bad landscape palms

Garbage Palms

Dead plants don’t bother me, if they died from natural causes. But these Cabbage palms died from ignorance.

This is a little strip mall on US 41 in Fort Myers, FL. These palms have been planted for about a year and all of them are dead or dying, while the neighboring plants are surviving. I had to know what happened. So I got out my trowel and confirmed my suspicion. All of these palms were planted too deep. The photo shows where I dug down 12″ deep and found nothing but trunk. I have no idea how deep the (dead) root system is but it was beyond me.

Even planting three inches too deep is enough to slowly suffocate a tree’s roots. But a one foot grave is absolute incompetence.

Fish Branch Tree Farm palms Royal Palm Chapter

Fish Branch

John Conroy, owner of Fish Branch Tree Farm, was generous with his time and gave me an educational tour of his 300 acres of beautiful tree production. I was impressed by the cleanliness, the quality, and the quantity of trees produced here in the south-center of the state.

(Sorry I did not share any photos of their tens of thousands of young ‘Boardwalk’ Live Oaks, all standing up straight with their consistent central leaders. And their progressive planting and harvesting intervals where they produce 500 acres worth of trees in a 300 acre farm. Visit their website for pictures of their ‘Densa’ Slash Pines. This long-needled pine has a superior form with thick trunk caliper and lower, wider branching than our scrawny native tree.)

The highlight of my visit was seeing the preharvest cleaning procedure of one Sylvester palm. The worker was just tidying up with a broom when we arrived. It takes this craftsman about an hour to cut off the base of each frond, at a slightly sloping angle away from the trunk, careful to leave the trunk intact.

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