How To Transplant A Palm Tree(Detailed Guideline)

Last Modified

March 13, 2023 by Hirah Ehsan

One of the most frequently asked questions about palm trees is how to move them without killing them. In other words, you can say how can you transplant a palm tree.

Well, there is a number of things that you have to keep in mind when you decide to move a palm tree.

Do not worry I will tell you all that you need to know. But just to give you a vague idea of what you should do to keep the tree alive, focus on the roots, and don’t damage the roots.

Keep reading and you will know what you have to do. So let us just keep things clear and let’s get into it.

How can someone move or transplant a palm tree?

Whether you brought a new palm tree to add to your collection or you want to move the extra ones out. It is important that you do it properly. If you want to keep the tree alive.

We know that palm trees have outgrown to be added indoors but they can instantly add a tropical vibe to your yard.

Moreover, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind. How do you know that your palm tree needs transplanting?

Do not worry I will get to the part where the topic of how to transplant palm trees start. But first, let me tell you that when does a palm tree needs transplanting?

Signs that your palm tree needs Transplanting

Most palm trees don’t need transplanting for a year or so. But the need may arise when the tree starts overgrowing and can fit inside the container anymore, or it may need new soil.

Some other factors that you can look for are as follows:

  • Once you start seeing roots come to grow out of the drain hole of the pot. That is a sign that the tree has outgrown its current container.
  • One other thing that you have to look out for is that when you pour water, all the water starts gushing out of the pot. This means that the roots have consumed all the soil space.

If you witness any of the signs mentioned above it’s probably the best time to move the plant.

Now let’s get to the part and let me tell you what you have to do if you want to transplant a palm tree.

How deep and far should you dig around the tree?

In short, you have to dig out the tree without killing it or damaging its roots. Prepare the soil and the planting point in advance.

Palm trees don’t have woody roots like all broadleaf trees. They have small roots tightly packed together. So you have to be more careful when digging them out.

For trees having a height less than 15 ft, I would recommend at least 1-2 ft in total from their trunk. As you know that root balls are 3 dimensional so you need to keep in mind that you need to cut 1-2 feet down too.

But obviously, the radius of the root ball may vary from tree to tree. The next part is

Digging out a palm Tree

Now that you know how deep you have to go and how to keep the radius of the rootball in check.

So start by digging a trench around the palm tree. Keep in mind that no matter how careful you are some of the roots might get damaged in the process. Just dont try to avoid the damage as much as possible.

Once you feel the roots loosen up tilt the tree and keep on digging. Once done digging take it out of the soil. You might need a hand or two while doing so.

Why? Because a 20 ft tall palm tree can weigh up to 1000 lbs. Now you are at the point where you have the tree out of the soil. What else do you have to do?

Ok, So the next step is

Removing Leaves

We know that leaves consume water so to reduce water stress many nurseries recommend removing 0.5 to 0.66 percent of old palm leaves.

I have also witnessed some people removing all of the leaves. That totally depends on the type of palm tree.

Keep in mind if you are dealing with Sebal palm that is more likely to lose all of its roots during transplanting it is best that you remove all of the leaves.

Full leaf removal is preferred to insure survival. Once you have dealt with this process now you have to prepare for safe transportation.

How To Transport A Palm Tree

Before you decide to lift the palm tree using a crane make sure you tie all the fronds together so that you can prevent any damage that might be done to the palm tree

Keep in mind that, unlike broadleaf trees, a palm tree can not heal itself when the trunk is damaged. So try to avoid nailing anything directly into the trunk.

So when you have completed this process you have to check and prepare the site where you want to plant the tree.

Preparing the site

Once you have completed the steps mentioned above you already know what the diameter of the trunk is.

So dig a hole twice the diameter of the tree’s trunk. Since these types of trees need a lot of drainages so prepare the soil beforehand. Fill the hole with water and allow it to settle in for approximately an hour.

Fill the hole again to see how fast the water goes away. Also, you can add some sand to improve drainage.

Aside from adding just sand to the mix you can also add some stones in the mix or at the bottom of the planting hole.

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