Bracing Palm Trees | How to Properly Secure a Newly Planted Palm Tree

Bracing Palm Trees

Properly bracing palm trees is a critical step, not only to the survival of the trees but also to ensure the trees maintain their vertical position as they grow. Large, mature Palm Trees are often transplanted as a quick and easy way to create a stunning landscape in tropical climates. Planting these over-sized trees can instantly produce an established landscape, but at the same time the towing height of these trees presents unusual challenges for home owners. These problems are further exacerbated in coastal areas which tend to have strong and steady winds.

Properly Bracing Palm Trees | Step by Step

Preparing the Hole: Dig an oversized hole for the root ball. The hole should be about 1/3 larger than the root ball of the tree. So, for an 18-inch-wide root ball you’ll need to dig a 24-inch diameter hole. This extra space will be backfilled with loose, sandy soil which is great for the tree itself, but is also the reason we need to brace the tree.

Protect the Trunk: Before installing any bracing, we must first protect the trunk of the tree. The best way to do this is to wrap the trunk with burlap. Wrap the tree trunk with at least 2 layers of burlap about 16 inches wide. Place the burlap roughly ¼ of the way up the trunk. If the trunk is 16-foot-tall, the burlap will be 4 feet from the ground. Cut 4 pcs of 2×4 wood about 12 inches long and place these slats vertically on the outside of the burlap,

You can temporarily secure the burlap and the 12-inch slats in place by tying them to the tree with twine or wire ties. Never nail or staple the burlap or the slats to the trunk. Any damage to the outer layer of the trunk can rob the tree of nutrients and can ultimately kill the tree.

Anchor the Stakes: Drive 4 stakes into the ground. Use 2 x 4 wooden stakes or metal T-Stakes. These should be equally spaced around the tree at a distance of 4 to 5 feet from the base of the tree and driven at least 2 to 3 feet deep into the ground. For safety, these stakes should be capped with Stake-Safe Covers.

Install the Wooded Braces: Measure from the lower stakes to the upper slats and cut four 2×4’s to length. Place the bottom of the 2×4 brace against the inside of the stake and then lay the top of the brace against the slats. Nail the bottom of the brace to the stake. Secure the top of the 4 stakes with wire ties or bailing wire. Carefully nail the brace to the upper slats but DO NOT nail the top of the brace to the tree itself.

Removing the Bracing: In most cases it is safe to remove the bracing from newly planted Palm Trees after about one year. The exception to this would be if you live on the coast and are headed into the tropical storm season, you may want to leave the bracing in place for another few months.

To learn more about the proper method for bracing Palm Trees and how to safely cover tree stakes get in touch with the Stake Safe Team.