Monday, December 5, 2011

How to Transplant Saw Palmetto in Your Landscape

Dried saw palmetto fruits are used in medicinal preparations.

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Saw palmetto gets its name from its jagged-edged sawlike fronds. A member of the palm family, saw palmetto is a multistem variety that grows 2 to 9 feet tall. The stems often grow laterally along the ground creating a sprawling plant. Saw palmetto is native to South Carolina, Florida and parts of Louisiana. It tends to grow wild on coastal planes and grows well in areas that rarely drop below 25 F in winter. Summer temperatures above 97 F can stress these plants. Transplant a saw palmetto into your landscape to create a habitat and food source for native birds and animals and a focal point in the garden.

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Pick a location in part shade or sun. Saw palmetto grows well in sandy dry soil or heavy poorly draining soil, making this a truly adaptable native palm for the landscape.


Measure the diameter of the nursery container the saw palmetto is in and then dig a hole twice the size of the pot. Dig the planting hole so it is the same depth as the nursery pot.


Lay the container with the saw palmetto on its side being careful not to break any of the laterally growing branches. Wiggle the nursery pot off the root ball.


Inspect the roots for signs of rot or damage and trim off any affected areas. Leave any of the roots that wrap around the root ball.


Roll the root ball into the planting hole. Place a shovel handle or a dowel across the planting hole. Add or remove soil under the saw palmetto root ball until the place where the bottom of the trunk begins to turn into roots is at the same level as the dowel.


Hold the saw palmetto upright with one hand and push the extra soil back around the soil with your other hand. Gently pack down the soil as you go to fill in all the air pockets around the roots.


Water right away. It is important to water newly transplanted palm trees within six hours of planting to prevent them from drying out.


Fertilize the new transplant after planting. Apply a fertilizer high in nitrogen, like a 25-5-5. Spread the fertilizer in a circle starting 6 inches from the base of the trunk and extending out to 12 inches from the base of the trunk.

ReferencesFlorida Forest Plants: Saw PalmettoSmithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce: Sereno RepensUniversity of Florida IFAS Extension; Transplanting Palms in the Landscape; Timothy K. BroschatPhoto Credit Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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