Don’s Expert Answers: Identifying and removing palm trees

Question From:
Tony in deer park, Vic Victoria

Nature of problem:
Identifying and removing palm trees

Type of Plant (if known):
Palm tree

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:
Normal soil

How often do you water the plant:

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:
All day

How long since you planted it:
Maybe 7-9 years

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:
In the ground

What other treatments have you given the plant:

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
I am having a trouble identifying this palm tree. Is the tree in the photo a Pheonix Canary palm tree or a Jelly Palm tree (or something else)? I’d like to know how tall it will grow in Victoria and how fast it will grow to the maximum height. If it grows too big, I’d like to remove it because it’s in a small backyard. What would be the best way to remove this palm tree? Thank you!

Hi Tony, this is a Canary Island date palm. While it has beauty in its own right, it is a weed spread all over Australia by birds that eat its fruit. The long spines on the leaf bases are very dangerous. Great care needs to be taken when pruning it (wear leather gloves and eye protection). It grows slowly to over 9m. To remove it, cut off the leaves one by one at their bases until only the pineapple-looking trunk remains. Then you can dig around the base of the tree: the roots are fine, not woody, and do not extend out more than 2m or so from the trunk. Eventually you can push the tree over. Disposing of the prunings is problematic as they are very hard to chop up and don’t rot down well. Maybe get in an arborist to do the entire job. Don