Important Queen Palm Information
Queen Palms: Dos and Don’ts
Now is the time when many people trim palms. As you choose a good trimmer please remember several important issues with Queen Palms. Queen palms are sub-tropical trees that should not be trimmed the same way you trim a fan palm. Fan palms can be skinned all the way up to the heart, queen palms cannot. If you skin a queen palm you will stress the tree to the point where it may die. In fact, unless the dried boots are falling off themselves, the outside skin of the tree should not really be skinned at all. The boots add support, protection, and covering for the actual trunk to develop fully underneath. When you see a Queen palm with hourglass waves in the trunk you are seeing a tree that was improperly trimmed wherever you see the narrow places. The trunk never fully develops. The trees also hold their fullest landscape value with the boots on the tree.
Often climbers will use spikes for trimming fan palms. No problem. But, if you use spikes on a queen palm, it is a big problem. First, it looks terrible to have these permanent spike marks all the way up the tree. Second, the spikes invade the delicate trunk and can allow disease, birds, and insects to invade the trunk and work against the tree. Probably the worst thing that happens is the spread of heart rot fungus. Each spike hole is like an injection that infects the inside of the tree if the climbing spikes are contaminated. A good palm trimmer will always use a ladder to reach the top of these particular trees. If he does not use a ladder, you as the owner should insist on the ladder or decline the service.
Climbers use handsaws or chain saws to trim the queen palm fronds. Heart rot fungus is so contagious that the saw can infect one tree from the last just with what’s on the metal surface. It is critical to insure your trimmer disinfects his equipment before he begins your trees as well as between each tree. One sick tree can re-infect all the rest in spite of our best treatment efforts that do kill this fungus. One method that is widely used is a 5-gallon bucket of water with one or two cups of Clorox added. The saw blades, if dipped between trees, will usually not be able to contaminate the next tree.
Now is still a good time to feed and treat your Queen Palms. Proper nutrition will prepare them for maximum health and growth in the spring. Heart rot treatment will help kill this disease now when the trees are not likely to get re-infected due to wind, rain, and heat. Remember though that with this feeding time, you will invest in your tree’s future. This means you’ll likely see the results next February or March when the new growth pops out. Good feeding and preventative treatments will help insure a healthy queen palm through out the year.
Queen Palm trimming is an option for the appearance of the tree. Most people want to trim so their trees look nice. If you do, remember the three main points about trimming these special trees. Proper trimming today will mean healthy, living…and beautiful Queen Palms tomorrow.
Valley Tree Feeders (VTF) cares for thousands of Queen Palms each year on a regular program basis. They provide a full range of feeding and treatment services for all types of landscaping, to many fine homeowners throughout the Valley. Please call our office and speak to one of our qualified staff.
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