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Pruning of trees and palm trees in Alicante city and province

Pruning of trees and palm trees in Alicante city and province. Jardineria Ramal
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Most of us are surprised when observing a palm tree. Surely what gets our attention is its exotic appearance, its size, the shape of its leaves and the appearance of the trunk. In any case, we know the importance of maintenance and conservation o palm trees as an ecological and cultural interests.

Although in Spain palm trees are merely esthetic elements, in tropical areas they provide great benefits being the basis of human survival in many parts of the world.

We will give you advice to keep in mind if you have a palm tree in your garden;

  1. When do I prune my palm trees?
  2. How do I prune my palm trees?
  3. What do I do after pruning my palm trees?
  4. Materials used for pruning.

When do I prune my palm trees?

Washingtonia palm tree. Jardineria Ramal

Year after year we ask these questions on a number of occasions and we always answer the same. Before pruning a palm tree, you should know two important factors, like: 

  • Knowledge of the species of palm tree
  • The esthetic quality that a pruned palm tree can give your garden. The motive is always a personal question. A certain esthetic predominates in each place and varies according to the traditions, customs or trends, but to value its appearance you must keep in mind and respect its biology and ecology.

As a general rule palm trees need pruning once a year depending on the species and size. The preferred time of pruning is autumn or spring because it coincides with its vegetative period, this way we avoid pruning during the summer season whenever possible due to the elevated temperatures, and the winter season due to low temperatures. 

However, thanks to the characteristically warm clime of the Mediterranean region, pruning of palm trees can take place, in general, at any time of year. We should just keep in mind that there is a considerable number of species of palm trees that shouldn’t be pruned when the temperature starts to get higher than 21 to 23ºC. This is due to the big problem that exists with the red weevil. The red weevil is a pest that is killing many palm trees in the Mediterranean and the south of Spain. 

With the entrance of other pests in the country, like the paysandisia or the diocalandra, we shouldn’t eliminate green leaves because the provoked wounds give off a volatile substance that attracts pests as they are softer and easier to penetrate.
In colder climates, the dry leaves hug and cover the trunk of the palm tree, protecting it from cold and saline winds.

How do I prune a palm tree?

According to the species and size of the palm tree we use one technique or another. 

In general, we will cut the leaves that are on the bottom part of the tree top and that start to show yellow colors provoked by wilting or if they are completely dry.  

We will also eliminate the leaves that are broken or affected by pests, whether they are fungus or other insects, because they can transmit diseases to the rest of the palm tree or the garden. 

In addition, with pruning we avoid the risk of leaves falling from great heights.

The elimination of fruits is a fundamental labor because they also debilitate the growth and development of the palm tree due to the energy the palm tree uses in terms of water and nutrients. When they are ripe, an endless amount of dates and seeds fall to the ground, staining everything. 

What we should always avoid is pruning green or slightly yellow leaves since those leaves are helping the vegetative development of the palm tree, carrying out photosynthesis and giving nutrients to the new leaves. 

Pruned palm trees. Jardineria Ramal

We will give you some guidelines if you are an amateur;

  • Pruning of short palm trees; with small or short palm trees, we can prune them ourselves. We can even climb a small ladder carefully. (Safety above all else). 
    • You will cut the lower leaves, the yellow or dry leaves using pruning shears.
    • If you do the pruning yourself, you must cut the branch as close to the trunk as possible in order to provoke the smallest wound possible to the palm tree and the trunk will also be cleaner. 
    • We can also eliminate the clusters of fruit or the pods of flowers. For this we will use a curved saw attached to a pole or a stick since sticking your hand between the palm fronds is very dangerous. 
    • The clusters of fruit can be removed to improve the growth of the palm tree and to avoid them falling to the ground. What we shouldn’t eliminate are the green leaves as that affects the balance of the palm tree and makes it weaker, slows down its development and provokes a loss in its nutrient uptake.
  • Tall palm trees: In these cases, we won’t give as much advice since pruning these palm trees is a very dangerous job for anyone that is not familiar with working at great heights. At Ramal, we work with approved safety and health teams and we use professional safety techniques and materials. 
    • Before starting to work on a palm tree, we carry out a visual report to be certain of its state and of the jobs that we are going to do. 
    • On certain occasions, we detect that some trees have decay, cavities, pests or other problems so we evaluate with the client what actions to undertake.

Pruning process. Jardineria Ramal

What do I do after pruning a palm tree?

Once pruning is finished, the remains should be transported to an authorized landfill. The remains can attract dangerous pests for palm trees as well as the rest of the garden.
Afterwards, it is advisable to carry out a fumigation for the prevention of pests that can affect the palm tree due to the cuts on the trunk, leaves, … 

All of the tools used should be adequately cleaned using effective disinfectants like bleach. This way we avoid the transmission of possible fungus or viruses to the rest of the palm trees we work on.

Materials used for pruning palm trees.

The tools used for pruning the palm trees should be perfectly crafted and sharpened since the better it cuts, the less effort we use.

To achieve that it is necessary to sharpen them continuously since the organic silica of the palm tree and the friction cause the tool to get dull. 

Cutting pinnate leaves. 

Traditionally, a “corvellot” or a palm tree axe is used. In the south of the peninsula a “curved axe” or “marcola” is used.

Currently, due to the problem of eliminating or pruning green leaves caused by wilting, chainsaws are being introduced for cutting dry leaves to remake the ball of the tree.  

Cutting palm fronds

A saw is used to make a clean cut. Nowadays chainsaws are being introduced, especially for palm trees that have a lot of dry leaves to eliminate because it is more comfortable and faster. 
Elimination of fruits.

Depending on the species of palm tree, to eliminate the fruits we usually use a “palm hook” that consists of a small curved knife (similar to a hook) attached to a long wooden handle.


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