Don’s Expert Answers: Palm Tree Removal – Grinding or Cut to Ground?

Question From:
Annie in Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne Victoria

Nature of problem:
Palm Tree Removal – Grinding or Cut to Ground?

Type of Plant (if known):
Canary Island Date Palm

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

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:
Not sure

How often do you water the plant:

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:
Appx 10 hours

How long since you planted it:
5-6 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:
Hi Don,

I have a Canary Island date palm tree in my backyard that I want to remove. However, the backyard is covered with artificial grasses and the tree is planted in the middle of appx. 80-90cm diameter hole/soil. The height of trunk is about 1.6m and the very bottom of the trunk is about 80-85cm in dia. so there is hardly any gap between the trunk and the artificial grasses. There are wood frames around the tree though to separate the tree and the artificial grasses.

Obviously, I don’t want to damage the artificial grasses if possible and I have two options advised by some people.
Option A: Cut it to ground. Poison it. Let it rot and then dig out the stump
Option B: Cut it to ground and grind the stump

Which option would be better for my situation?

For Option A: Will it rot within 1-2 year(s) and be easy enough for one person to dig out the stump?
For Option B: Would grinding be necessary for this type of palm tree stump? (If it’s recommended, how deep will it grind?)

Also, with both options, I may have to leave the roots in the ground not to damage the artificial grasses. Then, will I need to poison the roots or if I leave them under ground, will they rot and not grow back? (If I need to poison it, what type of poison should I use?)

Thank you very much in advance! 🙂

Hi Annie, Option A is the go. Palms do not re-shoot from the trunk: they just die after you cut the top off – so no need to poison it. The trunk is not very woody, it is more fibrous. So you may be able to saw it off just below ground level with an old saw that is of little value. It should rot away naturally in 2-5 years. Beware the hideously sharp and dangerous spines on the leaves. You must use secateurs to remove the points from all reachable spines before you begin work. Don