Self pruning palm trees are those that do their own housekeeping! I wish I could have one that would do MY housekeeping! 😉
But seriously, what does a self pruning palm tree do?
They detach dead fronds when the time is right. For those who love growing their own palms, they save you from the maintenance work of doing it yourself.
What is an easy way to tell if a palm is self pruning? Any palm plant that has a Crownshaft is a self-pruning palm tree.
A number of palm Genera have crownshafts. Watch for a palm Genus's overall style. If it's described as having a crownshaft, then all the species in that Genus will have one. You can then investigate which species you'd like to have.
However, one thing is that's not the only evaluation to consider when you make a purchase.
Look to the top part of the palm's trunk to find the crownshaft. It will look distinct from the lower trunk. It's often a waxy, vivid green, but sometimes is another stunning color.
LUSTROUS COLORS POSSIBLE
An assortment of crownshafts have red, purple, white, orange or brown coloring. Which then noticeably contrasts with surrounding fronds, and of course, the trunk. Making for a dazzling appearance.
Palm fronds attach to the trunk with a leaf base at the end of the petiole. Also called a sheath. They're made of sturdy fibers. It helps palm leaves bear stresses, like windy conditions. It's the main anchor system for the frond.
On these palms with crownshafts, this base encircles the trunk. Like a belt circling the trunk. Many fronds help to form the crownshaft. So one after another contributes to its leaf base, giving these sheaths height. They wrap around the trunk securely.
HOW CROWNSHAFTS CAUSE PALMS TO PRUNE THEMSELVES
As a palm ages, fronds will die. The oldest leaf dies, normally at the bottom of the crown. And at the top part of the crownshaft. Then its crownshaft sheath (which had formed around the top of the trunk) weakens.
Since it can't anchor so well anymore, it begins to split. Until eventually the sheath loses its grip on the frond. The dead frond then falls off the palm.
Dypsis lutescens is also called Butterfly Palm, Yellow Bamboo Palm & Golden Cane Palm.
Leaflets have dark green upper surfaces & are silvery below. They attach to the yellowish rachis.
Overall height can get to 40'/12m tall.
Acanthophoenix rubra is also known as Red Palm. A shorter solitary, getting to 40'/12m.
Hyophorbe lagenicaulis is a stunner. Named for its round bottle-like lower trunk. It gets about 40'/12m tall.
Adonidia merrillii is also called Manila Palm. Very attractive crown. Its full height can get to 30'/9m. Good form Zones 10-11, but use caution in 10a.
Wodyetia bifurcata is a faster growing palm. Gets about 60'/18m tall.
Cyrtostachys renda's other common name is the Sealing Wax Palm. It's a clumper suitable to Zone 11, some 10b.
Areca vestiaria does well in Zones 10-11. Usually a clustering palm. But sometimes grows solitary you may see it called Arica aliciae.
Roystonea regia grows tall, to 100'/30m. Native to southernmost Florida, coastal Mexico, Belize & Honduras. Plus Cuba & the Bahamas. Zones 10-11, some 9b.
Hyophorbe verschaffeltii's common name refers to the spindle shaped trunk.
Crownshaft palms may improve palm tree maintenance. That's because they shed old, dead palms on their own. Many crownshaft species natively grew in tropical rain forest conditions. That's a hint of their climate needs.
Did this give you a good understanding of self pruning palm trees? And the way that they Do That via Their Crownshafts.
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