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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 31, Issue 4 — July 2005

Palm Root Growth and Implications for Transplanting    (View PDF)

D.R. Hodel, D.R. Pittenger, and A.J. Downer

Abstract: Palms need active root and shoot growth to establish quickly after transplanting. For many palm species, roots grow most abundantly during warmer months and occur within 30 cm (12 in.) of the trunk. Thus, palms can be transplanted year-round in warm regions where air and soil temperatures are nearly always sufficient to ensure adequate root and shoot growth. However, in regions with cool seasons, palms are best transplanted at the beginning of the warm season. For most species, root balls with a 30 cm (12 in.) radius from the trunk and 30 cm (12 in.) deep are adequate because they capture over half the roots. The few species that must grow nearly all their new roots from the trunk after transplanting need a root ball only large enough to protect the root initiation zone, about 15 cm (6 in.) out from the trunk. Species that grow about 30% or more of their roots below 30 cm (12 in.) deep would probably benefit from a deeper root ball, about 60 cm (24 in.) deep.

Keywords: Palms; transplanting; time of year; root ball size; root growth; root initiation zone.

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