Saturday, April 28, 2012

Best Time to Prune Las Vegas Palms

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yellowing and browning of fronds
due to cold winter temperatures
Best Time to Prune Las Vegas Palms

Cold temperatures of winter often produce yellowing or browning of palm fronds of several different palm species growing in the Las Vegas Valley.  With the warmer temperatures of spring the tendency is to remove the damaged unsightly fronds as soon as possible.  For the homeowner that may only have a few trees, which they prune or have their gardener prune, timing is not generally an issue.  However, for the commercial property or HOA that may have a considerable number of palms, which are typically pruned by professional tree companies, resisting that initial urge to prune early could save money and provide more attractive palms during the course of the summer. 

Early spring pruning may remove unsightly fronds; however, the fruiting structures called inflorescence, garlands, or flower stalks may not have begun to grow or elongated sufficiently thus they are not removed with the fronds.  With increasing temperatures of spring and summer the flower stalks will grow at a very rapid rate emerging from the tree’s crown, along with new fronds.  Flower stalks of Mexican Fan Palms may reach lengths of 10-15 feet and will produce thousands of creamy-white flowers with a hint of pink and eventually small ½ inch berries or drupes that will fall to the ground becoming a nuisance in landscape and hardscape areas. 

Pruning palms late spring or early summer, just
prior to maturation of fruit, will allow for removal
of unsightly fronds, flower stalks, and fruit; 
therefore, only one pruning operation will be 
required for the season.

The above two Mexican Fan Palms were originally pruned 
in April prior to development of the inflorescence (flower
stalks).  By late June early July the inflorescence have 
fully developed producing an unsightly crown.  To improve
the appearance of the trees a second pruning will be 

The Phoenix dactylifera in the above photo
were pruned late June.  Both unsightly and/or
damaged fronds were removed as well as the
inflorescence and fruit.  Only one pruning is
required for the season.