Queen Palm Maintenance

If you're looking for a palm tree that will add elegance to your landscape, perhaps a queen palm is the right tree for you. These palms, which are native to South America, are one of the most popular palms used in Florida landscapes. They can reach a height of 50 feet and a width of 20 feet, growing up to six feet a year. Queen palms grow best in zones 9 through 11, not tolerating temperatures below 25 degrees. Growing and maintaining a queen palm isn't that difficult as long as you give the palm the nutrients and elements it requires.

  1. Growth Requirements

    • Queen palms do best planted in full sun. They prefer and will grow best in soils that are sandy, clay, loam or acidic. Though they can tolerate some periods of wetness, they prefer to be planted in an area that will drain well. Planting a queen palm in soils that are mainly alkaline will cause the tree to yellow. If this is the case, the soil requirements need to be corrected by adding manganese.

    Water Requirements

    • Once established, Queen Palms have some tolerance to drought but prefer to be watered regularly for optimum growth. A newly planted tree will require daily watering for the first week. Then water the palm approximately three times a week, especially during the summer months. During the winter, you can cut back to watering the queen palm twice a week. Even after the palm has established itself, it's best to water it regularly.

    Fertilization Requirements

    • Queen palms do best when fertilized on a regular schedule with a palm fertilizer that contains all the nutrients it requires. Choose a palm fertilizer that includes manganese, magnesium, nitrogen, iron, potassium and copper. Even after you've applied a palm fertilizer, you should apply an extra dose of manganese to the growing area. Queen palms feed heavy on manganese and a deficiency in this mineral will cause the leaves to begin to turn yellow and then brown. Fertilize three times a year, being sure to not place the fertilizer against the trunk of the palm.

    Pruning Requirements

    • When the orange fruit of the queen palm appears, they can be messy. You can cut these seed brackets off before they ripen and drop on the ground. Don't prune your queen palm to extremes or the growth of the palm can decline. It's best to cut off the fronds only after they've turned brown and are dead. Be sure to keep grass away from the trunk as the tree can become damaged by edgers and lawn mowers. The trunk is susceptible to decaying, so you want to prevent as much injury to it as possible.

    Diseases

    • The most common problems found in queen palms are scale and skeletonizer. Both of these conditions can be taken care of by applying an insecticide to the affected areas of the tree. Ganoderma butt rot is the most serious condition that can affect queen palms. When the trunk becomes damaged, this disease enters through the wound and slowly kills the palm. There is no cure for this disease, only prevention by not damaging the trunk.

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