How to Transplant Date Palm Trees

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The Date palm, scientifically known as Phoenix dactylifera, makes a good specimen-size palm. Date palms are slow growers, so growing one from seed can take a very long time to get a decent-sized palm in your yard. One method for achieving that "instant tree" look is to transplant a larger date palm into your yard from another source. Since palms are monocots, they require a significantly smaller root ball to transplant than other trees. Thus, it is fairly easy to transplant date palm trees.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat spade
  • Shovel
  • Loppers
  • Lifting equipment
  • Tarp
  • Large truck or trailer
  • Twine or rope
  • Mulch

Instructions

  • Verify that the tree is healthy enough for a transplant. Trees need to be in top health to survive transplanting, as it can be a very stressful procedure.

  • Begin the root pruning process. Tie the branches up to keep them out of the way. Mark the area on the ground where you will dig. You'll want to get as much of the root ball as possible. This will ensure a larger chance at survival.

  • Begin cutting a trench. Use a flat spade with the face turned away from the plant. The sharp edge will make a cleaner cut and make digging easier. If large roots are found, cut them with a loppers.

  • Continue digging the trench down to about 24 inches. This will ensure saving a fair amount of lateral roots.

  • Begin digging underneath the root ball. Gently start lifting the tree out as you get close to digging underneath entirely. You may need an external means of lifting the date palm tree if it's large.

  • Tarp up the root ball and move to new planting location. Dig a hole that is a little wider than the root ball, but no deeper.

  • Place the date palm tree into the hole and backfill around the root ball. Water thoroughly to remove any air pockets in the soil.

  • Water daily for the first few weeks to prevent the roots from drying. As the date palm tree continues to establish itself, you can lower the frequency of watering.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider adding a few inches of mulch to the top of the soil after planting. This mulch circle should be as large as the canopy of the palm. This will help the date palm tree in retaining moisture.
  • Transplant date palm trees in warm weather if possible. Warm weather allows for better re-establishment and increases survival rates.
  • Stake your palm tree for the first few months. With a small root ball, the date palm tree is susceptible to high wind damage.
  • Transplanting in cold or cooler weather significantly lowers survival rates. Palms don't grow well in cold weather, so they may go into decline rather than recover if transplanted then.

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