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