Native to South America, the queen palm tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana) is used in decorative settings in the subtropical and tropical regions of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b through 11. This tree reaches a height of 50 feet and has a silvery trunk and large, overflowing, dark green foliage. The queen palm roots are relatively shallow and can often be visible above the ground's surface. If you have this tree in your backyard and wish to remove it completely because of space constraints or disease, you will need to destroy the root system.
Things You'll Need
Chainsaw or ax
Protective gear including safety glasses, safety harness, cleated boots and hardhat
Gas-powered tree spade and backhoe (optional)
Step 1: Consider Hiring a Professional
Consider using a professional tree service to cut the palm tree down to a safe height. Even minor assistance from a tree professional can help simplify the job and save you time and money. Do not attempt to cut down a queen palm if you have no experience or equipment for properly taking down large trees.
Step 2: Check Your Tools
Sharpen the chainsaw, saw, ax and/or loppers. Test all parts of your safety gear. Recruit a spotter if you're going to use a ladder while working on the tree. Clear the area under the tree; remove potted plants, lawn furniture, vehicles and other items that may be damaged as the tree comes down.
Step 3: Put on Safety Gear
Put on safety equipment. Make sure you have a properly fitting hat, boots and glasses. Attach your safety harness correctly. Remove the palm branches and top off the tree. Begin to cut the tree down, starting from the top, in two-foot sections.
Step 4: Wet the Soil
Wet the soil around the tree roots. A moist soil is easier to dig in when removing tree roots and other plant debris.
Step 5: Cut Up the Stump
Remove as much as the stump as possible. The queen palm trunk should be easy to cut through. Use a small ax to work your way down to as much root as possible. Discard to a wood pile or chipper for recycling.
Step 6: Dig Up the Root Ball
Dig around the root. If the root is still stubborn, you will have to dig down and around the root ball. Start off about a 2 feet away from the base of the tree until you find the end of the roots. You can also sever off the roots with the shovel and work your way down until the stump or base of the tree ends. Pry the root ball up by digging under and pushing up with the shovel.
Step 7: Pull Out the Roots
Pull the root out completely. If the root base is large, you may have to tie a rope around the midsection of the stump and try to pull the root ball out. If roots are stubborn, use trimmers or loppers to cut away at the roots. Pull out the entire stump and as many visible roots as possible. If the root base is too large to pull manually, you may have to rely on a gas-powered tree spade and backhoe for assistance.
Step 8: Fill the Hole
Cover the hole with remaining soil. Use the soil you used to dig around the tree. You may have to bring in fill-dirt or topsoil to fill the hole completely. Plant grass seed or plant another, shorter palm tree for privacy if desired.