Updated: Nov 28, 2022
Mexican fan palms are a tall, aggressive growing palm tree, that thrive in the Las Vegas Valley. In ideal conditions they can reach heights of almost 100ft.
Native to Baja California, these trees are widely planted across Clark County, though they are actually quite invasive. We recommend against planting these trees in Las Vegas, and encourage property owners to remove them if they have the means.
Desert Fan Palms are a native alternative for property owners looking for a similar aesthetic.
How do you care for Mexican Fan Palms?
These palms don’t need much help, as stated above, they are invasive in Southern Nevada. We recommend yearly trimming to prevent spreading seeds, pests, and fire hazard from built up dead fronds. Mexican Fan Palms left unchecked can become a miniature ecosystem onto themselves, and one tree can quickly turn into a grove.
When do you trim Mexican Fan Palms?
We recommend trimming a Mexican Fan Palm Tree from late June - August. This is when the palms produce their seed pods, and they can be trimmed out at the same time. This prevents debris, and the invasive spread of the palm seeds.
If the seed pods are cut out too early the palms will make more. We also like to wait until after they are completely done flowering for the benefit of local pollinators.
Palm trimming season has a slight overlap with bird nesting season. We have a strict do not disturb policy and work may need to be modified if active nests are found.
For clients that like keeping a very manicured look year round we recommend a second trimming around December/January.
How Do You Trim A Mexican Fan Palm?
Industry standard is to trim off just the dead fronds, any damaged or diseased fronds, and remove the seed pods. Typically we trim the green fronds off to a “10 and 2” or “11 and 1” position, also described as an “inverse pyramid”. We find that this is the aesthetic that most customers like and are expecting.
“Rooster Tailing” - cutting off all but the very center fronds, is highly ill advised. Cutting off more fronds makes the trunk grow thinner, and puts the tree at risk for structural failure.
Palm Tree Skinning
Palm tree skinning is the process of removing the outer layer of bark from the trunk of the palm tree. Palm skinning is mostly for aesthetic purposes.
How Do You Skin A Mexican Fan Palm?
Skinning a fan Palm is done by making horizontal cuts along the trunk with a razor, and removing the layers of bark, or “boots”, piece by piece.
Why Is The Bark Flaking Off My Palm Tree?
The outer layer of bark wears down over time, and begins to flake off. Also, when a Mexican Fan Palm reaches a certain height, the old fronds and boots no longer stay attached to the trunk, and fall off on their own.
Mexican Fan Palm Removal
Mexican Fan Palms are often planted or sprout up in poor locations, quickly out growing the space. Clients often have other issues, such as their invasiveness, debris/messiness, ongoing cost of trimming, pests, risk to property etc. These would all be indications for removing the palm.
How Do You Remove A Mexican Fan Palm?
Palm trees can be cut down more or less like any other tree. Extremely tall trees, or palm trees growing in tight spaces will need to be climbed or reached with a lift to cut the tree apart in small pieces and lowered down.
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