Your Tropical Heaven


Although most people don’t know it, proper fertilization is a must for healthy palm tree management.  This lack of knowledge probably stems from the abundance of Mexican Fan palms and California Fan Palms around the valley which need little or no care once established.  But over the past 10-15 years varieties of palms not native to the valley such as Queen Palms and Phoenix Roebelenii have been introduced and generally require fertilizer to stay healthy.  It is recommended to use Palm Tree Food (12-8-4) applied during the warm months (March – September).  It is blended with micronutrients and trace minerals that have been determined to be deficient in our soils.  Results are not evident immediately, in fact, results from a proper fertilization program are normally not evident for several months.  Read our Fertilizing Established Plants page for more information.


This is always a difficult question to establish set guidelines for.  The reasons are simple: a) soil composition varies greatly around the valley, b) temperatures fluctuate rapidly and c) rainfall is unpredictable.  For additional information on watering visit our section on Watering Established Plants.

Loose, course soils drain more rapidly than tight compact soils.  There is a saying often used, “Palm trees like to see water, but they don’t want to see it twice”  In other words, soils that drain more rapidly usually are more conducive to good palm tree health.  In general, if the soil in and around tree well is moist, don’t water it.  On the other hand, you don’t want to let a palm tree dry out completely, especially if it has been transplanted recently.  If you are planning on using a drip system, we recommend two (2) drippers per tree, spaced evenly around the trunk to ensure that a large surface area remains moist.

What to Expect from Your New Palm Tree

Don’t Panic!  All trees react differently when transferred to a new environment.  Some browning and loss of foliage is not unusual.  It is common for a field grown (balled and burlapped) Mexican fan palm to turn almost completely brown before new growth emerges.  Also expect to lose 1-3 lower fronds from freshly transplanted queen palms.

Patience! Some trees react favorably immediately.  Some take more time.  But as long as the center portion of the tree (heart) is green, the tree is very much alive and with proper care is likely to survive and grow to its fullest potential


The first year after a palm tree has been planted is its most important year.


Information courtesy of Pacific Palms

For more informative answers to questions contact the University of Arizona, Maricopa County, Cooperative Extension Service at (602) 470-8086.