Palm Tree Trimming Methods And Pruning Tools

In this article, I’ll be discussing palm tree trimming and everything you need to know about it, so don’t go anywhere!

When you think of palm trees, you’ll probably imagine the beautiful waters beside it, the cool breeze, and of course the warm sand.

These beautiful tropical trees make any landscape look good, but they would look better if they are well taken care of.

How To Trim A Palm Tree

Palm trees have existed for as long as trees have been growing, so you may wonder the need for pruning it. After all, they’ve managed all by themselves since their existence.

While this may be true, palm trees can look better and be more productive if extra-human care is shown to them.

Follow these steps to prune a palm tree. Here is another guide to removing a palm tree stump completely.

First Step: Inspect The Tree

The first thing you need to do before pruning any tree is to inspect it and see which areas need to be trimmed. The major parts you should look out for are the old or dead palm tree leave (also called finds).

Dead or old fonds should be the main priority when pruning a palm tree. Old or dead fonds are usually yellowish and would most likely have pests living beneath it. These features make the unproductive branches easy to detect, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding them.

You should also scout the stems for flowers and/or fruit. These can hinder the growth of the tree since they provide an abundance of meals and comfy home for unwanted pests.

Second Step: Plan The Trim

Now that you’ve figured out which fonds you want to take off, it is time to plan how you’ll trim it. Remember, you are only pruning for the sake of removing old/dead fonds, fruits, and other hazardous limbs.

If you trim more than the above mentioned, then you will leave your tree looking thin, and that isn’t ideal if you want palm tree to remain in good health. This is because the palm tree needs a thick canopy of healthy fonds. This will allow them to grow better and fight off pests.

Third Step: Start Trimming

The size of your palm tree will determine the kind of tools you will need for the prune. Generally, a good pair of pruning shears and a saw are ideal to tackle most palm tree trimming tasks.

If the palm tree is very tall, then you may want to call on a certified arborist to tackle the job. Not to say that you can’t do it yourself, but climbing a ladder with sharp cutting objects may be dangerous for a relatively inexperienced person.

This is what you need to do.

If you’re pruning a smaller sized palm tree, then carefully trim the dead or old fonds, flowers and fruit. Leave at least 2 inches of green on the tree.

When you’re trimming downwards, carefully remove any loose blades from the tree (these blades are also known as petioles). If you find any petiole that is hard to pull off, then you should leave them there. Just take off as many loose blades as you can.

Fourth Step: Clear Out The Trash

Now that you’re done trimming the palm tree, you need to gather up all dead branches and fruits you trimmed away.

Leaving them there would make the site very unpleasant. It will also mean any pests that were removed along with dead branches will remain close to the tree, and you don’t want that.

How Frequently Are Palm Trees Trimmed?

When planted in the right environment, palm trees pretty much take care of themselves. They just need a little prune now and then to maintain their good looks and remain healthy.

Palm trees should be trimmed once or twice each year, and when there are old or dead branches hanging from it. New fonds grow every year to replace the old ones, so do not over-trim the tree.

Dangers of Not Trimming Palm Tree

If old or dead palm fonds are not trimmed, then they would be a hazard to the environment, as they can fall off anytime and injure a person below it.

Old or dead fonds also harbor pests, which if left unpruned, will affect the whole tree and the other surrounding trees.

On a lighter note, old and dead palm fonds are very unattractive, so they wouldn’t do justice to the landscape you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

What You Need For Palm Tree Pruning

There are a few things you will need to trim your palm tree. I will list them out below.


The pruning tools have to be sterilized to prevent the spread of germs on the tree. Wipe your cutting tools with a clean rag dipped in an alcohol-based sterilizer.

If you’re sterilizing a chainsaw, first remove the chain and bar then soak both of them in the sterilizer. The solution should be made up of one part bleach and three parts water. Mix it in a clean bucket.

The tools should be left in the solution for about 3 to 6 minutes, then you are sure that they have been properly sterilized. After that, rinse the tools with clean water and leave them to dry before you begin cutting.

When you are done with the tools on one palm tree, you have to sterilize them again before use on another palm tree. This is to stop the spread of diseases like fusarium wilt, which are easily transferred via dirty pruning tools.


A knife can be used to cut off flower stalks and smaller fonds. The knife to use should have a serrated edge, as it acts like a mini saw which can be used on fonds no more than 1 inch thick.


You can use a hand saw or pruning saw to trim larger fonds. You can also use a chainsaw for this, although you need to be careful to avoid cutting the trunk itself.

You need to also make sure the blades on your saw are well sharpened, as it will give you a nice, clean-cut. If the edges are blunt, it will give you jagged cuts that aren’t good for the tree. Jagged cuts will also leave the tree susceptible to infections and will attract pests.

Climbing Gear

Palm trees can grow to heights of about 70 feet, so if you’re planning on trimming such a tall tree like that, then you would need the right climbing gear.

You can use an extendable ladder for palm trees that are about 15 feet in height. You can also rent a bucket lift if need be.

A harness and climbing cables will also come in handy. They can help prevent accidental falls. Make sure all the straps are tightly fastened so there would be no slip-ups.

Be warned though, climbing up tall trees while handling sharp cutting tools is risky business, so you might want to hire the more experienced pros to trim very tall palm trees.

Cost Implications

Palm trimming costs vary from one tree care company to the other. The price you will pay is also determined by several factors.

READ: Palm Tree Prices

Protecting Yourself During Palm Tree Trimming

When you trim, you should remember to stay safe at all times.

You will need a few things to do so. These include –

Safety harness: Used when you climb up tall palm trees. They can help you prevent falls.

Gloves: To protect your fingers from being pricked by the palm tree blades.

Goggles: To protect your eyes from being struck by flying chips of palm tree wood


I hope this palm tree trimming article has been helpful.

Take care!

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