A lot of gardeners won’t say it. But knowing how to remove a palmetto tree is unlike the queen palm or other species.
It is MORE physically demanding and time-consuming. You will feel sore on EVERY muscle you have not used in a while.
And tackling the palmetto trunk above ground is ONLY half the battle; the REAL problem lies in their underground stems.
I learned this hard, spending several months to years before I could completely wipe off these ungracious palms from my yard.
Pardon my language. But you, too, will soon realize why.
But anyways, the sole purpose of this article is to make time your ally by showing you what works —because I have tried different removal strategies.
How To Remove A Palmetto Tree
I live in Florida where the Palmetto tree is native. Adding a couple of young palmetto trees to your landscape is almost a norm across the state.
With their long curving fronds and lushing green leaves, these small fan palms help create a sense of warmth and relaxation for many homes.
But as they slowly mature into adult trees, they transform into invasive and aggressive palms.
They look like timid stand-alone plants. However, this palm’s ability to create new sprouts several feet away from the original plant makes it dominant and territorial.
These sprouts are called suckers — baby palmettos.
And in a twinkle of an eye, your yard is flooded with unwelcomed baby palmettos.
That is why effectively removing a palmetto tree boils down to knowing which methods provide the best result.
While removing the parent plant, you can return and see baby palmetto waxing strong –taking their parent’s place.
I have gone through this before. So I know where to hit them and hit them hard.
If you seek an environmentally friendly way to do that, I’m afraid patience, persistence, and resilience are the true weapons.
And that is the first method we will discuss.
1. Mechanical Control Palmetto Plant
What comes to mind when removing a dwarf palm like Palmetto?
Chainsaw, axe, and shovels.
Palmetto isn’t as tall as most species. It can grow from 2 to 8 feet, although the wilds can exceed this length.
The point is you can feel confident taking them down manually. Besides, you don’t need a permit, so it is definitely worth considering.
However, it is not the most effective method. It is eco-friendly. But when you cut or dig out the primary plants, you leave behind some stretched roots.
This underground stream lives on and will produce new growth of suckers.
Taking the initiative to cut these suckers at the soil level to stop the spread is only a temporary solution.
Even worst, it provokes the palmetto to grow even more aggressively.
NOTE: the best way, after a hectic takedown, is to cut, uproot, and dislodge the rhizomes and stems. That will tame the plant.
2. Kill Palmetto Plant with Chemicals
Using Herbicides is preferable to the mechanical method, as it is more effective with pretty much no hassle.
Herbicides contain triclopyr —an active ingredient that eradicates trees to their small saplings or suckers. Although, you will need to apply them over and over (again) every once in four weeks, especially during summer.
The crux of the matter is there are dozen of herbicides, and not all are as effective in handling palmetto.
For every four ounces, mix with one gallon of water. That will serve 500 square feet of coverage.
But what I used to keep my under control was 2,4-D and metsulfuron-methyl. These products NEVER fail at the job, killing palmetto in no time.
That is because they contain “dicamba,” a ferocious substance that isn’t friendly with anything palmetto plants.
They come in two parts that make a more powerful combo and must be mixed before diluting in water and sprayed with an agricultural tank sprayer.
3. Manual And Chemical Methods Combined
When I decided to experiment with these two, I realized I had just cooked up a uniquely powerful tool fo put Palmetto to sleep.
My result was way better —the stickers died faster than the underground streams I couldn’t reach.
The first thing I did was shave around the bark off the trunk in a circumference. Only perform this ritual in the middle of the trunk.
Once done, drill halfway (with a 5/16-inch drill bit) through the middle.
Then, connect one end of a plastic tube to the hole and attach a funnel to the other end.
Feed the tree with a mixture of ¼ ounce of the glyphosate-containing herbicide and another ¼ ounce of water through the funnel.
Slowly allow the solution to drain deep without spillage. While this is the best strategy, it takes several months to see the effects and the plant slump.
There are other strategies, but they vaguely revolve around these three.
Removing and permanently killing a palmetto tree with suckers is not a day’s job —even with these formulas. It takes time.
And if, for whatever reason, you decided to keep your palmettos or a few of them, read up on the benefit of having a saw palmetto around. You would love them!
It is simple: “If you can’t remove them, make them work for you.”