Palm trees typically grow in warm climates and are a fixture in Hawaii, southern Florida and southern California, much like cacti are a fixture in the Southwest. They grow in yards and gardens and line streets and parking lots. Even with proper irrigation and fertilization, your palm tree may appear to be sick or dying. In general, there are several common problems that can be cured so the tree can restore itself to full health.
Avoid overpruning a palm tree. Younger branches often use the nutrients from browning branches, so if you prune them too early, it can affect the overall health of the tree. Only prune completely dead palm branches and, then, only remove the ones that sag below the horizontal from where the fronds grow.
Test the soil if the palm leaves are yellowing, frizzled or have a burnt appearance. This is often a sign that the soil lacks an nutrient essential to the palm tree's overall health, such as potassium, iron or manganese. Ask a local cooperative extension office if it tests soil or if will recommend a local lab. Take the soil sample as instructed, and amend the soil with supplements as recommended by the lab.
Identify pests and diseases that may be harming the tree. Common palm tree problems include the royal palm bug, ganoderma butt rot and lethal yellowing. Keep an eye out for bug-eaten fronds, mushroom-like fungus, fruit drop and black flowers. Take a sample in a sealed plastic bag to a palm tree dealer or a county extension office. Pests can usually be controlled to stop their damage, such as with imidacloprid, but unfortunately, most of the common diseases and fungi can not be treated, and the tree should be cut down and the root ball removed before other palm trees are inflicted. Do not plant a new palm tree in its place.
Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.