Pruning is one of the most misunderstood aspects of palm culture. Correctly pruning any plant or tree can benefit the growth and health of the plant. Maintainedcorrectly, palms are low maintenance trees. For some reason, some people believe that they can indiscriminately hack at palms, including the periodic removal of most or nearly all of the fronds (leaves), several times each year, and not harm the tree. Palms are not an exception to good pruning rules. Poor pruning techniques will harm any plants or trees, including palms. There is a misconception that the more a palm is pruned, the faster it will grow. This is not true. Many palm specialists discourage over-pruning except when transplanting certain species. Others simply recommend avoiding pruning as much as possible.
All green fronds produce the food needed to grow properly, producing a healthy palm. The reduction of the green leaf area reduces food production and in turn, the health and growth of the palm is placed in jeopardy. The more green leaves any plant has the more growth that will be produced. The only true plant food is that which the plant makes. What is purchased at stores is not plant, tree or palm food, even if the package says "plant food." It is fertilizer (nutrients), used by the plants with water and sunlight to make plant, tree or palm food. Under ideal growing conditions, it has been found that date palms (Phoenixdactylifera) can have between 120 to 180 fronds, each growing up to 15 feet long. Fronds are known to live from 5 to 8years. This includes leaf primordia in the but according to the article cited. (Ken Pfalzgraf2000). Many experts report Washingtoniapalms have an average of 30 green fronds. A correctly pruned palm should have an oval or circular silhouette.
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Robinson, M. L., 2004, Pruning Palm Trees, Extension, University of Nevada Reno, SP-04-16
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