Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's At Stake With My Palms?

We have 5' tall Bismark Palms along our driveway. Heavy winds have caused them to lean to one side. Should we stake them to try to straighten them? Thank you.


Thanks for writing and listening to "In Your Backyard." Great question. Most times, if palms have 6' of trunk they don't need to be staked. Have you tried to correct the leaning? If you have and they keep leaning, I would stake them through the next 8- 9 months. I don't know how far apart you have them. So I've attached two photographs of bracing examples from the Seabreeze Nursery in South Florida. Be careful not to nail into the trunk or damage the trunk's bark.

Photo use and instructions courtesy
 of Seabreeze Nursery, Ft. Myers, Florida

How to brace palms:
  • Use a tripod or quadripod wood support system to brace them.
  • Wrap 3-foot-long 2-by-4-inch planks with multiple layers of burlap or old blanket fabric as padding.
  • Fasten these padded plants vertically around the palm trunk with metal strapping.
  • Nail the strapping into the planks, making sure no nail tips pierce the palms' trunk.
  • Then, place long 2-by-4-inch boards at an angle from the trunk to create a support structure.
  • Nail an end of the long plank to each padded plank piece strapped onto the trunk. 
  • If soil is sandy, wedge the long plank bottoms into the soil to brace the tree.
More photos and information from the University of Florida on staking palms.

I would leave the bracing through the hurricane season (end of November). It should have enough root support by then to stay upright. I know that it sounds like a lot of trouble and expense, but the cost of the Bismarcks and that you want them to survive and be beautiful for years to come, makes it worthwhile!

Hope this helps!


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