7 Tips for Minimizing Transplant Shock in Palm Trees

After getting transplanted, palm trees usually experience what is called “transplant shock”. Transplant shock caused due to roots being disturbed and exposed to air and sunlight. This happens because palm trees were not designed to be moved from one place to another. When you move a palm tree, it loses a lot or most of the roots. Remaining roots have a hard time providing palm with enough water. That leads to a water stress. That is one of the reasons why you should keep the rootball of the palm moist as much as possible. Any disturbance of the roots will cause a stress. While there is no way to prevent transplant shock, there are ways to minimize it.

Tip 1: Acclimatize the palm before transplanting Palm trees don’t like sudden changes in temperature and light levels. If you transplanting a palm from the pot into the ground, you can place the palm in the area in which it will be planted a week in advance. That will give your palm enough time to acclimatize to the temperatures and the light levels of that location.

Tip 2: Disturb palm roots as little as possible
Depending on the species, palm trees lose some or all of the roots when transplanted to the new place. Palms grown in a container usually have roots that wrap around the inside of the container. There is no need to trim them. Palm will rely on the old roots for getting water, while the new roots are developing.

Tip 3: Leave as much old soil on the rootball as possible
Since the palm is already used to the soil, it will minimize the stress. Unless you are planning on replacing the soil with a better one, I would recommend leaving as much old soil as possible.

Tip 4: Transport palm properly
If you have a large palm that is being transported by a trunk, make sure to protect it by wrapping it with damp tarp. Also, tie up the fronds and attach 2 splits to the trunk and a leaf bundle to prevent trunk from snapping.

Tip 5: Do not fertilize after transplanting
Fertilizing palm right after planting will only create more stress. Give it some time to establish and develop new root system.

Tip 6: Water it thoroughly
Keep the rootball and the soil as moist as possible. Providing enough water will dramatically reduce the transplant shock. Palms should be watered every day for the first week after transplanting and every other day the week after. Here is more info on palm tree watering.

Tip7: Pick the right time.
Evening hours is the best time for transplanting, since the sun is not as strong and temperatures are usually cooler. This will give you palm tree all evening and all night to adjust to the new place before getting exposed to sunlight.

10 thoughts on “7 Tips for Minimizing Transplant Shock in Palm Trees”

  1. King palm in yard. Appears to be 4 sep palms together, biggest 7.5 ft, smallest 5 ft. Should I separate or leave alone? Can I cut roots where attached?

    Thank you.

  2. I live in south Florida and recently had 3 sylvester palms planted about 6-7 ft of wood height. The root ball was large and original soil was in tact. I’ve heard from a few growers that the first month they should be watered every day and every other day the 2nd month. I’m confused and dont know who to trust. I’ve read you water equal to the number of gallons the container was. I’ve been doing thid daily for about 3 weeks.

  3. t.y. so much.that was a quick,easily explained lesson, that will greatly help when I get a tree whether I bring it home or I have it delivered and possibly installed .Should there be a guarantee on the tree not going into shock if a co. installs it?

    sincerely yours,dmg

  4. Hi there, I have recently planted new palms in a garden, I’m afraid that I have planted it to early in the year, it is now winter here and iv noticed that the palm leaves have started to brown. Can planting a palm during a season change from summer to winter kill the palm? I have been giving alot of water and have planted it the way instructed.

  5. I have s palm tree that I have to transplant and I’m scared to do it. It also has 2 pups growing along side of it. I have had it for about 5 years now and this is the first time it has ever bloomed. It grew a huge long thing on top and produced a bunch of white flowers. Am I safe in transplanting it?

  6. Thank you for your articles about palm trees. I am new to their care and now have 15 of them in my yard. I like having them and look forward to the new ones that I have planted growing tall and beautiful. I will use the tips you gave me in caring for my new trees.

  7. What zone is Boynton Beach Florida?
    Is this zone good for Royal Palm ,
    Christmas Palm
    FoxTail Palm ??

  8. Greetings, I had a worker dig out 3 large sago palms 5-6 feet tall with multiple medium smaller to mid size outgrowths all in out door ground. They were rarely watered yet survived. He separated all outgrowths and cut many of the larger roots. I have potted all and placed the 3 large ones ball at least 2 feet under soil. The smaller ones fronds are turning gold brown and I’m watering every 2-3 days. Please help as I live these palms! I live in Malibu, CA and we’ve had several heatwaves. The soil under top is moist. Thanks

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