Ahhh, palm trees! That bright green pop against the clear, blue sky ignites feelings of bliss.
But the truth is, while palms may look carefree, their leaves, or fronds, may tell a different story! Most palms grow in soil that lacks essential nutrients, which is a big reason why palm fronds turn yellow.
So, what can you do to help make your palms’ existence as happy-go-lucky as they make you feel?
Read on to learn how to provide your palm the nutrients it needs with the right fertilizer!
What kind of fertilizer do you use on a palm tree?
When picking a fertilizer, you want to choose a slow-release formula made for palm and tropical trees.
A slow-release fertilizer made for palms will deliver the perfect amount of nutrients over several months' time. So, your tree will get lots of nitrogen and potassium as well as small amounts of other nutrients, like magnesium, manganese and iron.
Can you use a homemade fertilizer for palm trees?
Most homemade fertilizer mixes aren’t going to provide enough of the nutrients your tree needs.
For example, a common fertilizer recipe for palms includes cottonseed meal, dolomite lime, bone meal, kelp meal and used tea leaves.
With that mix, your tree won’t get enough iron, manganese or magnesium. Plus, if you live in the Western U.S., your soil is likely alkaline (meaning it’s high in pH). So, the calcium in the bone meal causes issues instead of solving them.
Another popular DIY palm tree fertilizer calls for beer, Epsom salt, ammonia and water. This one won't deliver enough potassium or nitrogen!
With fertilizers, you want to choose a mix that has been scientifically formulated to provide the nutrients your palm needs. A DIY blend will leave your palm craving the nutrients your mix lacks.
Is an Epsom salt fertilizer good for palm trees?
Epsom salt alone is not a good fertilizer for palms for the reasons mentioned above. And specifically, too much will cause potassium problems.
But if your palm is suffering from a magnesium deficiency, Epsom salt can be a good supplement in addition to regular fertilizer applications. If that’s the case, use Epsom salt. Sprinkle 2 to 3 pounds of Epsom salt under the tree’s canopy, then water.
When to Fertilize Palm Trees in Florida and Other States
If you live in Florida, your palms need a little extra attention because of the sandy soil and excess rain. So, fertilize your palm tree three or four times a year.
If you live in another state, two or three fertilizations are what your palm needs.