How to Trim Queen Palm Tree Trunks

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Loppers

  • Fine-tooth pruning hand saw or pole saw

  • Ladder

A stand of Queen Palms near the harbor

The Queen Palm, known botanically as Syagrus romanzoffiana, is a single-trunk tropical palm adapted to some temperate and sub-tropical climes. It is a popular tree for residential and street applications because of its straight, upright trunk and rapid growth habit. Queen Palms are known for dead fronds clinging persistently to the trunk that often require removal. In addition to dead fronds, the fruit clusters also can be trimmed or removed to keep the tree looking tidy and prevent fruit litter dropping onto the lawn or sidewalk below. The trunk should be trimmed each year at the underside of the living crown to keep the trunk clear of dead material.

Step 1

Trim the Queen Palm's trunk anytime of the year that dead and discolored plant material has built up and when the fruit clusters have appeared.

Step 2

Prune away dead fronds, which are identifiable by their brown discoloration, loose connection to the trunk, dessication, and limp, wilted or dry crunchy texture. Never remove green healthy fronds. If the short stem that connects the frond to the trunk is green, the frond is not dead and should be left in place.

Step 3

Sever the frond stems on the horizontal, at a right angle to the tree trunk, not on the bias. Cut close to the base of the frond but not so close that the trunk tissue is gouged. Never attempt to pull away the very bottom or base of the frond, as this can tear into the trunk tissue in ways that may not be visible at first and create conditions that invite disease and pests to the wound site.

Step 4

Trim off the clusters of fruit when they begin to look tatty or as they begin to be shed to the ground, as you desire. Sever the cluster branch close to the trunk, but never gouge into the trunk material. Support the cluster with one hand, and saw or lop off the stem cleanly so that the weight of the cluster does not pull down and tear the surrounding tissue. Discard the fruit cluster or compost them.


D.C. Winston

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.