palm trees

Are My Palms Self Cleaning?

Queen/Cocas Palm (Syagrus Romanzoffiana)

The Queen or Cocas Palm is the most popular ornamental palm in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. It requires regular palm tree cleaning and maintenance and, at 15 metres tall when mature, the Queen Palm is too tall for DIY work.

This variety is not self-cleaning. It produces a year-round cycle of yellow fruit that is very attractive to bats and birds, and it drops a copious amount of seeds and flowers, making it quite untidy.  To keep Queen Palms attractive and safe, have the fronds trimmed and seed pods removed twice a year.

Snails and caterpillars breed in the sheaths of the pruned fronds, so if you’re having an insect problem around these palms, B & R Tree Services can also assist with removal.

Alexander Palm (Archontophoenix Alexandrae/King Palm/Northern Bangalow Palm)

The Alexander Palm’s pale green crown shaft and dual-tone pinnate fronds – which are green on top and have a silvery green underside – give the popular palm an elegant look.  If your palm is quite tall it may be an Alexander – these slender palms grow up to 25m in height from a grey, ringed trunk.

Alexander Palms have quite long fronds – often over two metres long – so even though they don’t require professional palm tree cleaning you may still need to hire a green waste removalist.  These palms also produce clusters of white flowers and small red fruits that can make quite a mess around lawns and pools. Many people prefer to get these removed along with the dropped fronds.

Bangalow Palm (Archonotophoenix Cunninghamiana)

The Bangalow Palm is a gardener’s favourite. Bangalow Palms are similar to Alexander Palms, with their key differences being the colouration of leaves and flowers and the thickness of the trunk.  Bangalow Palms have leaves that are green on both sides and produce pink to mauve coloured flowers that hang down in large clusters from the tree’s crown shaft. Whilst Alexander Palms have a skinny trunk, the Bangalow Palm’s grey and ringed trunk can grow up to 30cm in diameter. This thickness makes Bangalow Palms less likely to blow over in severe weather conditions.

 These palms are self-cleaning, but still produce quite large fronds that need to be cut into smaller pieces before disposal, and large amounts of fruit that may need removal if they’re close to pavements, roofs or pools.

Lawyer Cane (Calamus Australis/Wait-a-while/Hairy Mary)

Lawyer Cane is both a palm and a vine – a “climbing palm”, which makes it unique in comparison to the other varieties of palm South East Queensland is home to.  Lawyer Cane gets the alternative name “wait-a-while” from its ability to snag the clothing of passers-by with the curved, yellow hooks that grow along the length of its tendrils, while its leaves look just like regular palm leaves, a closer inspection will reveal prickly spines along the leaf sheaths and large thorns on the stalks.

This climbing palm can grow up to 35 metres in length in tropical rain forest environments, and has small flowers and white scaly fruit about 1cm wide.

If you need to clear Lawyer Cane from your property’s walkways or want to stop it climbing your other plants we recommend getting a professional to do the job. You’ll save yourself from ripped clothes and more than a few nasty scratches.

Cotton Palms (Washingtonia Robusta)

Cotton Palms are one of the most notorious palm species to deal with, and DIY Cotton Palm tree cleaning is a recipe for disaster.  This large, slow growing species develops in a spreading form and averages 15-20  metres in height. If you’re not sure if your palm is a Cotton Palm, look for a large skirt of dead leaves drooping around the trunk.  This skirt presents a fire hazard as well as a habitat for many unwanted pests including mice, rats and a variety of bird species.

Removal is highly recommended, but should only ever be conducted by a professional. The stems of the cotton palms are barbed and have many hidden thorns that can cause severe injuries if touched by unprotected hands.

Foxtail Palm (Wodyetia Bifurcata)

Foxtail Palms are an attractive, self-cleaning variety of palm that only grow to about ten metres tall. Their name comes from the distinctive dark green fox-tail like fronds this palm presents.  These long, feathery fronds are easy to access and can often be cleaned while the tree is still young without help from professionals.  However, these palms grow very quickly and once they’re mature at home Foxtail Palm tree cleaning isn’t possible without the right equipment.

The fruit of foxtail palms comes in large clusters of oval-shaped orange fruits. Once again, unless you enjoy the company of winged friends, it’s a good idea to have these removed.

Cabbage Palm (Livistona Australis)

Many people have trouble identifying Cabbage Palms because the mature palm can grow anywhere from 6m to 20m tall.  One way of telling if your palm is a Cabbage Palm is by taking a look at the fruit – unlike other species, the Cabbage Palm produces fruit that is black when ripe.  Other distinctive features of the Cabbage Palm include its shiny green leaves that can grow up to 1.8m across and white flowers.

While still attached to the tree, the fronds of the cabbage palm look magnificent. However, these palms are not self-cleaning and their shrivelled dead fronds soon become unsightly without maintenance, hanging all the way from the tree’s crown to the ground.

Coconut Palm (Cocos Nucifera)

The Coconut Palm is one of the largest and most easily identifiable varieties of palm found in South East Queensland.  This species has a large base that leads up to a smooth (often leaning) trunk angled to reveal clusters of flowers and coconut fruit.  While the Coconut Palm is self-cleaning, it can be very dangerous to let its waste drop from such a great height. Aside from releasing dozens of coconuts a year, the coconut palm has fronds that can be up to 4m long. Both of these present a serious hazard of falling on unsuspecting passers-by.

If you are fortunate enough to have a Coconut Palm on your property, B & R Tree Services in Brisbane highly recommends booking a palm tree cleaning to eliminate potential falling risks involved with this type of palm.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eight + 13 =