Industry News: Tree Planting Tips and Species Recommendations

Q: Can pouring 2 feet of soil above the root ball kill queen palms?

Monday, January 4, 2016  
We have four queen palms in our backyard in California, and the landscaper is in the progress of building up a pony wall and creating planters to contain the palms. This means that when they pour the dirt and soil in the planters, the new level will come up the trunk of the palm another 18 to 24 inches. Someone mentioned this could kill our palms. Please help!

A: Yes, this could kill the palms. If you excavate down a little bit, you should be able to expose the top of the root ball. It should be flat, with soil that is a different color than the surrounding soil. The maximum amount of soil placed over the root ball should not exceed 1 to 2 inches. Any more than that prohibits oxygen and water from reaching the roots and will kill the palms. One option would be to build retainer walls on all four sides of each of the four palms, essentially creating deep tree wells. If you live in the Los Angeles area and would like me to schedule a site visit, please let me know, and I will quote you on consultation fee.


Responder: Ted Lubeshkoff, RCA #513, Duarte, CA