Transplanting Palm Tree From A Container Into The Ground

After growing in a container for a few years, palm trees should be transplant into the ground. Early spring would be the best time for transplanting due to a rapid root growth during warm months. Try to do it later in the day when it is not too hot.

Be ready for the palm tree to undergo what is known as “transplant shock”. It happens because roots get exposed to air, light and new soil. To minimize the shock, acclimatize your palm by placing it in the new location a week prior to transplanting.

That way by the time you are ready to do transplanting it will be used to the new light levels and temperatures of that area.

1. Select Location

Start by selecting a new location in the yard. The best way to in-vision the palm tree in its new location is to place it there while it is in the container.

Think about the amount of light it will be receiving in that area. While some palms need full sun, some palms prefer partial sun or shade.

2. Dig a Hole

The hole should be twice the diameter of the container.

3. Prepare Soil

Check to see what type of soil you have in your garden. Since palms like good drainage, adding sand can help a lot. Some palm enthusiasts like to supplement the native soil with some organic soil, while others use only the native soil.

I agree that the palm roots will eventually have to get used to the soil of your garden even if you apply the organic soil mix when planting. But, I also think that mixing them together will minimize the transplant shock.

If you have a clay soil, use a three parts of native soil, one part of organic soil mix and one part of sand. If you have a sandy soil, use three parts of native soil with one part of an organic soil mix.

4. Remove Palm From a Container

If you have a small palm, about 5 gallon, flip it upside down and tap the bottom of the pot. The palm should slide out. If you have a larger palm, carefully place it on its side and gently slide the root ball out the pot.

If it is in a plastic container, cut it with scissors first. It is important not to damage the root ball. After growing in the pot for some time, the roots of the palm wrap around the inside of the container. There is no need to trim the them. Try to plant your palm as soon as possible.

5. Planting The Palm

Palm tree should be planted to the same depth at which they were previously growing. Planting it too deep may result in a root rot development due to nutrient deficiencies and water stress.

Some palms might suffer from it for many years and can die at any time. Place some soil mix into the hole and water it. You don’t need to remove soil around the root ball. Leaving the old soil around the roots will decrease the transplant shock.

Place the palm in the center of the hole. Then backfill the hole with a soil mix making sure there is no air pockets. If you don’t pack the soil properly, the root ball can sink into the hole over time resulting in a palm being too deep in the ground.

6. Soil Barrier

Build a soil barrier outside of the hole to form a dam that will retain water. Now, you are ready to drench the palm with water. The goal is to make sure there is enough moister around the roots to avoid root hardening.

7. Water The Palm

Deep watering works the best. Leave a water hose near the base of the palm with slow running water for 20 min. This will guarantee the soil had time to absorb all the water. You should water new planted palm every two days for the first two weeks. Then slowly get to the regular watering schedule.

8. Fertilizing a Palm

I see that a lot of web sites recommend fertilizing a palm right after planting. Do NOT apply any fertilizer. Give your palm enough time to get used to the new place. Apply a slow release fertilizer after you see a new growth.

That would be about two months after planting. Fertilizing the palm after planting will create more unnecessary stress adding to the transplant shock.

9. Provide Support

Tall palm trees should be provided with some support to avoid toppling over. Use 3-4 wooden blocks and adjustable straps to support the palm. Don’t nail supporting blocks directly into the trunk. The support should be left for one year.

Related articles:

Transplanting Palm Tree to a Bigger Container
How To Plant A Palm Tree In 10 Easy Steps (with Pictures)
Top 10 Palm Tree Planting Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
How To Move A Large Palm Without Killing It (with Pictures)

3 thoughts on “Transplanting Palm Tree From A Container Into The Ground”

  1. I like this article. I recently had a palm transplanted from my neighbor. I wasn’t sure about watering, i was always afraid of over watering. Are the prongs supposed to turn a light tan color? It always looks kind of dry.

  2. Thanks for the advice. I did not know the best time to transplant is in the spring. And yes the leaves will turn a light tan when they usually start to grow new prongs.

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