well established palm trees

Planting a tree, shrub, or palm on your property requires extra care until the plant is established. Established can be a vague term. What does it mean for a plant to become “established”, and how do you know when this occurs?

Imagine you are used to living in a hot and humid place, and you suddenly, without warning, move to a new home in a colder, windier place. There is going to be a period of transition while you get accustomed to your new environment. Temperature, environment, wind or sun exposure, and even food may differ. This is exactly what a plant experiences when moving from its comfortable, temperature-controlled environment in a nursery, to its new home. It takes time for a person to get accustomed to new surroundings; a plant is no different. We can't expect a human or plant to become established in its new environment overnight.

In order to be able to have a clearer idea of when your palm is established, we must first determine what it means for a plant to be fully established.

What does it mean for a plant to be fully established?

A plant is considered to be fully established when its roots have grown and expanded into the soil around it. Because it is a bad idea to dig and check on the roots, we need to rely on other signs that are easier to check. Some of these signs may not occur in all cases, but the more information you have, the more chances you have that your plant is going in the right direction. While these signs may not occur, the more elements you know to look for, the greater the chance of determining when your palm has been fully established.

  • Sign 1: New growth - You see new leaves sprouting out of multiple points in your plant.
  • Sign 2: Sturdiness - If you try to tug or push the plant (if it has a trunk), it seems solid in the soil.
  • Sign 3: Less watering - You are able to cut down on watering; your plant tolerates more time in between watering sessions without signs of stress.
  • Sign 4: Healthy color - Plant leaves or fronds are the correct color; there is no wilting or yellowing.
  • Sign 5: Healthy soil - The soil around the plant has a healthy brown color that is not too crumbly, water-logged, or stiff.
  • Sign 6: Recovery from transplant shock - Transplant shock happens to some plants when they are newly planted. Leaves may wilt, change color, or even fall. Normally, this is the time when the roots need to be watered most often until the plant gains strength and starts recovering. Seeing the color and health of a plant improve after it suffered transplant shock is a great indicator that it is established or nearly established.

Time Is the Best Indicator

Time will tell. There are many factors such as plant size, plant variety, climate, and planting location that can affect how long the establishment process can take. Generally, 2 to 3 months after planting, you hope to have a healthy-looking plant. Once a plant has been growing in similar conditions for a period of time, it can be considered to be established. Fully established can take up to a year or more in some cases, but this can vary.

What about my palms?

In the case of palms, we are lucky. They are one of the easiest plants to transplant due to their fibrous root system, as opposed to a taproot system. However, palms may take a little longer to recover from the shock of being moved from a very warm nursery to a cooler climate, or if the palm was mishandled while being transported. This is why it is a good idea to buy your palms from Atlanta Palms. We source plants that are grown only in the best conditions in order to make the transition to your yard as smooth as possible.

Other Variables

Not all palms get established in the same timeline. Some of the variables that are important to note are: whether the palm is a container palm or Bnb. Container palms adapt differently than Bnb palms. Container palms like Pindo Palms, tend to get established faster because their roots are less likely to have received any previous trauma. Bnb plants may be recovering from the loss of roots when they were cut from the ground and wrapped in the rootball. Under normal circumstances, palms are fully established after 2-3 months if planted from a root ball and 1-2 months if planted from a container. Although this gives you an idea of when a palm is established, if you have any doubts you can always reach out to the expert team at Atlanta Palms for more information.