Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Grow with Bovees
Palm trees are popularly used in landscaping for their exotic look and tropical feeling.
They thrive well in warm tropical climates and are perfect for creating that “island feel” in your home.
If you live in areas where palm trees thrive, you may occasionally have to think about getting rid of an unwanted palm tree.
The most efficient and easiest way of getting rid of a palm tree is through cutting it down or uprooting it.
You don’t need to kill the tree with herbicides.
Signs that Indicate You May Need to Remove a Palm Tree
Palm trees are strong trees that often grow tall and live for many years.
However, they can become infected by diseases and infections. Pests, physical damage, or natural deformities could also warrant the removal of your palm tree.
Here are more reasons why you may want to remove your palm tree.
Your first step to knowing if your palm tree needs to be removed is assessing the tree’s health. Leaf spots, wart-like appearances on leaves, withered or dead fronds, yellowish leaves, or collapsed tree trunks, are indicators of poor palm tree health.
If you don’t have the proper training to assess your palm tree, a professional tree services company may be able to help.
Other signs that indicate poor health of your palm tree include:
Discoloration of Leaves — discoloration of leaves is a sign that your tree is not getting enough water or is infested with pests. If this occurs, consider removing the tree immediately.
Uneven growth — uneven growth indicates that something is obstructing the pathway to receiving nutrients.
Edges of leaves curled up — This is a sign that your palm tree may be infested with pests. If you notice curled edges on some parts of the leaf, it could be time to remove the tree.
Discoloration of trunk or base — if you’ve noticed discoloration of the base or trunk, there may be insects boring holes into its tissues. This can cause rotting and even death.
You may also want to get rid of your palm tree if there is no space for the tree’s growth, if the tree risks damaging your property, or if the tree has a spreading disease or pest infestation.
Palm Tree Removal Methods
Fully-grown palm trees are heavy, and can damage property if they were planted too close to a house, or removal is not planned. If you don’t have the skills, hiring a tree removal company may be the best option for you.
If you understand the risks involved, you can either save the tree by having it dug up and replanted elsewhere or trim it gradually to eliminate it.
There are three general palm tree removal methods. You can;
- Hire a professional removal service
- Dig up the palm tree and transplant it elsewhere
- Cut down the palm tree.
For each of these three methods, ensure that you follow the correct procedures to achieve a successful palm tree removal.
Method 1: Hiring a Professional Tree Removal Service
Identify the Palm Species
The first step to follow if you have decided to hire a professional tree removal service is identifying the palm species. There are over 2,500 palm tree species that you can identify.
Identifying a palm tree before removing it is necessary as some palm trees are considered more valuable. You could uproot and sell them off rather than destroy them. Some companies may be willing to buy the palm tree and relocate it.
Take a picture of the palm tree and research online using picture guides of palm trees.
Know the Local Laws Concerning Removal Of Palm Trees
This is especially important if your palm tree is tall. Local laws may have guidelines on removing tall trees to ensure that removal is done safely without endangering human life or property destruction.
If the tree you want to remove is tall, you may need to have a permit. Other considerations for obtaining a permit can be done when;
- The fronds or branches extend beyond your property line to other properties
- The tree is close to utility lines such as telephone or power poles
- Digging up the tree and relocating it is the best option
- The palm tree in question is a protected species
Is The Palm Tree Accessible?
Ensure that the palm tree is accessible easily, as professional services require plenty of space to do their work.
Clear beforehand any debris, personal belongings, or vehicles near the tree. If your palm tree is in a small enclosed area, removal may be expensive, and companies may refuse to buy and relocate the tree.
Method 2: Dig Up The Tree for Relocation
Like in method 1 above, research to identify the species of the palm tree through online databases. This will help you know if it’s worth digging up the tree for relocation.
As noted above, some varieties are valuable, and some companies are willing to buy and relocate the palm tree.
Ensure that your tree has enough space for falling without causing damage to buildings, property, telephone and power lines, etc. Also, ensure that your local regulations green-light the tree removal process by obtaining the necessary permits.
When uprooting the tree, try to work towards felling the tree in the direction of the lean. If it’s not possible to drop the tree in its lean direction, guide the felling to a suitable direction by digging more on the side to which you want the tree to fall.
You can trim the palm tree fronds and branches first if they run a risk of damaging things such as power lines.
Anchoring the Tree
To prevent the palm tree from toppling over, anchoring it with ropes will help. This is important, particularly when removing tall palm trees.
Tie about 4 pieces of rope 1/3 of the way up the tree. Each rope should stretch a minimum of 8ft away from the tree. Use metal stakes to anchor all the ropes in the ground and make sure that all ropes anchor the tree at an equal distance.
Assess the Roots
After anchoring the ropes, the next step is to check the roots around your palm tree‘s base.
Mark out a circle around the base of the tree where you estimate the rootball to extend to. The width of the tree will help you in estimating how big the root ball is. The circumference of the root ball should be about twice the width of the tree. A tall tree bigger than 16 feet in length may have a rootball larger than 36 inches.
To avoid damaging the long roots, dig at least 30 inches away from the base to avoid causing any damage.
Dig from the edge of the circle down to the bottom of the root ball.
Next, find the end of the roots that spread, moving back towards the tree’s trunk, and until you expose the top of the root ball. Keep root damage to a minimum as palm trees will need a majority of their roots for a successful transplant.
Make sure that the shovel gets underneath the ball so that you can fully wedge out the tree. The tree is ready for moving as soon as the ball is fully exposed and free.
Taking Down The Tree
Once you’ve exposed the roots fully, taking the tree down is easy. Palm trees are heavy, so make sure that you have enough manpower to help you take the tree down.
Loosen the anchoring ropes on one end of the tree, then lower it down slowly. Make sure that you stay safe during the controlled felling of the tree. No one should stand under the tree where it will fall.
Method 3: Cutting Down Your Palm Tree
If you want to get rid of your palm tree, you can also cut it down. Here are the steps to follow if you choose to cut your palm tree down.
Know the Value of the Palm Tree
It’s important that you know the value of the palm tree you are about to cut. There are planting companies that may be willing to buy your palms. Some trees may cost you more money transplanting them than cutting them down.
Take a photo of the tree, then search online to identify it. If you can, consult an expert to help you identify the worth of the tree.
Wear Protective Equipment
Palm tree removal might require the use of a felling axe or power tools, and it can put you in harm’s way. Ensure that you wear the right safety gear to protect yourself.
Earmuffs and a hardhat with a retractable face screen are important. Earmuffs will help reduce the noise from your chainsaw, and the hard hat and protective screen will prevent injury from wooden shards or falling fronds. Sturdy boots, long sleeve clothing, and gloves will also help in protecting you.
If you need to climb up a tall palm tree, ensure that you strap a safety harness around your waist. For trees higher than 12 feet, you might need a hydraulic lift to get to the top of the tree.
Using the right machinery ensures that your safety is guaranteed especially when taking care of large trees.
Figure Out The Trajectory of the Tree Fall
Evaluate the direction where your tree falls. Make sure that the tree will not fall on nearby structures, power lines, or any other properties.
Also, ensure that you have a permit and follow all regulations from the local government when cutting down a tree.
If the lean of the tree is in an undesired direction, cut a deeper notch in the direction of where you need the tree to fall.
Ensure that your tree doesn’t have holes or cracks on its trunk as it may fall in that direction causing damage.
Clear Your Area
Palm trees are quite heavy, and even the fronds can cause significant damage to nearby structures, property, or passersby.
Even with proper anchoring, supports fail and the tree topples. This can cause the tree to fall in an unintended direction.
Clear the area before removing your palm tree. Make sure that there is no traffic accessing the area where you are cutting the tree.
Removing the Palm Fronds
If your palm tree is short, you can use a ladder to reach further up the tree, and use trimming tools to remove the palm fronds. Fronds are heavy, and they make the palm tree heavier. They could also affect the direction of the fall. Put your ladder in a way that allows you to be above or next to the fronds you are cutting.
Ensure that you have someone watch out for you in case the tree starts to splinter or the frond is breaking off in a way that can harm you.
If standing on a ladder feels risky, consider using a hydraulic lift to safely cut the palm fronds.
The best tool for trimming palm fronds is a manual pole saw. Chop one frond at a time and cut them close to the palm tree trunk. A small chainsaw can also prune, but with the toughness of the fronds, the blades will wear out fast.
Make sure that there’s no one underneath you where the fronds are dropping.
Cutting Down Your Tree
To cut your tree down, start by cutting a notch cut at the base of the tree. A notch cut will help in controlling the fall direction. A notch is a triangular cut made by cutting diagonally through 1/4 of the width of the tree.
Once you’ve made the notch, cut through from the opposite side to the tip of the notch. If done well, your tree will fall in the direction of your notch cut. Make sure that you move to a safe distance fast as soon as the tree starts cracking.
One of the best ways to remove a palm tree stump is by using a grinder. You can rent a stump grinder to remove any tree stump left after removing your palm tree.
Removing a tree stump manually will take some effort as you will need to remove one piece at a time. If you have such tools as a mattock or Pulaski, they can be very useful for digging out the remains of the stump and roots.
Digging the dirt around the stump will help in exposing the remaining part.
How Much Does Palm Tree Removal Cost?
Professional services consider a few factors when calculating the cost of palm tree removal.
However, the height of the palm tree is the most significant indicator of the average cost of removing a palm tree.
The following prices indicate the average cost estimates of trimming and removing a palm tree down to a small stump.
- $1,100 to $1,500- Extra large palm tree between 80ft and 100ft tall
- $400 to $1,100- Large palm tree between 60ft and 80ft tall
- $200 to $950- Palm trees between 30 and 60ft tall
- $150 to $450- Palm tree up to 30ft tall
Small palm trees will cost you $100 to $199. While the Canary Island Date Palm may cost more due to its wider girth, this pricing may best suit the mill queen palm.
While costs for palm tree removal seem high, a professional arborist or contractor is worth the cost. Removing the palm tree by yourself may not only be time consuming, but also dangerous especially if you don’t have the skills to remove it.
However, the total cost of the tree removal will take into consideration the length of the tree, access to the palm tree, the species of the palms, the diameter of the trunk, and the stump removal.
How to Find Professional Palm Tree Removal Services
To hire a professional tree removal service, check for the following credentials.
Sufficient Insurance Liability Cover- Your service provider should have adequate insurance to compensate for any damage they may cause during the work.
A valid license in your state- This means that the company has gone through all the necessary training and licensing exams to provide services in your area.
A minimum of 2 years experience- The more experienced your provider, the higher quality their work is likely to be.
References and testimonials from previous customers- Testimonials are great indications of how a company may perform on your new job.
Final Words on Palm Tree Removal
Hopefully, that will help you to facilitate your palm tree removal, whether you do it yourself, or call in professional tree removal services.