Plant Clinic

Palms need no trimming for hurricanes

Q. I have several beautiful palms in my yard and someone came by to tell me that I have to prune them for hurricane season. Should palm trees be hurricane pruned?

F.K., Weston

No. This practice is detrimental to the long-term health of palms. Palms by design do not provide much wind-resistance and therefore, are able to handle high winds with little damage. The only exception is to remove any coconut “nuts” before an impending storm.

Royal palms will naturally drop fronds during a severe storm but recover well. It will take about a year to produce a full canopy of fronds.

When doing routine maintenance of palms, only remove fronds that have turned completely brown. The plant is still using the nutrients and minerals in even partially green fronds.

If fronds are to be removed, only remove the ones below the 9 and 3 o’clock position on the canopy.

Insect Samples

Send undamaged (live or dead) insects in a crush-proof container such as a pill bottle or film canister with the top taped on. Mail them in a padded envelope or box with a brief note explaining where you found the insects.

Do not tape insects to paper or place them loose in envelopes. Insect fragments or crushed insect samples are almost impossible to identify.

Send them to the address of your county extension office, found in the blue pages in the phone book under county government.

Adrian Hunsberger is an entomologist/horticulturist with the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade Extension office. Write to Plant Clinic, 18710 SW 288th St., Homestead, FL 33030; e-mail

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