We have a 1/2 acre lot surrounded by an areca palm hedge (many mature trees 15 ft in height) and our home owner association said t
hat they should be cut down to 8 ft....Would this kill the trees? Is it necessary to trim off the fronds when they turn orange?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The areca palm grows in height from the top growing point on each trunk, known as the crownshaft. Damaging or removing the crownshaft effectively kills that trunk as it will not regrow a new one. You cannot limit the height of a growing areca palm by tip pruning, as ultimately you remove all growing tips from all trunks. If you remove a trunk, cut it all the way at the base of the plant clump and allow a young suckering sprout to grow to replace it. Rejuvenate an areca palm by cutting off a majority of tall trunks and letting the clump sprouts regrow for several years into new trunks.
The individual leaves of an areca palm should not be trimmed. The tips of the palm fronds may turn brown, but that’s a natural part of the plant’s growth. If you trim frond tips back, the entire frond may cease growing. Don’t trim canes unless they are clearly dead or damaged. If you prune too many live canes, it can kill the whole plant.
You should only trim fronds off any type of palm when they are completely brown and dead. Fronds showing any type of green are still giving nutrients to the entire tree. Many times, areca palms are self-cleaning and dead fronds fall from the tree without the need for pruning.
The areca palm can be trimmed anytime of the year in tropical landscapes, but early to mid-spring is best since it is just prior to the natural emerging growth of fronds in the warm months of spring and summer.