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Growing and Caring for Date Palms

Purchase a date palm

The date palm, or Phoenix dactylifera, has arching, grey-green and waxy fronds that can reach more than 10 feet long. It has a commanding presence with its stately crown. Panicles of pale yellow flowers appear in spring, which give way to edible, oblong fruits that begin as green in colour and turn brown as they ripen. If you plan to purchase a date palm, remember that the plant is still growing and grows only a few feet per year on average. Let us see the best way to plant and care for a date palm.

Date palms can be planted in early spring or fall. If you want to transplant the tree rather than start from seed, aim to plant it on a day that isn't too windy, or the tree might sustain damage to its frond as it moves. Before you purchase a date palm, make sure you select a suitable panting site for the tree. Pick a spot with plenty of space that gets a lot of sun and has sharp soil drainage. Also, ensure that nearby plants will not shade the young palm as it grows.

For planting the tree, make sure that you dig a hole that is twice as wide than the palm's root ball. Consider a mature plan's 20 to 40-foot spread when deciding its position near other plants and structures. A support structure is usually unnecessary, but you may protect the young palm from strong winds until the roots are established.

Caring for a Date Palm

  • Light: date palms love plenty of sunshine and prefer a hot, dry climate. They can tolerate light shade but thrive better in full sun. They require at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days.
  • Soil: an important factor to consider when choosing the location of your date palm is well-draining soil. The tree does well in loamy or sandy soils and is tolerant of salt. They prefer a slightly acidic to alkaline soil pH.
  • Water: date palms are drought tolerant, especially once fully established. However, they should have even moisture during the flowering and fruiting season to produce a healthy crop. Young trees also need more water than mature trees. So do not let the soil completely dry out and prevent it from becoming soggy.
  • Temperatures and humidity: The date palm prefers dry, hot and sunny conditions. Temperatures should be around 95 F for pollination to occur. Although it can tolerate temperatures of 20 F, cold weather can damage the fronds or kill the tree. The fruit does best in dry heat. Excess humidity and moisture can cause rotting.
  • Fertiliser: manure is an excellent option for date palms. If you want to use packaged fertiliser, it is recommended that you opt for specialty palm tree fertiliser. Late winter or early spring is the best time to apply fertiliser as it helps to prepare the tree for its flower and fruit production.
  • Pollination: Date palms have separate male and female trees, with only the female plants bearing fruits. So, it is recommended that you have a male plant per every six female plants. Pollination takes place through the wind.  

Summing Up

These are some crucial things to remember when buying and growing a date palm to have a thriving palm.

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