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 By Maria Muhlhahn, ArtisTree Purchasing Manager, ISA Certified Arborist

Q:  I have a small courtyard area and want a nice accent palm that looks different and exotic. It can’t be too big. What do you suggest? I live in Southwest Florida.
A:  ArtisTree has the perfect choice for you: an Arikury palm with a trunk pattern like no other. The leaf bases or “boots” are purposely left a bit long to form a spiral pattern -- a sort of punk, spiky look that’s sure to turn heads. Growing to a maximum of about 10 feet, it’s the perfect accent for small or tight spaces such as a pool-cage planter, architectural alcove or smaller garden. We especially like the look of multiple Arikury palms lining a walkway surrounded by lower-story plants. Its feathery, dark-green pinnate fronds resemble a feather duster, only they’re much prettier (and dust-free, we might add).

Plant your Arikury in sun or shade (partial shade works best) and keep it out of wet areas for years of enjoyment. I’m confident that this feisty, fashionable palm will make a striking addition to your courtyard!




    by Tim White, ArtisTree Fertilization & Pest Control Manager
Q: I’m no tree expert, but I just had two palms installed, and the twine around the fronds was removed right away. Shouldn’t it be left on until the palms are established?

A:  You may be confusing twine-wrapping for wood braces that are positioned against the trunks to stabilize palms. Wood braces typically stay on for several months until a palm is established.

The twine around the leaves of a palm should stay on while the tree’s being transported, then removed immediately after it’s properly installed. Some people think twine should stay on a transplanted palm until it naturally breaks, or for six weeks after planting, or even for the entire first year.

Your landscape company did the right thing, so you have nothing to worry about. You can start enjoying the full beauty of your palms now “no strings attached.”    


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Tree Care




 By Maria Muhlhahn, ArtisTree Purchasing Manager & ISA Certified Arborist


Q:  I’ve seen a strange-looking tree on my drives around town -- thorns seem to be growing out of the trunks. Could you tell me more about this tree?  I’m new to Southwest Florida and this looks like something I might like to put in my large backyard if it’s not too dangerous!

A:  You’re referring to the silk floss tree, and it’s only dangerous if you hug the trunk.  Considered one of the most beautiful trees in the world, it’s native to Argentina and Brazil. Silk floss trees flourish in Southwest Florida and do quite well in the humid climate.  Early fall blooms can be up to six inches wide (petals are used for upholstery thread in South America), with pear-shaped fruits appearing after each bloom period. The tree’s name is inspired by the silky floss wrapped around the seeds.   

As you’ve already noticed, the trunk, branches and leaves are a lovely green, but the wicked-looking spines around the trunk are admittedly scary-looking.  Don’t scorn the thorns, though. They serve as mini water-storage units to help the tree survive dry times. Briefly deciduous, silk floss trees can grow to more than 50 feet tall with a spread just as wide.  Pest and drought tolerant, they need fertilizing and watering occasionally for the first few years; after that, they pretty much takes care of themselves.

If you choose to plant a silk floss tree, make sure you plant it in a well-drained spot 30 feet away from pavement or septic systems. We also advise our clients to plant small, drought-tolerant shrubs around the base to prevent anyone from contacting its spiny thorns (and that includes pets as well). No reason to let the thorns of this beautiful tree be a sticking point!




    by Jeremy Lepper, ArtisTree Account Executive
Q:  With the recent wildfires consuming land and homes in Arizona, Colorado and California, how do I reduce the risk of fire hazards in my Florida landscape?

A:  Florida's frequent lightning strikes and human carelessness guarantee that wildfire will continue to be a factor in rural and suburban areas.  Two risk factors are involved: the land use in your area and the vegetation around your home.

If you see bare ground, large or mostly leafy trees, few low-growing plants and broad leaves covering the ground, you’re at lower risk.  If you see beds of pine needles, numerous pine trees, continuous palmettos, vines, and small-to-medium trees or palms beneath taller pine trees, you live in a higher-risk area.

Regardless, you can take steps to help keep yourself safe. Trim lower branches up to 10 feet on tall trees. Remove vines from trees. Keep shrubbery away from pine trees so ground fires can’t climb up to the treetops.  Keep in mind that many plants are not as flammable, including dogwood, viburnum, magnolia, beautyberry, oaks, red maple, wild azalea, sweetgum, coontie, winged elm, ferns and wild olive -- good to know if you’re planning a landscape redesign or installing a new one.

More questions? Check the internet to find complete information on how you can reduce your risk of wildfire with selected plant materials and proper landscape maintenance.
Resources:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS.  Firewise http://www.firewise.org


   by Steve Tanaka, ISA Certified Arborist, No. FL-5306A, Tree Division Manager

The homeowner was more mad at himself than anything else, having let Palmetto Weevils kill his prized pineapple palm. His words came out like an unintended eulogy: “It was such a nice-looking palm. I remember planting it myself and watching it grow into this beautiful specimen. It was the kind of tree that stood by you, you know what I mean?”

What the man failed to do was notice the early signs of full-blown Palmetto Weevil infestation, which include 1) decline of the younger fronds, and 2) drooping of the older fronds during initial infestation stages to where they eventually collapse.

And by collapse, I mean your affected pineapple palm will look like a melted-out candle.

So I offered words of comfort. “Let us install a new one for you, and this time, make sure you follow proper maintenance procedures, including trimming, fertilization, water management and preventive treatments. We can help you with that.” I knew the prized palm would be missed, but in the right time, the homeowner would have another one to admire and care for.  

If you own Pineapple or Bismarck palms, know that these species are susceptible to Palmetto Weevil damage and see that they get proper care. Treatment is difficult after initial symptoms have appeared, and the liklihood of tree death is almost inevitable.



Tree Care