The below snippet is taken from the book "The art of maintaining a Florida Landscape" by Ginny Stibolt it talks about planting and maintaining palm tree in Florida. This is a great book to read for anyone looking to take care of Palm trees in Florida.
Palms Are Different
Since palms don’t produce real wood with annual rings, they are not considered a true tree botanically. Of course, they act as trees in the landscape, but the guidelines for purchasing and planting palms are different.
- Palms don’t have a root flare, but they do have a root initiation zone.
- Upon transplanting, many palms, including Florida’s state tree, the cabbage palm (sabal palmetto), regenerate all new roots. Roots-pruning is ineffective since they will grow all new roots anyway.
- Palm roots don’t increase in diameter and therefore don’t crack sidewalks, foundations, or other hardscape features.
- Since palms don’t produce wood and don’t increase in girth, if a palm trunk gets gouged, the palm cannot heal itself. Most palms will survive these injuries, but why invite trouble?
To plant a palm, whether it’s container or field grown, find the rooting zone and make sure that this is at or just below soil level. Create a swale around the base of the trunk to keep indignation water from draining away. Irrigate palms over and above general landscape irrigation; every day for the first month, tapering off to once a week for several months after that. For sandy sites, even more irrigation may be necessary. After this initial phase, irrigate during droughts for two or three years.
Unlike true trees, the time it takes a palm to establish and put out new growth does not relate directly to its size. As a matter of fact, juvenile palms (less than 10 years old) that have not yet established their trunks do not transplant well from the field because they have not established their root initiation zones and cannot grow new roots. It takes nearly a year for a palm to produce all new roots; during that time, it should be staked firmly so it doesn’t fall down.
In the case of palms, you might wish to spend the money for large tree since they take so large to start growing no matter what size they are. When you purchase field-grown palms, they are likely to have had most of their fronds removed, but at no other time is this necessary or desirable. Trim only completely dead fronds that are drooping well below horizontal, even if there is a hurricane threatening your area. You may also wish to trim away seeds or seedpods to reduce the potential mess. The trimmer should not use spikes to climb the tree.
For container-grown or balled and bur lapped specimens, handle the trees by their root-balls, not by their trunks. For bare-rooted or balled and bur lapped trees, keep the roots moist at all times until planting if you need to store trees for more than a day or two, it’s important to drop them up in an upright position so the trees don’t have to struggle to bend upward toward the light or against gravity only to bend back again when they are finally planted.
Before you remove the tree from its pot or wrap, set it where you want to dig the hole to check for placement. Prop it up if necessary and then stand back to view it from all angles-look up as well to make sure it’s not under wires or too many overhanging branches; off course you will have previously checked for underground infrastructure. Go inside and also view it from windows to make sure that your new trees will not block a prized view. Remember to visualize its mature size. Only after all this checking will you be ready to plant.
Rinse the Soil from the Roots
There are a number of reasons to rinse away all the soil from the root as you remove the tree from its pot or wrap. (For container-grown plants, you may have to soak the root-ball in a bucket of water to loosen the soil.
- If a tree has been in the pot for a year or more, the soil will have no nutrients left for the tree and may harbor unwanted plants or pests.
- Rinsing away the soil will reveal the root flare (where the first