A lot of palm tree enthusiasts over water their palms or don’t provide enough water, because they don’t know how to check for soil moist level. They have no idea how much water their palm needs and how often to water it.
A newly planted palm should be watered every day for the first week and every other day for the second week. Then you can switch to the regular water schedule which should be 1-3 times a week depending on the season and moister requirements of this species.
Since palm trees vary greatly in the amount of water they need, it’s important to know the exact water requirement of your palm. Overwatering or underwatering your palm can cause irreversible damage.
How Much Water Does My Palm Need
For OUTDOOR palms that are growing in the ground, the amount of water should be 10-20% of the container size for that palm. If it’s a 10 gallon container, then use 1-2 gallons of water. During hot weather use a little bit more, during cold weather a little less.
You should understand, that it depends on the palm type and on the type of soil. Always check the soil to make sure it’s moist and adjust your water amount if needed. Its important for the soil to be wet but not soggy.
How Often Should I Water My Palm Tree
Newly planted palms go through the transplant shock and loose a lot of moister. That is why I recommend watering it more often during the first two weeks while they establish and develop new roots.
You should water your newly planted palm tree every day for the first week, every other day for the second week and then switch to the normal schedule. Since the goal is to make sure the water reaches the roots, deep watering works the best.
Established Palm Tree needs watering 1-3 times a week. Adjust your watering depending on the season. Palm Trees grow more during warm months and slow down during cold months. Watering once a week in the winter should be enough.
What Is The Best Time For Watering My Palm Tree
You should water your palms early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s not too hot. Why? Because if you water your palm tree in the middle of the hot summer day, when the temperature is around 100F, and get the water on the palm tree frond it will fry the leaves.
When you are going tanning, you put oil all over your body to maximize the result. The water on the leaves works the same way oil works on your skin. That’s why, watering your palm in the middle on the hot day can result in a leaf burn.
Mist or hose your palm to clean up all the dust on the leaves, but do it in the cooler time of the day. After you figure out how long to water and how much water your Palm tree needs, it’s is a great idea to get a sprinkler system with a timer.
Timer is a very useful thing that will prevent a flooding around the house in case you forget to turn off the sprinkler system.
How To Check The Moist Level
I like to use electronic soil moister meter. It provides accurate, easy to read results. Since soil probe is separate from meter, you can even monitor hanging plants. It also got great reviews on Amazon.
Moisture meters start at about $6 and run up to well over $100. I think this one is priced very reasonably.
Another thing you can use is a soil probe. Take a soil probe and push into the ground as far as it can go, twist it and pull it out. If the soil is too dry, the probe will stop. Feel the soil.
If it’s moist, you don’t need to water more. Check to see how far the root extends. You don’t need to water deeper than that, since the roots can’t get to the water below the root depth.
Check to see how long the soil stays moist after you water. If the soil is wet, do NOT water your palm. For the best result DEEP water your palms.
What Is Deep Watering
I’ve already mentioned deep watering a few times above. Basically it is slow dripping the water over extended period of time instead of dumping it al at once.
Let’s say you have 20 gallon palm that needs 2 gallons of water. You can water your palm two ways:
One way, is to take all 2 gallons of water and dump it around your palm tree in 2 minutes. The water will simply runoff and the roots will not get enough since it takes time for the soil to absorb water.
Another way, to water your palm tree is to slow drip 2 gallons of water over the course of 1 – 2 hour.
If you have a sprinkler system with a timer, that is what I would highly recommend, water your palm tree for 30 min, turn the water off, let it soak into the ground for 30 min, then resume watering for the remaining 30 min.
This should not only water the top of the soil but also get a few inches deep into the ground. And this is very important especially for the newly planted palms that have experienced the water loss during the planting process.
Note: You don’t need to water your palm when it’s raining, in case you didn’t know.
How To Water Indoor Palms
Indoor palms don’t need as much water as outdoor ones. Generally, you should keep the soil of an indoor palm moist, but not soggy. Water your palm once the top of the soil is dry.
Make sure the pot has good drainage to avoid root rot. I personally make a hole at the bottom of the pot, if it doesn’t have one and also add some rocks to the bottom of the pot before putting soil in. This will ensure your palm is not sitting in water even if you overwatered it.
Also, don’t let the soil to dry out completely. If you are notice the tips of the palm are turning brown, water more frequently.
Signs of Overwatering Palm Tree
Overwatering can kill your palm or lead to various disease problems. One of the signs of overwatered palm is wilted canopy of the tree and leaf discoloration.
If you notice that the younger foliage and newly emerging leaves are brown that could be sign of overwatering. Nutrient deficiencies caused by excess water can also be a problem. Overwatering can also cause a root rot that is very hard to remedy and detect. In extreme cases, you could even smell a four odor coming from the rotting tree.
Signs of Palm Not Getting Enough Water
Underwatering can easily happen during a summer drought. If your palm is not getting enough water, you will notice some of the leaves turning brown and dry. Or they could start to look droopy and wilted. Just check to see how long the soil is staying moist after the watering.
7 Palm Tree Watering Tips
- Mulch around the tree to help the soil to stay moist longer.
- Add some sand to the soil to improve drainage.
- Water your palm from the bottom, as watering from the top can cause rotting of the canopy.
- If you don’t have a probe nor a meter to check the moister level, use a shovel. Dig to where the roots end.
- Don’t use deep watering for every time.
- Plant palm with the plants that have the same watering requirements.
- During winter allow for the soil to dry between watering.
Here is a great article on palm tree care.
–Palm Tree Care 101: Ultimate Guide to Health & Happy Palms
–Top 10 Palm Tree Planting Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
–5 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies In Palms (with Pictures)
–Expert Tips: How And When To Fertilize Palm Trees