Palm Tree Skinning


   Star-Tip 1031

Gardening Tips for successful and beautiful Landscapes and Gardens



The practice of removing the dead remains of fronds from palm trees is common, though it is not to the benefit of the tree. The old fronds actually protect the tree from cold winters, so if you skin your tree (or have it done), you add to the potential risk if there is some genuine cold weather.



Want to try skinning a Phoenix Palm? For a Phoenix Canariensis (canary Island date palm), you will need a chain saw. Better have plenty of experience with one first, then go take a look at a few that have been skinned.



Their exceptionally thick and strong fronds will have been cut back to the base of the trunk. Often the more experienced trimmer will have shaped this cut to a diamond, this is the most attractive finish.


If you still think this is something you want to do, what you use to remove the dead frond ends depends on the tree. A sharp carpet knife works fine on many varieties of palm tree where the fronds are relatively thin. Often machetes are used. It is a bit difficult to get all the “hairs? from the frond removed. But there is nothing like practice.


Safety is key! Wear protective leather gloves and goggles. The base of the old fronds might have thorns, and gloves will prove vital to protect you from these and from your knife if it should slip. Then of course, the risk of falling off the ladder or tree is very real?. Actually the risks associated with this job really indicate that the hiring of a professional, experienced with good safety procedures and skinning techniques might be the best idea.


On trees where a knife will work, pull what's left of one dried frond base down; this will give you an idea as to where to cut, if the tree has never been skinned. Once you do this a time or two you'll get the hang of it.? Keep going around the tree removing the dead growth.



Do not trim into the soft tissue of the growing fronds. You will know when to stop skinning when the trunk goes from brown to green and then white (if you trim to the max). Don't be startled if a lizard or spider comes out from behind the dead growth. You can use a ladder to scale the tree or get spikes like the pros use. Just be careful and you'll have a nice clean tree. Better still, why not be safe and leave it as it is?


© 2007, Star Nursery, Inc.
Copy provided courtesy Star Nursery

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