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Bismarck Palm

Q.Crowded Bismark Palm

Zone 32081 | Robert Bright added on February 9, 2020 | Answered

My Bismark Palm was planted over 2 years. New growth keeps shooting out and crowding the tree. I feel like I have to keep cutting older fronds, in order for the new ones to sprout, but I can’t cut anymore, the tree fronds are being crowed one after another. What am I doing wrong? And how to help this tree, it seems over healthy.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on February 10, 2020

It is actually doing more harm to keep trimming the tree. This is how they grow in nature, as there aren't many reasons why the fronds would be severely damaged.

I notice a pup being produced at its side. This is a defense in case the tree is severely attacked. It is expending all of the energy it can to replace fronds being lost, and the side shoot is one of the last defense mechanisms to prevent the tree's genetics from being lost.

It is reacting to the pruning.

Let the tree take its natural, crowded shape. This will be the best, and healthiest option.

The only pruning that you should be doing on any palm is cutting off dead growth from non self-cleaning palms. You will want to add potassium back to the soil to help the tree take up what it is losing. Just have care not to over use, since it will raise the pH of the soil.

as a side note: Trees are very "aware" of themselves. Think about it like this- When you have a body part in the way, you will move it. The tree will do the same, but much slower. They may touch, or overlap for some time, but it will come out as it should.

This article will help to give you more information on the care of these palms: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/bismarck-palm/growing-bismarck-palms.htm

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