Alan212
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:18 pm
Location: Yulee, FL

Palm placement ideas

Hello everyone, I'm a new homeowner with very limited landscaping experience. I have a thick Washintonia palm coming on Monday and I can't decide where to put it. At first, I was going to put it in the right corner of the top-side of the sidewalk and the driveway. Now I'm starting to think I shouldn't put a big tree right in front of my front door. My next idea was to put it to the left by the corner of my house by the crape myrtle, but I don't want to crowd that tree or my future neighbors yard. Also, I'm not crazy about putting it smack in the middle of the yard. Suggestions please! :D :D :D

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imafan26
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Posts: 11336
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Palm placement ideas

Palms are beautiful but the roots are fibrous and form an expanding ball and palms will lift driveways sidewalks and get under foundations and put the squeeze on the plumbing. Some literature says that rarely happens but I see it a lot here. People are especially fond of planting them about a foot from their driveway not realizing the palm trunk also expands as it grows and the driveway has a definite lift to it. You should be careful not to plant anything that grows vertically under your eaves. First rarely does it get watered there and when it grows it will be either touching the eaves or brushing the roof tiles. My termite guy said not to plant anything within 18-24 inches of the foundation. It is easier to do maintenance like inspect the foundation or paint or clean the windows and if you won't have roots and water working their way into the cracks in the foundation giving critters a way to get in.

So, to be safe, I would give your palms about 10-15 ft from structures and underground utilities. The roots won't show on the surface but in a few years if you try to dig around the palm you will need a jack hammer. Also take into consideration the height of the palms and the spread of the canopy. Some palms grow very slowly but in about 20 years they will be tall and wide. Clumping palms like areca palm make good house plants when they are small but they can get 20 ft tall and ten feet wide in ten years.

Washingtonia robusta can grow eventually to be 80 ft tall and will dwarf your house. Same thing happens when people plant Italian cypress. It looks great when they are small but they can get over 50 ft tall and don't look that good with their tops cut off.

I have a Pritchardia Hillebrandii which is a native Loulu or fan palm. It is in a 3 gallon pot but really needs to be in a bigger pot. It has been there for 4 years now. It is a rare palm and can eventually get to be 80 ft tall in about 70 years. Most of the fan palms planted around town are a non-native palm from the Philippines. The reason those palms are used is because they grow faster.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Alan212
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:18 pm
Location: Yulee, FL

Re: Palm placement ideas

imafan26 wrote:Palms are beautiful but the roots are fibrous and form an expanding ball and palms will lift driveways sidewalks and get under foundations and put the squeeze on the plumbing. Some literature says that rarely happens but I see it a lot here. People are especially fond of planting them about a foot from their driveway not realizing the palm trunk also expands as it grows and the driveway has a definite lift to it. You should be careful not to plant anything that grows vertically under your eaves. First rarely does it get watered there and when it grows it will be either touching the eaves or brushing the roof tiles. My termite guy said not to plant anything within 18-24 inches of the foundation. It is easier to do maintenance like inspect the foundation or paint or clean the windows and if you won't have roots and water working their way into the cracks in the foundation giving critters a way to get in.

So, to be safe, I would give your palms about 10-15 ft from structures and underground utilities. The roots won't show on the surface but in a few years if you try to dig around the palm you will need a jack hammer. Also take into consideration the height of the palms and the spread of the canopy. Some palms grow very slowly but in about 20 years they will be tall and wide. Clumping palms like areca palm make good house plants when they are small but they can get 20 ft tall and ten feet wide in ten years.

Washingtonia robusta can grow eventually to be 80 ft tall and will dwarf your house. Same thing happens when people plant Italian cypress. It looks great when they are small but they can get over 50 ft tall and don't look that good with their tops cut off.

I have a Pritchardia Hillebrandii which is a native Loulu or fan palm. It is in a 3 gallon pot but really needs to be in a bigger pot. It has been there for 4 years now. It is a rare palm and can eventually get to be 80 ft tall in about 70 years. Most of the fan palms planted around town are a non-native palm from the Philippines. The reason those palms are used is because they grow faster.

Thanks for the reply, really good info to think about. I'm leaning toward the left side of the yard to avoid damages to the driveway/sidewalks. Unfortunately, if I put it in front of the tree on the corner of my house it will be somewhat close to the sidewalk still. Any idea on how close you can put a palm without crowding the tree?

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