How to Transplant Queen Palm Trees

Transplanting a queen palm tree is usually easy and successful if you understand the palm's root system and take care tending it for the first few months after transplant.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Burlap
  • Measuring tape
  • Rope
  • Wood stakes the length of palm
  • Palm fertilizer

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Steps for Digging and Planting

Spring and early summer are the best times to transplant a queen palm. The soil should be warm, above 65-degrees Fahrenheit. New root growth is more rapid in warm soil, according to the University of Florida.

Prepare the new location, as the palm needs to be replanted as soon as possible after digging it up. If you cannot transplant right away, the root ball needs to be kept moist. Choose a site with good drainage; palms do not do well in standing water. If the soil is clay hardpan, drill to improve drainage.
The new hole should be twice the diameter of the root ball and not any deeper than the original hole, according to the University of Florida. Adding a soil amendment, or backfill, is not recommended for transplanting queen palms.

A shovel can be used to dig up most queen palm trees, because they have root balls small enough to permit this. Palm tree roots cling together in a well-established ball, with roots shooting out from there. You should keep these shooter roots as long as possible; the farther away from the trunk you cut them, the healthier the transplant will be.
Wet the soil around the root ball thoroughly before digging. This will help the root ball hold together. Dig a 1-foot radius around the ball to keep the roots long, according to Kendall Palm Nursery in Fallbrook, California. If it appears that all the soil is falling out of the root ball, wrap it in a burlap bag before transporting.

If you are transporting the palm a distance, tie the fronds together to prevent them from whipping around in the wind. If the palm has a thin trunk, use wood stakes to support it. The entire length of the palm should be supported on the drive; if part of the tree is hanging off the trailer, it could break.

Plant the palm in the new hole, making sure it is the same depth as the original hole to avoid trunk rot. A soil berm should be dug around the palm to hold water. The soil needs to be kept moist for the next four to six months, according to the University of Florida. A palm fertilizer can be used after three months.

Tips & Warnings

  • Transplanting a queen palm is normally a two- or more-person job, depending on how tall the palm is.


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