Palm Trees

Palm Nutrition


Unlike most trees and shrubs in your landscape, many of the exotic (non-native) palm trees have higher nutritional requirements and are more likely to have deficiency symptoms when soil nutrient levels are not adequate or when soil pH ties up soil nutrients making some nutrients unavailable.

Soil pH

Soil pH levels are often changed during construction or when fill soil from another area is brought onto the site. Often concrete mortar is mixed on the site and often in a location that is very near the planned structure. Concrete residue can raise the soil pH in some areas to levels as high as pH 10 which will not support plants. Often soil pH levels of 8 or greater can be found near the barrier island in Florida. Never lime your soil without first checking the soil pH at your county Cooperative Extension office. Call them for instructions on how to gather a soil sample or samples from your yard. Usually there is a phone listing under county offices.

Nutrition

Most palm nutrient deficiencies can be visually identified. The following are all symptoms of boron deficiency. Usually only one of the following is visible but sometimes two symptoms are visible. Click on each photo to enlarge.

Boron deficiency

Extreme boron deficiency -- bent bud

Extreme boron deficiency — bent bud

Boron deficiency -- sharply bent leaflet tips

Boron deficiency — sharply bent leaflet tips

Boron deficiency - truncated leaves

Boron deficiency – truncated leaves

Boron deficiency -- corrugated leaflets

Boron deficiency — corrugated leaflets

Boron deficiency -- unopened new leaf spear

Boron deficiency — unopened new leaf spear

 

Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium deficiency -- yellowing leaflets with greener rachis (petiole)

Magnesium deficiency — yellowing leaflets with greener rachis (petiole)

 

Potassium deficiency

Potassium deficiency -- dried leaflet tips and gradually reducing crown size until palm dies from the deficiency

Potassium deficiency — dried leaflet tips and gradually reducing crown size until palm dies from the deficiency

Potassium deficiency - leaves have speckling and are translucent. Leaflet tips are brown.

Potassium deficiency – leaves have speckling and are translucent. Leaflet tips are brown.

Manganese deficiency

 

Manganese deficiency -- new spears are deformed

Manganese deficiency — new spears are deformed