Madagascar Palm Pruning Tips – How Much Can You Prune Madagascar Palms
By: Teo Spengler
Madagascarpalm (Pachypodium lamerei) is nota true palm at all. Instead, it is a rather unusual succulent that is in thedogbane family. This plant usually grows in the form of a single trunk,although some branch when wounded. If the trunk gets too tall, you may want tothink about Madagascar palm pruning. Can you prune Madagascar palms? It ispossible but carries some risk. Read on for information about trimmingMadagascar palms.
About Madagascar Palm Pruning
Madagascar palm is native to southern Madagascar where theweather is very warm. It can only grow outside in the warmer areas of thecountry, like those found in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardinesszones 9 through 11. In cooler zones, you have to bring it indoors for thewinter.
Madagascar palm plants are succulent shrubs that grow trunksor stems up to 24 feet (8 m.) tall. The stems are large at the base and bearleaves and flowers only at the stem tip. If the stem is injured, it may branch,then both tips will grow foliage.
When the stem grows too big for your home or garden, you canreduce the size of the plant with Madagascar palm pruning. Pruning a Madagascarpalm trunk is also a way to try to induce branching.
If you’ve never had one of these plants before, you maywonder about the advisability of trimming them. Can you prune Madagascar palmwith good results? You can cut the top off the palm if you are willing toaccept the risk.
Pruning a Madagascar Palm
Many Madagascar palms recover after pruning. According toexperts, it has amazing regenerative properties. However, by pruning aMadagascar palm trunk, you are running a risk that your plant will not regrowafter cutting. Each specimen is different.
If you decide to proceed, you need to cut the plant at thedesired height. Slice it carefully with a sterile knife, saw or shears toprevent infection.
Cutting off the top of the trunk injures the center of theleaf spiral. This way of pruning a Madagascar palm may cause the plant tobranch or to regrow leaves from the wounded area. Be patient because it won’tregenerate overnight.
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You only need to prune palms to rid trees of brown fronds (palm leaves), flowers or fruit.
This means your pruning project isn’t subject to a specific time of year. Instead, the best time to prune palm trees is when it looks like they need it. Really!
To be safe, though, look up and examine your palms before hurricane season. Remove any dead fronds from your palms to prevent storm damage.
What is the proper way to trim a palm tree?
You should never prune any green fronds. Only remove dead or dying fronds.
Think of your palm tree like clock. You can prune from 9-to-3 or even from 10-to-2. But never prune your palm tree down to the 11-1 position. That’s called hurricane pruning, and it’s bad for your tree.
The more fronds removed from your tree, the more stressed the tree will become.
If you’re trimming a small palm tree, check out our step-by-step guide on the best way to trim palm trees. Wondering how to trim tall palm trees? Typically, you should call a certified arborist to ensure a safe prune–for you and the tree.