How To Get Rid Of A Palm Tree

Palm trees can look beautiful, and transform our cities into tropical paradises. However, despite how lovely they can look, they are not always welcome in our gardens and backyards. For example, palm trees can be towering giants that can welcome pests and insects into your garden. 

In addition the roots of a palm tree can expand out so far that they can cause damage to your property and to your plumbing system. So, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to that spiky nuisance on your property. But, how do you get rid of a palm tree?

How To Get Rid Of A Palm Tree

Identify The Palm Tree

There are actually over 2,500 species of Arecaceae plants, so you will need to actually identify what palm tree you are dealing with. You will then be able to tell whether the tree is a protected species, and whether you are required to have a permit to cut it down.

In addition, you have to consider whether the removal of the tree will negatively affect or impact your neighbors. For example, in the majority of states, you will not need a permit to remove a tree from your personal property, unless it will impact a neighboring property or one owned by the city. 

So, you have to consider whether the palm tree, or the fronds will expand over the property line, and whether it will fall and land outside of your property line once felled. In addition, you have to think about the height of the tree, and whether you can safely remove it yourself, or whether you need professional help. 

In some states, certain trees are protected species, and you will need special permits to allow you to chop them down, so make sure that you cover yourself, and consider all of your options. In some cases, you may simply want to relocate the tree rather than destroy it. 

Remove The Fronds

If the tree is of a safe size, and there are no permits required to take it down, then you can start making some progress in the removal of the palm tree. The first step in this process is to remove the excess weight of the fronds. 

To do this, we recommend that you wear thick gloves as the fronds of the palm can be rather spiky, and can hurt your fingers and hands. In addition, you should be wearing protective eye gear, and protective clothing that can cover your arms and skin from the fronds. 

You should be aware that if the palm tree is in a desert or arid region, then there could even be scorpions, rats or other wildlife living in the fronds of the palm trees, so be careful removing them.

If you are stung by a scorpion, then you will need to wash the sting with water and soap, before applying a cold compress and taking some sort of pain reliever. If you are concerned, then seek a health professional for advice. 

The best way to remove the fronds is to use pruning shears, a chainsaw or a saw. Then, simply cut at the frond as close to the trunk as possible to remove it. Remember to stand aside when cutting so that the fronds do not fall onto your head or directly on top of you.

You should also ensure that children, pets and any bystanders are clearly out of the way before cutting, in case fronds fall down onto them. 

Once you have cut the fronds off, you will need to dispose of them. Palm tree fronds do not decompose well or quickly, and cannot be placed in wood chippers, so you will need to place them into your green waste bin. If the bin has no space, then you can call your city and ask for a green waste pick up. 

However, you can be a little creative with the fronds, and use them to make a topical cabana or bar in your backyard. In addition, you can use the fronds to make dried decorative flower arrangements or weave them to create hats or garden displays. 

Prepare To Cut

Once you have removed most of the fronds, you will need to start planning how you are going to chop down the palm tree. For instance, you have to consider which direction the palm is going to be felled, and make preparations for this. 

For example, the tree may be too close to your home, a building or structure, and so you may need to start cutting on the other side to ensure that it falls in that direction. Also, you may notice that the tree is heavier or leaning towards one direction, which may impact how the tree will fall. 

You should also remove any debris, fronds or parts of the tree that you have already removed so that there are no obstructions on the ground around you. This will ensure that you have a clear path to get out of the way, should the palm tree fall in a direction that could be hazardous to you. 

It is also paramount that you make sure that pets are secured and locked out of the way, and that there are no children in the area that could be harmed by the felling of the tree. 

Once you have planned exactly how you are going to tackle and cut down this palm tree, clear the area, and get to work. 

Chop Chop

Next, it is time to get chopping. To get rid of the palm tree, you will need to cut or chop down the tree. To do this, you will require a chainsaw. Once you have the chainsaw, you are going to want to make a cut at about 25% through the trunk of the palm tree. Make sure that you make this cut on the side of the tree that you want the palm tree to fall on. So, be prepared to move out of the way! 

Once you have made the first cut, make a second one just above it, and angle it down so that it meets at the first cut. You should then have a large wedge cut out of the side of the tree. With the opposite side of the tree, you will want to make a horizontal cut that meets up with the initial cut. Then, the tree will begin to fall, so step to one side and out of the path of the falling palm tree.

Alternatively, if you are worried about where the tree will fall, or if it is very close to a structure, then there is another way to chop it down. The safest way is to start at the top of the tree, and cut it off in smaller sections until you reach the stump of the palm tree. 

Remove The Stump

Finally, it’s time to get rid of the stump. Palm trees have a root system that does not go very deep or far, so, the easiest and quickest way to get rid of the stump is to simply dig up the roots. Palm trees do have lots of roots that extend out from the tree, but they are typically only about 36 inches into the topsoil, so it is not that difficult to remove them.  

Palm tree roots tend to extend outwards in order to anchor the tree, however, they do not go very deep. Therefore, you can simply dig the stump out, and don’t worry about leaving some roots behind as they cannot regenerate. Therefore, once the main stump is removed, the palm tree will never come back. 

Alternative Method

If you do not want to destroy the palm tree entirely, and would prefer to relocate the palm tree then there is another way to do this. All you have to do instead is simply wet the ground around the base of the palm tree, and dig down around a foot or two at the bottom, and around the tree.

You will have to dig around and under the root ball to get the tree out. 

Once the roots are dug up, you will be able to move the palm tree to your preferred position and location. However, you may have to trim down some fronds to make this easier. We also recommend wrapping the roots in a large black garbage bag for transporting the palm tree, and moving it to its new home.

To replant the palm tree, you will need to dig a shallow hole about twice the size of the root ball of the tree, and place it inside. Then, cover the roots, and water the tree to get it accustomed to its new location. Voila! No need to damage or destroy the tree, and simply enjoy it elsewhere. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any more questions about palm trees and how to remove them, then check out this handy frequently asked questions section! 

Why are they called palm trees?

The term palm tree is derived from the Old English phrase palma, or the Old French term palme which comes from the Latin palma meaning palm of the hand. The tree is named as such because of the sprawling shape of the palm trees’ leaves, which look like fingers outstretched from the palm of a hand. 

Are palm trees actual trees?

A palm tree is actually not considered a tree at all! The palm tree actually belongs to the family monocots, which are described as plants that emerge with a single leaf, unlike dicotyledons, which have two leaves when they begin to sprout and grow. 

Many botanists define trees as woody plants with secondary growth. Now, palm trees lack secondary growth and only have primary growth, and not much wood. The palm instead creates its wood like epidermis through the process of lignification and thickening. Thus, palm trees are more closely related to grasses such as bamboo and are therefore not trees, but very large woody, grassy plants. 

Will a palm tree grow back once it is chopped?

Some trees are able to grow back once it has been chopped down, however the palm tree will not.

Even if you do not fully remove the roots of the palm tree, it will be unable to regrow or regenerate once the top of the tree has been removed. This is why it is considered relatively simple to get rid of a palm tree in your backyard, as they do not grow back! 

Are palm trees native to the states?

Yes, palm trees are native to the United States in some areas. Over fourteen species of palms are native to the United States, and are distributed throughout the Gulf Coast, Florida, Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana, California and Georgia. 

However, there are many states with palm trees in abundance that are not native to the area. For instance, you may find that New Mexico, Washington State, Oregon have palm trees, but these do not naturally grow there.

In addition, in places such as Los Angeles, you will find that palm trees are everywhere. Palm trees in LA have become synonymous with the area and the culture.

However, only one species of palm is native there, called the California Palm which grows in the desert. The vast majority of the palm trees in Los Angeles were actually imported from Mexico sometime during the 1930s.

What can I do with palm tree wood?

Unlike other types of trees, the wood from a palm tree is not suitable for fire wood or for making furniture. It has been used in its native locations for building homes, but it is not very well suited to this. This is because the wood from a palm tree is full of liquid, and very fibrous, which makes it difficult to dry out entirely.

Instead, the wood from a palm tree can be pressed in order to extract the oils, so that they can be used in soaps, beauty products, drinks and syrups. In addition, you can use the fibers from the palm tree to make hats, wicker furniture or hammocks. 

Palm trees are more closely related to grass rather than actual trees, so they are no good as firewood either. Instead, the wood of the palm tree would catch quickly and burn quickly, producing very little heat or light. 

Should I remove a palm tree myself?

As long as it is small enough, and no permits are needed, there is no reason why you cannot remove a palm try by yourself. Just ensure that you follow all rules, regulations and safety procedures, and you can get rid of that palm tree in no time.

If you are not confident about removing the palm tree, or you are unsure what to do exactly, then simply hire a tree removal specialist, who will get the job done quickly and efficiently for you! You can sit back, relax and sip on a pina colada whilst the palm tree is removed effortlessly!

What products come from palm trees? 

Palm trees are an important part of many cultures and civilizations. For centuries, palm trees have been used as part of religious rituals, and we still use them for many products today.

For example, palm trees produce coconuts, which we use for food, creams, oils, or in soaps and beauty products. In addition, we can extract dates, betel nuts, acai fruit and palm oil from palm trees.