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Uprooting Mexican Fan Palm
updated: Apr 18, 2014, 8:49 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Can a 100ft mexican fan palm be uprooted, moved and replanted? Wondering if anyone wants ours.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 511874P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 09:18 AM

100 feet?!

This sounds like a crane type operation to me.

Palms by nature are shallow rooted, but this might be almost impossible to transplant due to the height.

How about some pics of this & its eventual removal because it's not going to be typical to say the least.


 COMMENT 511875 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 09:20 AM

Simply, no. It would not be worth the expense for a non-exotic palm. Your best bet would be to cut it down if it is bothering you.


 COMMENT 511878 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 09:22 AM

I lived on an island for four years where we were required to transplant all palms that needed to be removed. Most were very tall. We acheived about a 50% survival rate for the transplanted mature trees. The practice was costly and, yes, did require a crane and other heavy equipment to accomplish.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 09:27 AM

Some people who have new houses want very mature trees, to look like they have been there a long time. If you are willing to give it, it would be worth their expense to move it, instead of buying one from a nursery and then paying to move it. Check with Chris Cullen at Montecito Landscape.


 COMMENT 511881 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 09:40 AM

If it's 100 feet tall it's the tallest in the world. From Wiki,

". . .palm tree native to western Sonora and Baja California Sur in northwestern Mexico. It grows to 25 m (82 ft) tall, rarely up to 30 m (98 ft)."


 COMMENT 511884 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 09:46 AM

Is the palm in the country illegally? If so that could make a difference if you want to move.


 COMMENT 511885 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 09:54 AM

Ask the Palm!


 COMMENT 511886 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 09:55 AM

Op here. Thanks 881. I didn't exactly get out my measuring tape and get an accurate measurement obviously ;-)

Thanks FLICKA. will do.


 COMMENT 511890 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 10:05 AM

Washingtonias are fast growers - a 6 footer today can be 12ft tall in a matter of 2-3 years.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 10:46 AM

The expense of moving such a common palm does not seem to make sense, given how quickly they grow. In my experience, people love these palms when they are small, but when they begin to get really tall, they cease to be very interesting as landscape plants around houses. Who wants a giant column with a crown of leaves 90 feet up in the air? Unless someone has a very big yard--several acres--a tall skinny palm like this looks out of place. I think they look much better in a group (like the row along Cabrillo Blvd) than as single specimens.

Bite the bullet and pay to have it removed.


 COMMENT 511907 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 10:58 AM

Op here. That's what we are doing. We are going to remove it. The maintenance is expensive and the liability of falling fronds (they are sharp!) is not worth it. But, I wanted to find out if anyone had any luck finding someone who was able to use it somewhere else before we just cut it up and threw it away. It really is something to behold and I feel bad just cutting it down. Truth be told, it's a tri-palm... three beauties coming from one trunk.


 COMMENT 511912 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 11:30 AM

A couple of years ago during freeway construction they moved a number of palms up to a roadside area near the lower (SB) end of Hwy 154, kept them there for a while, and then moved them back. So I guess it can be done...


 COMMENT 511952P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 01:12 PM

You might offer it for free on craigslist and if no takers cut it down.


 COMMENT 511960P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 02:11 PM

I have 6 to give away!

you probably won't be allowed to do it, legally. Don't go with a real tree cutter; they'll want a permit.

Been there NOT done that


 COMMENT 511966 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 02:32 PM

I was driving down lower State street this morning and saw one tall palm that looks like it's going to die. I wonder if you could gift your tri to the city. The corner of State and Mason.


 COMMENT 511992 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 03:44 PM

Post some photos of the tree, at the base and the foliage. Normally I would not suggest transplanting such a mature palm but if the "Tri"palm has a nice look to it perhaps a hotel or casino might be intersested. Mexican fan palms are usually a dime a dozen, but a multiple might interest someone. I would be interested to find out who might be willing to accept it.


 COMMENT 512030P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 05:25 PM

I hate it when people take out mature and thriving trees. Bad karma. Expensive to maintain? Mexican palms are self-pruning. No one climbs up them to prune them. How much does it cost you, yearly to have some one sweep up a bit and chop up the fronds for green waste? I clean up after my Queen palm, happily.

And the liability? Sheesh. How many people are injured by falling palm fronds in SB County every year? One?

You have a nice healthy tree. The birds in your neighborhood probably make good use of it. You want it gone? Try your best to rehome it, if you insist on getting it out of your hair.

I hope you've lived at that location longer than a few years. How long has the tree been there? Decades . . .


 COMMENT 512038 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 05:54 PM

030P - you obviously know nothing about maintaining a mexican palm. They are not self pruning. That's funny. Yes, some blow off in the wind only to damage my roof, scatter the road or land on my neighbors cars and scratch them, but otherwise, you have to pay someone hundreds of dollars to climb them to trim them. Green waste? No. They are not allowed in green bins. Thank you for your judgemental post and concern over removing what is actually the weed of all palm trees. Like I said earlier, I'm not happy about it, but over the rest of my life, it's going to end up costing me much more in maintenance than it would to remove it now and make better use of that space with a new tree that will be more appropriate!


 COMMENT 512067P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-18 10:11 PM

Donate it to the city previously known as Thirty Palms.


 COMMENT 512077 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-19 06:49 AM

I'm guessing that proper identification is needed to further judge the desirability and transplantability of your palm. "Mexican Fan Palm" is usually applied to Washingtonia robusta...but sometimes is used for Brahea armata or other species of Brahea as well as Washingtonia filifera (which is the California Fan Palm). Few palms in SB grow as tall as yours so I'm assuming W. robusta. But the comments about "not self pruning" and cost maintenance suggest some other species because they are indeed self-pruning. And, they are typically solitary, not in clusters of multiple trunks. If your palm is some other species it may be much more valuable than any Washingtonia. Really would help to have a photo if you can post one. Call Doug Coale of Mesa Tree...he's the man for the job if it's worth doing


 COMMENT 512087 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-19 07:36 AM

Palm market is glutted. Palm nursery at Faria lost lease and are practically giving them away.

Practicality of moving a tree that long and keeping it upright once transplanted problematic. We transplanted one of the palms at beach parking lot entry at Cabrillo/Los NiƱos about twenty years ago but it was only about sixty feet tall and was moved from its former location in one swing of the crane.

Chase Palm Park must be costly to insure if falling fronds are such a liability. You do have homeowner's insurance I trust. Check with your agent.

Best wishes to all
S'Auntie Barbara


 GBOB agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-19 08:02 AM

Let me start by saying you DO know you have a Mexican fan palm.

I oversaw the transplanting of approximately 60 mature Mexican fan palms during the State Street sidewalk replacement project in the late 90's and early 2000's. Most of the palms were in the 60' range. The work was indeed done using a large crane. With the exception of one, which snapped when lying horizontally in the strap cradle at the end of the crane's cable, due to an unanticipated vertical bounce, ALL of the palms were successfully transplanted.

Jimenez Nursery (Carpinteria) handled the first phase (Carrillo-Victoria), with their own crane. Valley Crest Tree Company (Ventura County) handled the second phase. KCI Landscape Contractors handled the third phase with a local crane company (Specialty - I believe). The final phase required "new" trees brought in from Rincon Gardens in Ventura County.

The most interesting aspect of this effort (to me) was the fact that in spite of the great heights, none of the palms was guyed or supported in any manner. The trees were set into the ground with 2'-4' to spare around the rootballs, sand was packed in around the rootballs (around 6' deep x 6' diameter), compacted with water. This alone, along with the weight of the trees and rootballs, provided enough of an anchor to keep the trees vertical even in strong winds less than 12 hours after transplanting.

512077's suggestion to contact Doug Coale at Mesa Tree is a good one. Doug has substantial experience with transplanting all types of trees.

Mexican fans are indeed too plentiful to count, but if you have a favorite, and it's even close to 100', by all means follow your heart as far as your budget will allow. The trees in the first phase of the State Street project cost less than $1,500 each, the low price no doubt due to the large number involved.

Good Luck!


 COMMENT 512283P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-19 07:53 PM

Start the chain saw!


 COMMENT 512507 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-21 08:00 AM

I called around to see if anyone wanted 5 30-ft tall queen palms a couple of years ago and no one was interested.

I took them out and planted trees that birds bees and butterflies will enjoy. It didn't seem as if any critters enjoyed the queens except for brief periods when they were flowering.


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