While palm trees might appear majestic, even they are susceptible to ailments, various types of nutritional issues, and other conditions that eventually lead to their death. That means if you have a palm tree at home, you need to take special care of it to ensure that it is well and thriving.
But how do you know if a palm tree is dead and what are the reasons they die? Will your tree grow back up once you chop it down? In the following few sections, we will address these questions and more. So, whether you already have a palm tree or are planning to get one, here are some things you need to know.
How Can You Tell if a Palm Tree is Dead?
As with everything else, several tell-tale signs directly indicate that a palm tree is dead. Even though it may seem difficult at the outset, once you check these signs you can soon tell if the palm tree is alive or not. Common signs include:
1. Discoloration of the leaves
If you find discoloration along with the leaves of the palm tree or if the leaves wilt, you might want to immediately check the soil to ensure that it is still rich with necessary ingredients.
When you check the soil, you should also measure moisture levels and sprinkle some water if the soil is excessively dry. While applying fertilizer make sure you add a balanced amount so that the soil isn’t drained of nutrients at any point. Even though you might be tempted to weed out fronds that have visible signs of discoloration, we advise against it because this might cause the leaves to have delayed growth.
2. Lack of nutrients
Palm trees are most commonly devoid of the following essential nutrients:
Even though you can visually assess the soil and check if these nutrients are lacking, we would suggest getting a professional investigation for a thorough analysis of the ingredients that the soil needs.
3. Look out for pests
Very often, palm trees might also fall prey to a bunch of insects especially the ones who suck. These include bugs, mites, and caterpillars among others. To avoid the infestation of these bugs, regularly examine the tree.
You can either try for audio or any form of visual inspection for further scrutiny on the potential pests that might affect your palm tree. If you find holes in the palm tree, it’s probably because of pests, so be wary of pesky suckers who might invade your tree if you somehow overlook it.
In addition to these signs, you should also check the center of the tree and make sure it isn’t brown. While examining the fronds, take a look at the younger ones as well to ensure that they aren’t experiencing discoloration or any form of wilting.
In case a certain palm isn’t getting ample light or is being overwatered, it will immediately have visible issues in the fronds. You will find the fronds yellowing and eventually browning before they wilt away.
If you are looking for the right fertilizer for your tree, try to go for a product that has the right blend of essential nutrients. Additionally, check your soil from time to time, to make sure it has a balanced pH level.
Once you look out for these signs once in a while you can as well save your palm tree from dying.
Reasons Why Palm Trees Die
Palm trees can die due to several reasons. It can happen because of excessive or too little fertilizer in the soil, lack of proper nutrients, excessive moisture in the soil, dry soil, unbalanced soil pH level, overall temperature, sunlight, and or high/low humidity.
Other reasons include pests and a bunch of diseases that might cause your tree to develop holes along the trunks. This eventually leads to discoloration and the drooping of palm fronds. While growing palm trees, indoor or outdoor, make sure they receive ample sunlight and have enough space to spread along with their roots.
In case you are planting indoor palms, make sure the soil is moist and well-draining to prevent unnecessary fertilizer and another external agent buildup within the soil. If you want your palm trees to thrive for the longest time, try to use filtered water in their soil.
Because palm trees can die for various reasons, it is crucial to take care of them regardless of whether you’re keeping them indoors or outdoors. Water the tree regularly and check the pH balance in the soil. Make sure it gets ample sunlight and choose an appropriate fertilizer that will nourish it to the core.
Will a Palm Tree Grow Back After You Cut it Down?
In case you are planning to get rid of your palm tree right from the trunk, it will probably NOT thrive or grow again. This typically happens because cutting the trunk cuts the crownshaft of the single-trunk palms which automatically kills them.
The same, however, doesn’t apply to multi-stemmed or clustering palms. These trees will grow and thrive even when you permanently get rid of the trunk. They will grow back a new set of stems right from the roots, removing the old one.
Trunk wounds in a palm tree
Most palm trees lack cambium. For the uninitiated, this is a thick tissue layer right behind the bark of a tree which is responsible for a tree’s many visible growth rings on the bark. If you inflict a wound to the tree’s trunk, it wouldn’t manage to automatically heal, which means the wounds on the trunk of the tree will be permanent.
Over time, they will dry out and gain brittle characteristics, unless you live in a region that receives plenty of rainfall or has high humidity, both of which can prevent the drying of wounds.
Unless these wounds are checked, they can develop fungus and insects can easily enter the tree through them. Over time, this leads to damage in the particular unit of the plant.
Will Roundup Kill a Palm Tree?
Roundup can kill palm trees if it touches the cambium of the tree which is the inner tissue of the tree’s bark. If you purposely want to kill a palm tree, you will want to apply roundup directly on the cambium by getting small holes along the palm tree’s bark.
If you apply the product just to the bark of the palm tree, it will unfortunately survive. Roundup needs to reach the cambium for the palm tree to die.
What is the Life expectancy of an Average Palm Tree?
Palm trees have an overall life expectancy ranging from 70 to 80 years. However, this varies depending on the species of palm in your home garden or interiors. Certain varieties of palm trees also live up to 10 decades which is impressive, to say the least.
Alternatively, you will find some variants of indoor palm that only come with a life expectancy of three or four decades. While life expectancy is certainly a factor to consider, your palm tree will naturally live longer if you care for it and maintain the tree.
How to Revive a Dying Palm Tree?
If your palm tree is dying, you might want to follow the below guidelines:
1. Remove it from the current location
The first thing to do would be to get the tree out of the current location. Whether it is potted or not, get the soil out and replace it with a new mix. Avoid tampering with the roots too much as you do this. Next, add plenty of new mulch right at the bottom of the palm. This will enable the roots to thrive and rejuvenate.
2. Organic fertilizer
Organic or diluted nitrogen-based fertilizers can work wonders in recovering your palm tree. You might want to try fish emulsion fertilizers with a mix of seaweed solutions for best results.
3. Ample shade
If you are planning to recover a potted palm, make sure it receives ample indirect sunlight throughout the day.
Should You Cut Off Brown Palm Leaves?
You should certainly get rid of the brown, old leaves from the tree because it will help it thrive and add new leaves to it. Over time, the palm will open up soaking in the sun along leaves, stems, and roots. Because old leaves are damaged, they won’t grow back and can be safely removed.
However, if the browning was caused by frost, it is ideal to keep the leaves until the season ends. Depending on the species of palm, they may be frost sensitive, so when you keep the old leaves, the new ones are duly protected. You can get rid of the old leaves once the cold season is over.
How Long Will a Dead Palm Tree Stand?
Even though this depends on the variant of the palm tree, the majority of these trees can stand for a couple of months and even a full 12-months before they fall over.
Will a Dead Palm Tree Fall Over?
Palm trees can be dead but falling will take a while because the tree will only fall when the cambium within the bark is fully decayed. This can take months to a full year depending on the palm species.