vPalms for Dallas Gardens                    

By Tony Cerbone



v     Sabal minor is native to Dallas County

v     Other palms Native to Texas- Sabal mexicana and Brazoria county sabal

v     Palms that do well in Dallas (varieties)

o       Sun-     

§         Sabal mexicana (texana)

§         Washingtonia filifera, and not to use W. robusta, how to tell difference

§         Brahea armata  

§         Butia capitata

§         Chamaerops humilis- several varieties

§         Sabal palmetto

§         Sabal louisiana

§         Jubea chilensis

o       Shade/part shade

§         Sabal minor

§         Brazoria county or Sabal X texensis

§         Trachycarpus fortunei-afternoon shade

§         Rhapidiophyllum hystrix- Needle Palm (The most cold hardy)

§         Chamaedora radicalis and microspadix


v     Installation & Cultivation


o       Plant at ground level- after soil warms in mid- April through November for bare rooted

o       September planting for potted seedlings or container grown transplants- after summer's heat and during fall's rainy season.

o       Mulch

o       Wrap during cold spell… less than 15°F for first two winters

o       Siting: walls, and fences enhance your microclimate. Keep out of wind, and low spots where cold accumulates

o       Water at roots not foliage- prevent Phytophora

o       Provide good drainage


v     Fertilizer-

§         Black soils: ph 7-8 just add sulphur

§         Black and white: more sulphur, organic matter

§         White limestone: bring in topsoil

§         Add mulch and organic matter.

§         For palms that you bare root install, don't dig a $5.00 hole for a $50 palm. If you buy an expensive bare root palm prepare the hole by digging it larger than the root ball and ensuring good drainage and organic matter.

§         Don't love your palms to death by over fertilizing! We have innately fertile soils at one time rated among the most fertile in the US by the USDA.

§         Over fertilizing with nitrogen, in our clay soils can cause micronutrient imbalances. Resulting in Manganese and K deficiencies


·        Manganese deficiency… Frizzle top and purple color only in New growth. New leaves that emerge are chlorotic, weak, reduced in size, scorched, withered and frizzled. Avoid hot organic fertilizers like chicken manure etc in higher ph soils. If many other plants in your garden are chlorotic you have a higher ph soil. Most soils in the Dallas are between 7-8 ph. Since Manganese is a micronutrient it appears in the new leaves first. It is caused by its insolubility in high ph soils. Also, cold soil temps in winter and spring reduce root activity and especially the uptake of Mn.


·        K or Potassium deficiency- since K is a macronutrient its symptoms occur on older leaves first. When older leaves die at alarming rate and new bud is green and tight, reduce application of nitrogen in wet clay soils. Usually it begins with the appearance of translucent yellow or orange spots. These usually become necrotic spots. Usually the leaf becomes withered. The K is usually translocated from the older leaves, causing the symptoms and moved to the new growth. Once all the K has been remove from the old leaves and they die off, the palm begins to decline. In Dallas, this often occurs by excessive Nitrogen fertilization. Using lawn fertilizer high in N, dumped at the base of a palm with the intention of creating fast growth. Instead K symptoms begin and can lead to death. Supply SulPoMag to lower the ph and not create a K-Mg imbalance.



·        Nitrogen- Not a serious threat, but symptoms include an overall light green color in older leaves first and decreased vigor. Caused by cold soil temps, occurs every winter in our area. Also caused by waterlogged soils. Over watering in heavy clay in the summer with poor drainage. Correct by lightly applying Nitrogen or reduce watering/improve drainage.



v     Sensitivity to cold-

§         Roots- most sensitive, but protected by ground heat

§         Leaves emerging spears, first to be damaged in cold winters.

§         Last damaged are the petioles, if they are not dead the palm will return.

§         Apply Bordeaux or Alliete

§         Wrap with old blanket first two winters until it becomes established!!! Always


v     Diseases, pests.

§         Palm scale- apply horticultural oil plus pesticides formulated for scales. You have to kill the two stages of scale. The adult and crawler stage. If you catch the scale infestation early, you can maintain a scale free garden.

§         Freeze damage- alliete or Bordeaux solution: don't remove any green leaves. Clean up in June

§         Phytophora bud rot- Over watering in heavy clay during hot summer months causes new emerging bud to rot while old leaves are green. Reduce water and apply antifungal, like Alliete.

§         Try to leave as many leaves as possible to help establish the palm, don't over prune

§         Rate of growth from 3- 25 leaves/ season depending on species.

§         Regular water during the hot summer will greatly increase the speed of growth of palms.

§         Stop all watering by Thanksgiving to encourage dormancy, to increase cold hardiness.


o       Not widespread in Dallas area yet.

§         Curculio beetle

§         Palm leaf skeletonizer

§         Palm scale, specific to Palms.  Very difficult to eradicate once established. Comstockiella sabalis

§         When bringing palms in from other areas make sure they don't harbor diseases and pests that could affect our mostly palm pest free area




v     Places to view palms:

§         Fair Park

§         Texas discovery gardens- Palmetum there

§         Food and Fiber Building- W. filifera

§         Women's Building

·        Greenhouses- Sabal X texensis

§         Oak Lawn- Post properties

§         Travel lodge on Market center Blvd.

§         Sipango- Knox-Henderson- Sabal palmetto

§         Hard Rock Café- Sabal mexicana (texana)

§         Dallas and Fort Worth Zoo Large Trachycapus fortunei

§         Dallas Arboretum


§         Purchase

·        Home depot

·        Lowes

·        Walmart

·        Dallas Farmers Market

·        Yucca do nursery in Hempstead 979-826-4580

·        Houston-  Gardens nursery Red Tents, especially after July 1st



For more info:

Tony Cerbone's website


 or phone 214-373-4559