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The Palm Source®

Planting Guide


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Hole Preparation and Planting

Dig the hole for your palm tree at least 4-6 inches larger than the container width.  Put 2-4 inches of sand at the bottom of the hole and backfill around the root ball with 50/50 mix of sand and original soil.  Be sure to blend bone meal or triple super phosphate (0-45-0) into this soil mix to assure adequate root growth, and  firmly tamp down soil around the root ball to eliminate any air pockets.  With remaining soil (clay), build a 2-3 inch berm, that has a diameter of about 3 to 4 feet, around the tree.  This retention area should be capable of holding 3 to 5 inches of water; this will allow  water to drain down through the root ball.  Be sure to fill this well with 2 to 3 inches of mulch to keep the palm’s roots cool and moist and help reduce water loss in summer.  If you are using rock or gravel as a groundcover it may be placed over the mulch. Anything but leaving bare soil!

If you are planting your palm in a lawn area, make a 1 to 2 inch depression in the soil, approximately 24 to 30 inches in width around the tree.  In this way, a retention basin is created into which the lawn sprinkler water will collect.  Even though this basin is much shallower than one created by a berm, the frequent lawn irrigation will supply adequate water.  Tropical palms planted in lawn areas tend to adapt faster due to the frequent watering and increased humidity in the immediate area.

 Under no circumstances should you plant palms

 in areas with poor drainage!  

As a rule of thumb, if water stands in a hole or tree well for more than 15 to 20 minutes, drainage is inadequate for palm tree health.  Consideration should be given to another location.  If already planted, the palm should be removed and the hole enlarged. To remedy the problem, backfill with enough sand before planting and avoid over watering.

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                    Last modified: September 13, 2006