Transplanting Palm Trees
Moving Palms

Transplanting palm trees from one in-ground location to another. Transplanting palms from pots into the ground. How to transplant seedling palms.

This palm was planted too shallowly.

Palm tree roots grow from a section of the trunk called the root-initiation zone. This is marked by a "V" shaped area at the base of the trunk.

When you do a palm tree transplant, this "V" should end up about 1 inch below the soil line. If you plant the palm too high, new roots may not be able to penetrate the soil deeply enough to anchor the tree firmly. Your palm may topple in a storm.

If you have a palm on your property which was planted too high by a previous owner, you do not need to dig it up and replant it. Just mound the soil around it up over the root-initiation zone. This will enable new roots to grow into the soil and properly anchor the tree in due time.


Transplanting Palms from Pots into the Ground

Queen palm in a clay pot.

There is no need to remove any roots that may be circling the root ball. Just dig a hole twice the size of the pot and deep enough for you to set the root-initiation zone an inch below the soil line.

Palm roots will not girdle the tree.

Feed a palm transplanted from a container a higher nitrogen fertilizer than you would normally give to an in-ground palm for the first 6 months after moving it. This will help it to establish more quickly and encourage it to root out into the native soil.

Sprinkle the palm fertilizer onto the surface of the soil covering the root ball and 6 inches beyond this area.

You will need to provide regular water to the tree until it has rooted out into the native soil. Expect this to take 6-8 months.


How to Transplant Palms from One Location to Another

Palms vary in their response to having their roots cut. If you don't know the specific requirements of the type of palm you are transplanting, cut the roots 3 feet from the trunk.

This is the safest method for transplanting palm trees of any type.


Transportation When Transplanting Palm Trees

If you are moving the palm by pick-up truck, it will need wind protection during the trip.

Tie the fronds with bungee cord to keep them out of your way. Remove any old fronds. Then wrap the entire tree from the roots to the fronds in a damp tarp. This will protect it from the drying winds it will be exposed to while you are driving it to its new home.

Use nylon slings to lift a large palm by its trunk, never rope or chains.

Plant the tree into its new location as soon as possible. If you can't plant it immediately, lay it in the shade and spray the trap with the hose as often as necessary to keep it from drying out.

Prepare a hole twice the diameter of the root ball and follow the planting instructions above. Plant the palm at the level it was previously growing at unless it was shallowly planted.


Transplanting Seedling Palms

Newly planted cardboard palms.

Newly planted cardboard palms.

You can transplant palm seedlings with at least one frond. It is best to do this during the summer when root growth will be most rapid and the transplants can be left outdoors as the air in indoor locations may be too dry.

Transplant into small pots. As the trees grow, shift them into slightly larger pots before the roots begin to circle inside the pot.

When transplanting palm trees of this size, it is best to shield them from direct sun for several weeks following each move into new pots. The young fronds are tender and easily burned.

Plant the seedlings so that the area where the roots emerge from the stem is at soil level and do not remove the seed if it is still attached. Let it sit on the surface of the soil.



More Palm Tree Growing Info:

Planting Palm Trees: Soil Preparation

What to Look for in a Palm Fertilizer

Palm Tree Care

Small Palm Varieties to Use in Small Landscapes


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