Can I cut the top off a palm tree? – Get The Full Details (2022)

We use affiliate links. If you purchase something using one of these links, we may receive compensation or commission.

Palm trees have thousands of sub-species and most of them continue to grow in the course of their lifespan. Having said that, it’s only natural that people be worried that they are going to grow too tall so pruning or trimming them is the only way to go.

But, one must be careful when going about pruning a palm tree and be mindful to do it the right way, or else you will put a stop to its growth entirely. Can I cut the top off a palm tree? No, you can’t for if you do so, the stump would eventually dry off and the tree will die.

Let’s expound on this topic some more.

Things you should know about your palm tree

Our topic question boils down to the fact that as mentioned, palm trees tend to continually grow in the course of their lifespan, and to some, this may not exactly be a good thing. So questions about cutting it off arise.

Palm trees commonly live between 40 to 90 years depending on their species with some reaching the century-year-old mark. It’s also safe to say that palm trees’ growth would depend on the species too so do a little bit of research to find out more about what type of palm tree you have before deciding on or deciding against pruning it.

As far as height is concerned, palm trees on average can grow between 32 to about 50 feet tall. There are smaller species though that range from 4 to 20 feet tall with taller species growing to 65 and 180 feet tall with the tallest ones being 200 feet plus tall. What species grows to be 200 feet tall? The wax palm tree does!

So, how come cutting the top off of a palm tree is not advisable?

Unless you wanted your palm tree to wither or die than go ahead and cut its top off or cut the trunk. But if not, then don’t.

This is because a palm tree is what we call a monocotyledon plant so you may think of them as a flowering plant rather than an actual tree. Think about it, if you cut a plant’s bud before it produces a flower, will it still produce one in the future? Naturally, it won’t.

If you cut its top off then you’d be better off removing the trunk altogether for it won’t grow anymore and might just pose some danger in the near future when it starts to become unstable due to withering.

So, knowing if you want to remove the palm tree altogether or just prune it goes a long way for the tree and for safety purposes.

Some other factors that affect the growth of a palm tree would include:

  • the climate of the region that it is in either tropical or sub-tropical
  • environmental conditions
  • if the tree sustains to deliver water to its required parts
  • any mechanical damage from instances like lightning strikes, storms, or strong winds
  • infestations caused by insects or any other diseases the tree experiences in its lifetime

How to cut the trunk of a palm tree properly?

Can you use a chainsaw for palm trees? Or can you use a pole saw for palm trees?

Yes, you may, and the good news is that using such tools to cut off your palm tree won’t be that hard but you just have to be sure that the area or people surrounding the palm tree will be safe upon the said cutting.

This is because of the fact that palm trees grow so tall that you need to leave room for the tree to fall ensuring everyone’s safety. After you ascertain that the area is clear for the tree to fall in then how do you go about cutting it with either your pole saw or chainsaw?

Here are a few directions:

  • If a palm tree is rotting or dead then it should have an ideal area where you can make the cut.
  • Use your hands to find this location. A rotting palm is quite soft from the ground, so find that hard surface as you move upward with your inspection. You can control the direction where the tree will fall if you find that right cutting area.
  • Cut about 1/3 of the way to your palm tree and follow a 45 degree angle upward about 1 foot above the ground. Remember that this should be on the side of the tree where you want it to fall down.
  • Six inches above your initial cut, cut downwards at a 45 degree angle and remove the wedge.
  • Lastly, right at the opposite side of the palm tree, just about another six inches above your recent top cut make another cut. Cut straight through it until it begins to fall down.

Pros and Cons of Trimming/Pruning your Palm tree

  • First benefit to this practice is of course to promote safety.
  • This is also a neat process to remove dead fronds within the tree that may then fall on anyone or just be lying waste around the area.
  • You’d also be protecting your property from any falling fronds.
  • You help your palm tree to grow better and healthily.
  • You stop it from becoming a fire hazard.
  • You prevent any insects or other animals from nesting on it.
  • Over trimming or incorrectly doing so will result in healthy leaves or fronds getting cut.
  • This will hamper the ability of the palm tree for food production.
  • You may also leave it susceptible to any cold or weather damage.


So hopefully you found adequate answers to your initial inquiry. If you plan to cut the top off of your palm tree then make sure that you intend to get rid of it or else you will regret it. But if you’re intention is just to keep it from posing any danger to anyone around it or for aesthetic purposes only then always remember to prune it with garden pruners in the right way.

1 thought on “Can I cut the top off a palm tree? – Get The Full Details (2022)”

Leave a Comment