How to fertilize palms the RIGHT way!
Elements your palms need to stay healthy
Applied in correct combination; magnesium, iron, and manganese will keep fronds from yellowing or curling. How much and when depends on where you live.
Here in East Texas, a bag of 8-8-8 is sufficient in keeping your palms healthy and happy!
Steps to establishing a new palm:
- Water plays huge role in establishing a new palm. Water every day for 45 days until the risk of transplant shock has passed.
- Apply the fertilizer away from the base of the palm, staying around 18″ away from the base. Banding fertilizer around the base of the palm tree is considered a poor practice because it can damage the roots.
- Wait about 4 to 6 weeks after planting to fertilize.
Fertilizing palms DO’s:
- Thoroughly read the directions on the fertilizer bag.
- Water BEFORE AND AFTER fertilizing, especially when using a quick release material. Under-fertilize rather than over-fertilize.
- Under-fertilized plants just don’t grow as fast; over-fertilize them and they may die. Pick a fertilizer with an approximate NPK ratio (like an 8-8-8).
- An ideal palm fertilizer has the right mix of microelements, magnesium and calcium.
- Fertilize your palm trees three times a year: spring, summer, and fall.
- You can also augment with organic fertilizers such as blood meal, bone meal, fish emulsion, and worm castings.
- Fertilize completely around the plant, distributing the granules over the entire root distribution area (approximately the size covered by the mid-day shadow of the plant).
- Work fertilizer into the soil if possible.
- Rake the garden of debris, apply their fertilizer, and finish with a top dressing.
- Soil test for salt content, especially in container plants. Inexpensive pronged meters easily tell you when you have problems.
- Keep turf well away from your palm trees. This will make it easier to fertilize your palms and will help keep diseases away from your palm.
Fertilizing palms DON’Ts:
- DON’T fertilize on dry soil, as it can lead to plant burn and death.
- DON’T over-fertilize as this can lead to plant injury.
- DON’T Throw granular fertilizer down the crown of the plant.
- DON’T Throw all the fertilizer in one pile at the base of the plant. Scatter it.
- DON’T Throw the fertilizer against the trunk of the plant in a big pile as this can lead to necrosis or scaring of the trunk.
- DON’T Use the cheapest, highest concentration quick release fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate 30:0:0 (lawn fertilizer), as this can lead to plant burn or injury.
- DON’T Put fertilizer directly in contact with the roots when repotting a container plant, especially if using a quick release fertilizer.
- DON’T Put manure into the hole when planting a palm. Too often the generated heat and solute concentration are damaging to the palms roots.
- DON’T allow rain to fall on your stored bags of fertilizer as this may solidify the granules or leach out the fertilizer. Protect the bags with a tarp.