Why is my Palm tree Turning Yellow? (Discussion)

Last Modified

March 13, 2023 by Hirah Ehsan

A palm tree is a favorite landscaping choice for both residential and commercial properties. However, there can be concerns if those lovely green fronds begin to fade suddenly. People start wondering why is my palm tree turning yellow.

As palm trees grow, some of the old leaves turn yellow and eventually fall off. Generally, they are found at the base of the tree. All is well as long as the majority of the palm remains green and the yellow eventually disappears.

However, if yellow leaves persist, it is usually a warning sign. A palm tree’s leaves may turn yellow if its soil does not contain essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, manganese, or magnesium. All of these nutrients contribute to the tree’s growth and health.

In addition, your palm tree leaves may be yellow due to a pest or fungus. An infestation may be difficult to eliminate depending on its cause.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why your palm trees are turning yellow and hopefully, we will be able to help you resolve the problem.

10 Reasons Why Palm Trees Turn Yellow

  1. Normal Frond Aging

A palm’s old leaves regularly shed, turning yellow, then brown before they fall off. There is no problem with this; it is just the way palm trees function. It is unnecessary to take any action if your palm only sheds a few leaves at a time.

  1. Overwatering

The palm trees in this instance are over water. The presence of too much rain or too much water in the soil can result in overwatering. Overwatering can cause your plants’ roots to become saturated and unable to absorb sufficient oxygen from the air.

  1. Underwatering

Too much drying of the soil can cause this problem. As a result, the roots are unable to absorb sufficient oxygen to support the growth of the plant. In this case, please contact your local garden center to determine whether it would be appropriate to move your plants to a larger container.

  1. Nutritional Deficiencies

In the case of palm leaves with browning all over, nutritional deficiencies may be at play. Nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium have a significant impact on palms.

Yellowing of the leaves of a palm tree occurs when one or more of these nutrients are deficient. Whenever your palm trees display yellow leaves as a result of nutritional deficiencies, they will need to be fertilized with nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium fertilizer.

  1. Humidity

A majestic palm grows on the banks of tropical rivers, so it requires a relatively humid environment to thrive. The leaves of your plant may require more moisture if they turn yellow with crisp brown tips.

Humidifiers and humidity trays can be helpful in this regard. Additionally, plants can be grouped so that by respiring together, they can raise the ambient humidity, which will be beneficial to all of them.

Your plants’ leaves can also be hydrated by misting. You can do it easily, and inexpensively, so many people swear by it!

  1. Improper Light

It depends on the Palm whether it requires indirect light or bright light. You can find bright indirect light next to an east-facing window or a few feet away from a southern or western window that is not obstructed.

Alternatively, if there’s a sheer curtain on the window or natural shade outside, you can put the plant closer to the southern or western window. A bright light environment is one in which your plant receives at least six or more hours of direct sunlight each day.

This type of light can be found in southern or western windows that are not obstructed. Dark areas result in slow growth, yellowing leaves, and root problems because there is insufficient light for photosynthesis.

Plants concentrate their energy and resources on the new, youngest fronds, leaving the older, lower leaves to turn yellow rather than stop growing. 

  1. Fungus

Often, fungal infections are responsible for palm leaves turning brown. The older leaves can turn brown if the tree is infected with fusarium wilt or Rhizoctonia.

Holes or dark spots may appear in cylinderocladium leaf spots. Brown spots on palms with yellow edges are caused by Neoscytalidium leaf spots.

  1. Bacterial Infections

There are two ways in which bacteria cause the browning or yellowing of palm fronds: directly or via secondary invasion after another condition weakens it. Palm trees are susceptible to bacterial infection under the following conditions:

The presence of excessive soil moisture or drought can cause a tree to become susceptible to bacteria. The bacteria enter the frond through wounds or cuts and spread rapidly, causing the health of the plant to rapidly decline.

When the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a bacterial cold injury occurs, causing lesions at the growing tips of the fronds.

Through these lessons, bacteria enter the tree tissue and spread throughout it, causing the plant to die. Fungal infections also create lesions on the fronds that provide entry for bacteria.

  1. Pests

A weak or stressed palm is more likely to be attacked by insects. A sap-sucking insect like a spider mite may rob the palm of moisture. A yellowing of leaflets and fronds is the first symptom of this problem.

Several types of insects often inhabit indoor environments, including scales, mealybugs, and spider mites. If not eradicated early, these small pests multiply and move along the fronds.

Because of their piercing mouths, the insects drain the palm and accelerate yellowing. This is particularly if the palm is already under conditions of poor lighting, nutrient deficiency, and excessive soil moisture.

  1. Too much fertilizer

Having too much nitrogen in the soil will cause old leaves to yellow and fall off. New leaves that are yellowing suggest that excess nitrogen is a serious problem. Overfeeding with nitrogen can make a palm’s leaves prematurely yellow and fall off.

Sometimes, the problem affects only the older fronds, but if the problem persists, it may also affect the younger leaves, which may turn yellow and fall off.

As the problem progresses, yellow or brown spots are likely to develop on the trunk of the palm. Nitrogen overfeeding can result in palms becoming dark green in color and growing rapidly.

The cause of overfeeding is usually excessive nitrogen content in general-purpose fertilizer or lawn fertilizer. Avoid using lawn fertilizer on your palm; it contains a considerable amount of nitrogen.

What to do if your palm tree’s leaves are yellow

By now, you must be familiar with the causes of palm tree yellowing. Now let’s take a look at the solution to this problem.

Perform a soil test to determine if any essential nutrients are lacking. Following the results of the soil test, use a slow-release fertilizer to replenish the plant’s soil with the nutrients it is lacking.

If necessary, your tree expert can suggest one that contains the right balance of nutrients to fill the holes in your tree’s soil. Remember, a nutrient-rich fertilizer may be required for a majesty or queen palm.

Continue to fertilize your palm regularly moving forward. Fertilize your lawn three to four times each year.

Check the soil of the tree for signs of pests or fungi if it is in good condition. The presence of drooping, withering leaves coupled with root decay may indicate the presence of Ganoderma root fungus.

In contrast, if you observe webs or a sticky film on palm fronds, you should assume that a pest is present.


A palm tree can be cared for indoors without much difficulty. When cared for properly and with some knowledge, your Palm can thrive indoors for a long period. Do not panic if you notice that your Palm leaves are turning yellow.

A yellow Palm tree can be caused by several factors. Identifying the underlying cause is essential for determining the best course of action.

Palm trees are generally regarded as beautiful and low-maintenance landscape plants provided they are properly maintained and cared for.

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