Why Is My Palm Tree Getting Brown Leaves?

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A palm tree with brown fronds is often easily corrected.

Palm trees make attractive additions to landscapes in warm climates, and palms of a suitable size are grown as houseplants in more temperate climates. There are a few primary reasons why palm tree fronds may turn brown but different species may be subject to specific culprits, so it may be helpful to question a knowledgeable extension agent.



Although many palms prefer a high-humidity environment, overwatering and, in extreme cases, root rot can cause browning and eventual death. Let the soil dry out between waterings and only water every several days.

Cold Damage

A palm that has suffered freeze or cold damage may see patch browning or the entire tree may brown and die. Leave fronds that are damaged on the tree until they turn completely brown to minimize the stress on the palm tree.


Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies show symptoms most strongly on new fronds that are yellow and brown. The soil pH should be checked -- an improper level of acidity can make nutrients difficult to absorb. Follow a fertilizing regimen using a fertilizer specifically for palms with manganese, potassium and magnesium.


Angela Ryczkowski

Angela Ryczkowski is a professional writer who has served as a greenhouse manager and certified wildland firefighter. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in urban and regional studies.