21 July 2016

Pruning the palm trees

     I've taken some crap about my habit of pruning the palm trees we've planted at False Bluff but recently I've had some people who previously questioned the habit ask for demonstrations at their own farms to teach their staff how and why.     
     It usually takes only a single swipe with a machete per frond (a frond is what passes for a branch on a palm tree but is essentially just a big leaf); and we have a lot of palm trees - literally hundreds - that are newly planted and young enough to have fronds still low enough to prune. 
     So the job to prune and then clean up is really time consuming but it's worthwhile for the aesthetics alone if nothing else. Pruning gets rid of the broken or yellowing older fronds and of the fronds that block the view of the sea. 
     And often I sacrifice even healthy fronds. This is especially true in the case of palm fronds that overhang the walkways, our pathways that are now really well defined by virtue of being lined with palm trees...or in the case of palm frond that might smack you in the face no matter where you walk. 
     I don't care if it's healthy and green: gone!
     But the most important reason I've found for pruning the trees is that the pruning at False Bluff has proven to make the trees grow faster - noticeably faster. 
     Since coconut trees are the ultimate single leader tree, when they're pruned there's only one way for the tree to grow and that's up. Kind of hard to miss the effects of pruning after a few years.