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a reflection of our in house procedures and practices. We offer
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ever as to the correctness or fitness of purpose of any of the
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assurance of correct handling, installation and maintenance.
Island Date Palm
Island Date palms are native to the Canary Islands which are
located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of northeast Africa.
Cold hardy Canary Island Date palms are popular landscape items
in near warm climates around the world.
In the Canary Islands, the leaves are used to
make baskets and to decorate houses and churches on Palm Sunday.
The trunks are also tapped to produce a thick sweet syrup, “palm
Canary Island Date Palms can grow up to 60' (18m) and have:
The Canary Island Date Palm tree is a suckering palm that is
usually pruned to have only one trunk. Trimmed in this manner
the tree will grow to heights of 100 feet. Leaflets near the
base are modified into 3-4 inch spines. The yellow-orange to red
fruit, called 'dates', are oblong and about 1.5 inches in
length. They consist of a large pointed seed surrounded by sweet
sugary flesh. Dates are formed from flowers on 4 foot
inflorescences that emerge from among the leaves in spring. Male
and female flowers grow on separate plants. Only female plants
produce dates and only if a male tree is nearby. Dates are not
formed in climates that are too cool.
Canary Island Date palm tree has been utilized as a theme
generating focal point in landscapes worldwide for decades. Its
majesty and substantial presence make the Canary Island Date
Palm a powerful choice where you a looking to bring natural
maturity to a site. Utilized in rows or as a freestanding
centerpiece, there really aren't many locations on site where
you cannot use Canary Island Date palm tree successfully.
Probably the best adjective that one could use to describe
Canariensis is Stunning.
The Canary Island Date Palm is very widely
planted as an ornamental plant in warm temperate regions of the
world, particularly in areas with Mediterranean climates, where
temperatures never fall below −10 °C. It can be grown from
southernmost England in the north to New Zealand in the south.
It is particularly popular in Spain, Italy, Greece, southern
France, warmer parts of the USA, Australia and South Africa.
This very slow growing tree can take up to
fifteen years or more to reach a height of 3 m and is generally
propagated by seed. Its drought tolerance contributes to its
widespread use as a roadside or park landscaping element.
Due to the palm's eventual size, it is not
recommended for smaller residential gardens or yards. In
addition, dead leaves must be removed by hand and the petioles
produce hooked spines that can be quite dangerous.
Height: 40-60 feet (12-18 meters)
Spread: 20-25 feet (6-7.5 meters)
Leaf: 12-18 inches (31-46 cm)
General Care Tips
Canary Island Date Palms need full sun. Trees tolerate a variety
of moist, well-drained soils. Prune sparingly. Avoid damaging
lower trunk and roots.
Things to Watch For
Insect pests include giant palm weevil, palm leaf skeletonizer
and scales. Trees are vulnerable to
yellowing disease and leaf spot.
Since arriving in Australia on the
First Fleet, hardy palms have contributed to some of our
most distinctive landscapes, such as St Kilda beach in
Melbourne. Of the 2800 worldwide species of palms, less
than 20 are regarded as hardy in a Mediterranean
climate. This means that, having been planted and
watered in, they then have to survive on natural
rainfall. In North Adelaide 60 palms had to be moved to
accommodate a widening of the road. It is a tribute to
their toughness that they were moved in the hottest
February on record with 100% success.
The hardiest palm for Australia's
Mediterranean-climate areas would have to be
Phoenix canariensis, the Canary Island Date
Palm, named for its place of origin. Provided it is
not subject to frost in its early years it'll thrive on
low rainfall and live for at least 200 years. The
Cretian Date Palm (Phoenix theophrastii)
is a grey-leaved palm from Crete, where the climate is
just as hot as in Adelaide. It is named after
Theophrastus, the third century Greek scholar who wrote
nine books that became, effectively, the first botanical
To prune any of these palms, use an
offset lopper, leather gloves and a leather apron as the
fronds are very sharp-edged. Never use a chainsaw on
them - you'll wreck the chain. It's better to buy a
disposable, cheap pruning saw costing about $9 than to
replace a $35 chainsaw chain.
To propagate palms from seed, squeeze
the stone out of a ripe date and wash it clean. Push it
under the surface of standard potting mix in a
terracotta squat pot. Providing the soil temperature can
be raised to 33* C it will germinate. Try putting it
onto an actively brewing compost heap to achieve this
temperature. It will germinate into a single root and
leaf. Let a potful of these seedlings sit for a year
then pot them out to other pots or to the piece of
ground where they are to grow.
The Waite Arboretum at the University of Adelaide has a
display of hardy Dwarf Date Palms (Phoenix
roebelenii). These can start out their lives as
indoor potted palms. Unlike other palms, after 7 or 8
years they can be transferred outside, where they will
survive quite well.
One of the most overlooked of the
hardy palms is the Jelly Palm or Yatay
(Butia capitata). In a dry site it will grow
to about 12m in 70 - 80 years. In a lawn it will grow a
lot faster. From late summer to early autumn, the palm
abounds with succulent tasty fruit tasting like a cross
between a sour plum and an apricot. They can be used to
make Jelly Palm wine.
are very popular in public and roadside places because
they are tolerant of pollution and shed their own
fronds, maintaining a clean-looking trunk. At the
Millswood railway station, Washingtonia filifera
var. robusta have been growing for
80-100 years. Very thick trunks and lack of height
indicates that these have not received a lot of water
over the years. As a specimen in someone's home garden,
where they would get a lot more water, they would grow
twice as high with a much thinner trunk.
Jones, David, Palms in Australia (Reed Books, Australia,
The Canary Island Date Palm
(Phoenix canariensis) is grown everywhere in
Australia. As each frond is heavily armed with spines,
it's safest to prune off the oldest fronds before they
die. Otherwise they can fall on people below and deliver
a nasty wound.
Birds, possums and rats sometimes live
in their crowns, coating the spines with droppings and
bacteria. The spine tips are very fragile and they can
often remain in the slightest of wounds. If they are not
cleaned up, this can lead to blood poisoning.
The safest way to prune them is to
wear sturdy gauntlets and to cut off the non-spiny parts
of the fronds first. The fibres in the fronds clog up
most chippers so recycling them is very hard.
Next, trim off the spiny sections and
keep them separate, perhaps in a cardboard carton. Put a
warning sign on the carton so that when waste collectors
pick them up they know exactly what they are handling.
Remember, if you are spiked, always
seek professional advice and do so promptly.
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