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Trimming-Tall-Palm.jpg

Trimming Tall Palm

I have a single stem palm tree six to seven feet tall. All the growth is at the top with 4 feet of empty stem at the bottom. Before the plant hits the ceiling, how can I shorten the stem - air layer?

This is a common dilemma faced by many successful gardeners.  Air layering is the least risky method of handling this problem.  It allows the top portion of the plant to form roots while still attached to the existing root system.  Cut halfway into the stem at the point you want to start a new plant.  Wedge open the cut with a wooden match or toothpick.  Treat the cut area with a rooting hormone, cover with moist sphagnum peat and wrap with plastic.  In one to two months roots will appear.  You can then cut beneath the rooted area, remove the plastic and plant the rooted in a well-drained potting mix.  I have also been successful making a stem cutting. Cut off the top, leafy, portion of the stem. Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone and place it in moist vermiculite or a well-drained potting mix.  Once rooted the cutting started in vermiculite can be transplanted into a potting mix. There is greater risk but less work involved in this method.  Cut the remaining stem back to several inches above the soil line.  The palm will often re-sprout and you can start all over.

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