Hurricane Ian took a toll on the whole of Florida but hit the Lee County area particularly hard. Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson described the scene as “horrific” and nearing “total devastation.” While our initial thoughts and prayers were with the families and their homes that no longer stand due to the Hurricane, we must now turn our attention to an optimistic future. Although your landscape might be damaged, it does not have to be dead. Especially palm trees, which are the signature of Florida, and probably your property as well. Taking on Hurricane levels of water is not good for any plant material, especially not palms. As tolerant as they are to tropical conditions, no amount of evolution can prepare you for mother nature and her hurricanes. These are a few steps you can take to help your drenched palm trees recover.
Important: How Palm Trees Grow
Yes, palm trees grow like all other plant material, utilizing a combination of nutrients to grow out their foliage, or fronds, healthy and strong. However, the way in which they do this is slightly different. The primary part of the palm that grows is the apical meristem, which is also referred to as the heart of the palm. This is the bud you can see at the top of the trunk, out from which shoot the leaves of the tree. So, when it comes to determining damage, this is where you should pay attention. If this bud is completely destroyed, there is no saving the palm.
Immediate Palm Tree Care: Drenched Roots
Assuming the heart of the palm is still intact, you are going to first want to counteract the saltwater flooding. This water does not possess the nutrients needed by your palms, but actually, all sorts of bacteria and fungi from the ocean can be harmful. To counteract this and the stress put on your tree by high winds and dislodged roots, your palm tree can use a burst of fertilizer. When we say drench, we mean drench, as your tree will be grasping for any available nutrients to stay healthy. Additionally, add some fresh water to the soil to prevent necrosis of canopy leaves. If you are not comfortable doing this on your own, our team at Estate will make every effort to fit you into our busy schedule with all of the hurricane-related maintenance still on our plate.
There is one caveat to this, and that is if the palm tree has been uprooted and replanted, it should not be fertilized until new growth has begun.
Long-Term Palm Health Post-Hurricane
An unfortunate reality of a severe storm like Hurricane Ian is that you may not know if your palm tree is going to survive until signs appear six months later. It will take at least this long for the palm to show new leaves, and even then they might not be normal. It could take several rounds of growth for the palm to get back to the growth that is normal. One problem many property owners run into is that they do not know what problems the palm tree had before the storm, such as nutrient deficiency or trunk damage. These can also play a factor, but you will have to work with your landscaper while you wait and see.
For more information on how Estate Landscaping can take care of your landscaping needs, give us a call at (239) 498-1187, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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