The Silver Queen Palm is a very popular and affordable tree. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful of the palms due to its long, plentiful flowing fronds. It is also one of the fastest growing of the palms and can get to heights of 50 feet in a relatively short period of time. It is also very hardy and if taken care of after planting will have a long healthy life. It is capable of withstanding some cold weather and with proper winterizing can survive in below freezing temperatures for some time.
As stated before, people like the Silver Queen for its beautiful flowing fronds, fast growth rate and affordable price. They are often used as the center piece of a landscaping theme and unlike many palms, silver queens provide excellent shade. There are no sharp thorns on the silver queen so they are safe for yards where children will play. If your Silver Queen palms are the correct species for you temperature zone, then once established they will need very little maintenance. Their size and full flowing crowns add beauty and elegance to any landscape. To grow beautiful, healthy Silver Queen palms you need to follow a few basic steps. Water, prune and fertilize and in some cases, winterize
Silver Queen palm trees grow best in moist soil and grow faster when they are well irrigated. But like most palm trees, they are also very drought resistant and can survive a dry season with relative ease. Watering Your Silver Queen palm trees is especially important right after planting. It is when the tree is at its weakest and will need constant water and nutrition to settle in. Newly planted Silver Queen trees must be watered once a day. The amount of irrigation needed depends on the size of the tree, but a guideline is to use 10 gallons of water for a palm that would fill a 10 gallon container, 25 gallons for a plant that would fill a 25 gallon and so on. After about a week, you can switch to every other day, then after a week go to 3 times a week for three weeks. Once the tree is well established watering 2-3 times per week is sufficient. In other words, water daily in the beginning and taper off slowly. Soil around the tree should be kept moist and never dry. To facilitate the watering process you can build a bowl out of soil around the palm and fill it up with water. This helps you to know when you have watered enough and you also save water in that all the water stays close to the tree. Also, using a trickle waterer or a bubbler will simplify the process and keep the water close to the palm. When it is raining you can stop watering until it is dry again.
Keeping your Silver Queen palm trees pruned and trimmed will add to the beauty of the tree. Knowing when and when not to trim is important. Palm tree fronds that are dead or broken and hang down below the perpendicular should be pruned. Fronds that are partially yellow or brown and are not broken should be left. The reason for this is that the tree uses nutrition from the dying fronds. When they hang down that is a good indication that they have served their purpose and are ready to trim. Fruit can be pruned with no problems. Again, for fronds only prune what you have to. As a general rule, you should only take off as many as were produced by the tree during the year. In other words, if the tree produces three new palm fronds and you prune five, you will weaken the tree and will eventually run out of fronds to cut. Basically, if you only cut dead fronds and keep the number of fronds at a consistent amount you should be good. Over trimming will make your tree susceptible to dry weather, disease and freezing temperatures.
This article will deal with fertilizing Silver Queen palms. The issue of fertilizing palms can be as simple as you want it to be. I prefer a simple, straight forward approach. Simply fertilize three times a year with a 3 month slow release fertilizer designed for palms. After applying the fertilizer simply water it in. Here are some guidelines for fertilizer amounts to use with Silver Queen palms. (These guidelines and are not to replace the fertilizer manufacturers instructions - follow the instructions on the bag and by all means do not over fertilize your trees) For the first fertilization after the tree is planted mix in the fertilizer at the time of planting to richen the soil taken from the hole. Mix two ounces of palm fertilizer per one inch of trunk diameter. If you wish, after planting and watering in the tree you can add one additional ounce of slow release palm fertilizer per three inches of trunk on the ground. This will give your Sabal Palm a good start.
After the Silver Queen is established you will use a different ratio for fertilizing. We recommend palm fertilizer that uses slow release pellets that contain 12 to 13 percent nitrogen, 3 to 4 percent potassium, 12 to 13 percent phosphorus plus trace elements. Use 8 ounces of the fertilizer per inch of trunk. Spread the palm fertilizer around the base of tree. (this is a guideline and is not intended to replace the instructions on the bag) If you wish you can till in the fertilizer in or just make some small holes in the ground around the tree. The safest method is to leave the fertilizer on the ground around the tree and let it enter the soil slowly.
Winter proofing your Silver Queen palms is only needed in colder climates where frost and freezing are possible. If the core temperature of a Silver Queen drops below the palms cold hardy temperature for an extended period of time then the palm can suffer tissue damage and/or die. Buying cold hardy palms is one keys to having nice palms in the colder regions. We have a list of cold hardy palms and a growing zone chart at this link. Try to purchase palms that have a minimum temperature tolerance that is close to or beneath your average winter low.
Cold weather can damage or kill a Silver Queen palmtree but maintaining a core temperature above the palms minimum temperature level will stop this from happening. To keep a larger palm like a silver queen warmer, people often wrap the trunk in burlap, bubble wrap or another material that will hold in heat. I like burlap because it tends to look a little less artificial and it dries out fast after wet. After wrapping the queen palm you can take christmas or decorative lights and wrap the trunk up to the major fronds. This will help keep the core temperature of the trunk from freezing. Some people will place pipes in the ground and run hot water through them to keep the soil warm as well. The colder your winter climate the more you will have to do to protect your palms. As previously mentioned, it is not a good idea to trim a palm right before the cold season. Fuller, more healthy palms will have a better opportunity to survive the cold when left alone and not shocked by excessive trimming before the winter.
We have more specific information on the Silver Queen Palm such as maximum height, cold hardiness, crown and trunk diameter, growth rate, planting zone and more here.
Here are a few do's and dont's.
- Silver Queen Palms do not require anything special that other palms do not require. Simply follow the instructions on the bag. Don't just cut open a bag and start pouring. You paid way to much for your tree to kill it the first season. Over fertilizing can kill young newly established trees.
- Also only put fertilizer on moist soil and after applying make sure to water it in.
- You should consider buying a slow release fertilizer. It will cost a little more but will give more even results and is easier on the tree. Plus it will be less work on you since it continues to work long after it is put down. Also, use a fertilizer with supplemental magnesium and calcium.
- Spread the fertilizer evenly all the way around the trunk of the tree and work it into the soil.
- Don't pour fertilizer directly on the crowns or trunks of your Silver Queen. Distribute it around the tree in the soil only. Also, don't just make a big pile.
- Don't fertilize bone dry soil.
- Don't over fertilize. Better to use too little than too much.
We have written a series of articles on the "CARE & MAINTENANCE" of the different types of palm trees. The first article below is a general care guide for all palms and the subsequent articles are species specific. They are listed alphabetically :
General Care for all Palm Trees - Basic upkeep guide for all Palm Trees.
Caring for your "Phoenix Reclinata" Palm Trees - General care tips on keeping your Phoenix Reclinata (Senagal Date Palm) healthy.
Caring for your Sabal / Sable Palm Trees - General care tips on keeping your Sabal/Sable Palm Tree healthy.
Caring for your Silver Queen Palm Trees - General care tips on keeping your Silver Queen Palm Tree healthy.
The articles below list the "SPECIFICATIONS" for various popular palm trees. The information includes maximum height, diameter, growth rate, cold hardiness, crown diameter, growth zone and cost. They are listed alphabetically below :
The Phoenix Reclinata (Senegal Date Palm) - General information and specs on the Phoenix Reclinata.
The Sabal Palm Tree (Cabbage Palm) - General information and specs on the Sabal Palm.
The Silver Queen Palm Tree - General information and specs on the Silver Queen Palm.