If you have palm trees, you may be wondering about the proper way to prune them. Palms like our native cabbage palm automatically shed their dead leaves and don't require pruning. If you have palms that aren't self-cleaning, you may choose to prune them periodically. Just use a pole saw to remove any brown fronds. Leave the green fronds alone, since they're the energy factory for the tree.
If you hire a tree service, don't let them climb with tree spikes, since these cause permanent damage to the trunk. Many palms are unfortunately overpruned through a practice known as "hurricane cutting," which removes too many fronds and actually weakens trees in the event of a windstorm. Always remember that the point of pruning is to remove only dead growth.
- Palm Overpruning: What is with the Mohawk Cut on Palms? (PDF)
- Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs
- Pruning Palms (PDF)