How to Transplant a Palm Tree

small palm tree in a pot
What You'll Need
Sand based compost
Burlap cloth

Palm trees create a distinctive outline on the horizon, creating a tropical vibe while adding appeal to the space. Whether you’ve picked up a palm tree from a nearby nursery or are moving it from one location to another, it’s important to pay attention to the details when settling it into its new home. While transplanting a palm tree is not difficult, you must take precaution not to damage the plant. Before you bring a new tree to your yard, pick out a spot that receives full sun and has well-draining soil. With the right location picked out, follow these steps to transplant your palm tree.

Step 1 - Dig the Hole

digging dirt with a shovel

Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball of the palm. Make sure it is deep enough to partially cover the roots. The aeration in the soil will keep the palm happy and help prevent transplant shock.

Step 2 - Prepare the Transplant

If you are digging up the plant that you are transplanting, start by creating a circle around where the main root supply is. Tenderly dig the root ball out of the ground. When pulling the plant out, try not to damage the roots. Wet the burlap cloth and wrap the root system while you finish preparing the new hole.

Step 3 - Lift the Palm Tree

Lift the tree from the base of the roots with support up to the top of the tree. Take care not to damage the bud of the tree as this is where new growth comes in.

If you are using machinery, still lift from the bottom and allow for support at the top. Keep the tree in an upright position throughout the move.

Step 4 - Place in Shallow Hole

When you transplant, make sure that you do not plant the palm too deep. The top of the root system should be above the top of the soil. Fill the hole with a good quality compost mixed with added fertilizer and some sand for drainage.

Step 5 - Water

Give the new transplant lots of water, and let the water compact the dirt down into the hole. Add more dirt, and let that settle in as well. Keep the soil moist, but do not overwater.

Check the water level weekly to make sure that the soil is not too wet. Too much moisture will cause root rot that can decay the root system and lead to the tree falling over or dying.

Step 6 - Mulch

a handful of mulch

Add about three inches of mulch around the base of the tree but not touching the trunk. The mulch will break down over time and act as a fertilizer as well as keep the exposed roots healthy and safe until they establish themselves.

Transplanting palm trees is similar to moving other plants. Growing palm trees after they have been transplanted takes just a little extra care to prevent transplant shock. The soil preparation and the new location for the tree are very important. Be sure to take all of this into consideration before you start a transplant project.