How to Trim Pygmy Date Palms


The pygmy date palm, a miniature of the date palm cultivated for fruit, grows to a height of about 10 feet. Grown indoors or out, it requires little pruning, according to the University of Florida. Some careful trimming is permitted, however, if you want to keep your palm looking neat and tidy. But care must be taken not to prune too high up or too close to the trunk since taking either of these actions on a pygmy date palm may result in disease, damage, trunk constriction or water uptake problems. Never remove green fronds from the palm, the University of Nevada advises.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or a small pruning saw
  • Bleach
  • Sterilize the pruning shears or pruning saw by soaking the tool in a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent bleach before you begin pruning. This will prevent the possible spread of disease through equipment.

  • Cut off brown, yellow or broken palm fronds in June or July. Use a sharp cutting instrument to make clean cuts.

  • Pull off any loose petioles or boots (the slender stem portion of the palm frond attached to the trunk) from the palm plant. If they do not come off easily, leave them on. Once they are fully dried they will be easy to remove.

Tips & Warnings

  • The pygmy date palm has inconspicuous fruit that creates no real litter problem, according to the University of Florida. It does not need to be trimmed off.
  • Do not cut off any branches that are growing horizontally or pointed upward.
  • Never remove more branches in one year than have been produced within that year.
  • Over-pruned palms are vulnerable to injury and disease, according to the University of Arizona.

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