How to Transplant a Mexican Fan Palm

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Things You'll Need

  • Pruners

  • Heavy twine

  • Spade

  • Burlap

  • Hose

Mexican fan palms need plenty of room to grow.

Mexican fan palm, or Washingonia robusta, is commonly called Washington palm. Native to desert areas of Mexico, this palm grows best in U.S. Department of Agricultural hardiness zones 9 to 11. This massive palm is fast-growing and can grow up to 100 feet tall with a 15-foot spread. Transplanting Mexican fan palm from one location to another is best done in spring or early summer to allow time for the roots to establish before winter.

Step 1

Water the Mexican fan palm well to prevent water loss during the transplant process and to hold the palm's root ball together.

Step 2

Remove one-half or two-thirds of the Mexican fan palm's fronds. Tie the remaining fronds up to keep them out of the way when moving the palm.

Step 3

Dig a root ball for the Mexican fan palm that is 1 to 2 feet in diameter with an equal-size depth. Sever any roots holding the palm in place.

Step 4

Wrap the palm's root ball in burlap to hold it together. Place the burlap under one side of the Mexican fan palm as you lift the tree and then repeat to pull the burlap under the root ball.

Step 5

Dig a planting hole for the Mexican fan palm the same depth of the root ball and at least twice the width. Never plant the transplanted palm deeper or shallower than it previously grew.

Step 6

Place the Mexican fan palm in the center of the hole and backfill. Use a hose pressed into the planting hole to remove any air pockets and to force the soil around the palm's roots. Untie the palms leaves.

Step 7

Water the transplanted Mexican fan palm for four to six months as needed to keep the area surrounding the root ball moist, but not soggy.


Attach nylon slings and not chains to the palm’s trunk if you are using a tree crane to lift and move the palm. Otherwise, use the help of others to lift and move the tree.

Place supports around tall Mexican fan palms for the first year after transplanting, but never nail the supports into the tree’s trunk. Attach small pieces of wood to the tree first and use them to nail the longer support timbers to.

references & resources

Diane Dilov-Schultheis

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.