Royal Palm Row
The Royal Palm Row is complete! It’s been years in the making, but we finally developed the ultimate palm tree growing system.
In the beginning, we simply placed the small potted palms on the bare ground. This was fine until the rains came in June, quickly followed by the weeds. Ever try weeding between 1000 plastic pots? Not fun, and it takes forever.
The next attempt involved nursery cloth. Nursery cloth is similar to tarp material, only it allows water to flow through it. It also allows ants to tunnel through it. The ants pile the dirt on top of the nursery cloth, the weeds grow in the dirt, and we’re back to the original problem.
The next idea involved wood pallets. These are basically free, and would raise the pots off the ground. We drenched 10 pallets with wood preservative, stapled nursery cloth to one side, and crossed our fingers. At first this seemed like it was going to work, but as time went by dirt and water from the pots rotted the wood. After only one year the pallets were literally crumbling.
Surfing Craigslist for farming supplies, I stumbled onto the answer: Plastic Pallets! The pallets in this ad didn’t have any holes for weeds to grow through. They were also UV stable, heavy duty, and best of all – would not rot. That weekend I hitched up the trailer, drove to Fort Lauderdale, and bought 30 of them! And not a moment too soon.
Two years ago we had rescued 86 baby Royal Palms from the landscaper’s weed whacker. They were potted and placed in a shaded irrigation pergola were they could grow in peace. And grow they did! After only two years the Royal Palms were growing through the top of the 8 foot high structure, sending spears through the shade cloth. It was time for a move.
We already had an irrigated row ready to go thanks to MattyB! Only a couple custom mods were needed to make it perfect for the fast growing Royals. When planted in the ground, Royal Palm roots spread out wide before they grow tall. While in pots, the roots can not spread out, so they are very top-heavy. Because of this, they need to be tied to something to keep from being knocked over by the wind.
We sunk 4 x 4’s into the ground every 20 feet and ran a plastic coated wire along the top. This provides the needed support, and at the perfect height, 5 feet above the ground.
After placing 20 of the plastic pallets in the row, the 86 Royal Palms were moved out of the pergola to their new home. Each tree was plumbed with it’s own spot spitter, a water metering device used to deliver the right amount of water to each tree without overwatering. Next, we tied all 86 royal palms to the coated wire using nylon duct strap. This inexpensive strapping is used by the HVAC industry to hang flex duct from wood roof trusses.
With that last step, the new Royal Palm Row is complete! This latest project has been the result of much trial and error , but hopefully our new palm tree growing system will allow us to spend more time growing, and less time weeding.