard to imagine without entertainment and vibrant nightlife, but from the hustle and bustle
you can hide here too – on the quiet winding streets of the Old Village, which
lead to the famous orange groves. The air here is saturated with sultry citrus
dope, and in front grow beautiful mountain landscapes.
For those tourists
who do not even think of spending their entire vacation in one place, Platanias
is an excellent starting point from where it is convenient to travel
to the main attractions of the island. Plenty of rentals
cars and well-established transport links between the village and neighboring
small towns allows you to discover the treasures of the Old Town of Chania, the wild
beauty of West Crete and amazing beaches, among which the largest
popular are Elafonisi, Falasarna and Balo
All hotel services
24-Hour Front Desk
Shops in the hotel
Geraniotis Beach Hotel on the map
Who will eat whom?
What dangers tourists are rarely warned about
How formally do you warn tourists about possible dangers in exotic and not so exotic countries? Even in the most crowded tourist areas, carefree vacationers can face serious threats.
The Pythons of Bali
In the famous science fiction film Jumanji, the heroes face deadly dangers that have incredibly entered our world from the jungles of Indonesia. It is unlikely that anyone would want to experience such adventures while on vacation. On the island of Bali in recent years, there have been several cases that are still remembered with a shudder by the witnesses of these events. In December 2013, a Hyatt security guard noticed a five-meter python in the thickets and imprudently decided to drive him away with a stick without outside help.
The result is sad – the python wrapped its powerful body around the body of a man and broke his cervical vertebrae. In the same year in Ubud, a wedding tour for a young English couple almost ended tragically. Before going to bed, the newlyweds decided to take an open shower in their villa. The naked girl was the first to stand under the jets of water, and her romantic companion decided to take a photo. The bride was saved by a camera flash – a huge python hung from the roof and was ready to close its jaws on the victim’s head. Fortunately, the groom managed to grab his girlfriend and drag her into the house a moment before contact. And in the resort village of Kuta in March 2014, a truck accidentally ran over a large snake early in the morning, inside which the police found the remains of a cat.
Children don’t go to Africa
If your tourists are going on an African safari with the whole family, advise them to leave their children at home. Most of the hotels and loggias of natural parks in South Africa do not accept families with young children after the sensational tragedy that occurred in 2009 with vacationers from South Korea. During a game drive on a morning safari, a jeep with tourists stopped, the driver-guide decided to show them fresh animal tracks. While the adults were distracted by the photo shoot, the child got out of the car. The lion turned out to be close, it was not possible to save the baby. African rangers are well aware of the habits of predators and always warn tourists that children are the weak link and the easiest prey.
By the way, not only lions, but also wild baboons are dangerous in Africa. These large monkeys, in search of provisions, often attack cars with tourists in packs during stops in deserted places.
Predators of the Black Sea
Although it is believed that the Black Sea is the safest of all the warm seas, precautions while swimming will not be superfluous. Most often, tourists complain about jellyfish. The largest and most poisonous is the Cornerot jellyfish. It is easily recognizable by its fleshy, bell-like, colored dome and the heavy beard of the oral lobes underneath. These creatures feed on small fish, swallowing them whole under the dome, where they are digested for a long time.
Even 10 years ago, these predators could only be found on the high seas while fishing from a boat or boat trip. Now more and more dangerous jellyfish are seen near city beaches. Their burns are not fatal, but very painful. Advise tourists to wear goggles when swimming.
Killer Nuts of South India
Probably everyone remembers the death of a Russian tourist stung by a stingray on a beach in Goa. This is far from the only danger you need to warn your customers about. On the Arabian coast, coconut palms grow up to 20 m, and the fruits can weigh about 10 kg.
After a series of accidents (serious brain injuries) with tourists in the late 1990s, hotel staff are required to tie the trunks of these trees with special protective nets that “catch” falling nuts. However, it’s better to be careful. The sound of a broken coconut on the side of the pool is reminiscent of a cannon shot.
Cuban “Palm Thief”
A white person’s body, weakened by a two-week “all inclusive”, can be attacked even in the paradise islands of the Caribbean. Danger lurks at the door of a native bungalow in a five-star hotel.