Of all the questions I receive from clients , by far the most common questions are to do with fertiliser.
Palm Trees, just like any other plant require fertiliser to remain vigorous and healthy.
It is a complex subject so I will break it up into sections to make it easier.
What types of Fertiliser are available ?
Firstly I will say there are literally thousands of fertiliser products on the market, but palms require specific fertiliser to provide additional Magnesium, Manganese and Trace elements which many cheap proprietary fertilisers do not provide in the correct ratios.Therefore I list below specific palm fertilisers rather than general non generic fertilisers.
Soluble Palm Fertiliser. By far the most economical fertiliser , but it requires diluting and applying by hand unless you have sophisticated watering apparatus available, which can be time consuming if you have large collections.
Slow Release Palm Fertiliser. This is a modern almost organic fertiliser that has been developed for use by large scale growers in Spain and Italy. It is applied by scattering on surface every 6 to 8 weeks in the growing season.
Palm Focus liquid fertiliser. This is a specialist liquid fertiliser that also contains chelated nutrient to keep palms healhy. Like soluble fertiliser it also needs diluting manually. If you have lots of palms it will be quite expensive and time consuming, but is undoubtedly the rolls royce fertiliser.
Palmbooster. This is not a fertiliser but rather a powerful root hormone, however we sell large quantities and its worth a mention. Many enthusisasts use it in conjunction with fertiliser and it achieves remarkable results over several years by enhancing root growth which in turn produces stronger more vigorous palms.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Fertiliser is Best to use ?
Generally as a rule potted palms are best fed with Palm Focus or Soluble Palm fertiliser. Soluble is very economical so if you have lots of palms, Palm Focus is very expensive to use.
Palms in the ground are best fed using Slow Release fertiliser.
When should I feed ?
Feeding should be done throughout the growing season when palms are in their growth phase. There is no benefit whatsoever to feeding palms in winter. Normally its best to stop feeding late August to allow the palms to harden off and not to encourage weak late season growth.
My palm is yellow , what should I do ?
Normally this question arises in springtime, when the soil is cold palms are unable to take up nutrient and they become yellow. Often I see recommendations for Epsom Salts , but this is really not necessary. With good feeding regimes the palms quickly regain their colour with spring warmth once the ground has warmed up. Until the ground warms up, ,throwing chemicals at the palm will likely make it worse, patience and warmth are required. If in June their is no sign of improvement ,then their is something wrong with the ground.
Raised beds and excellent drainage will help mitigate this problem also.
Another cause can be overly wet soil, palms cant take up iron if the ground is too wet. This is often caused by planting in a `sump` a hole dug into a clay layer with no drainage where water collects. Before planting into a hole, fill it with water to check that the water drains away.
Sometimes palms in pots can become yellow. Both Soluble Fertiliser and Palm Focus are effectively salt , with time salinity rises and turns the soil toxic , here I try to repot annually to mitigate this effect , alterntively flushing the pot periodically can remove salt build up.
How much Fertiliser should I apply ?
Instructions on labels should always be followed. Giving fertiliser too frequently or in too high doses can have seriously adverse effects and cause leaf burn.
Liquids should be applied sufficiently to drench the root area. Granules sprinkled on surface of area where roots are situated.
Is the Fertiliser Organic ?
Palm Focus and Soluble Fertiliser are traditional non organic salt based fertilisers, the Slow Release is semi organic and does very little harm to the soil microbiology.
If this article has not answered your questions I am always happy to answer further questions on the subject.