Saw Palmetto Bush removal can be troublesome. In this article we’ll discuss the two best ways of Saw Palmetto Bush removal: by digging and by cutting.
Avoiding chemicals is always the best environmental way to do anything.
It is important to first note that saw palmetto has a creeping stem (rhizome) that may be above or below ground; or both. Like much of the work that goes on in the tree and bush industry, removing palmettos is hard, physical work.
Saw Palmetto Bush Removal By Digging
You can dig those pesky saw palmetto bushes out. Grab yourself a shovel, mattock and pick axe and you’ll have all you need to dig up the palmetto bush roots, but be forewarned: there’s a bit of sweat and somewhat of a workout involved. It is quite a task to dig out the dense clumps of a Saw Palmetto Bush because they’re difficult to dig around, what with the sharp fronds and all. It’s bet to cut them all off with your hedge trimmer before you begin to hunt and dig.
The roots (actually underground stems called rhizomes) can spread farther than the reach of the visible trunks above ground. It is advisable to cut the rhizomes into smaller pieces with a pruning saw so they are easier to remove. Beware, regardless how careful you are as you meticulously sift through the dirt to find all of the “roots” that you can, a few root pieces are likely to remain. Digging can be a multi stage process over a period of time, sometimes a couple of years, because you have to monitor the area and dig up any new shoots as they appear.
Whether laboriously dug by hand, or by the use of tines or a claw on backhoes or other powered equipment, the rhizomes must be killed. Removal is best, but uprooting, cutting or chopping will typically reduce their re-growth. Digging of the roots may take several rounds of digging due to regrowth.
Saw Palmetto Bush Removal By Cutting
You can also cut saw palmettos down, however similar to the digging method, they grow back. You should expect new sprouts to grow back within a couple months but you can continue to cut down any new foliage as soon as you see it growing, and that will eventually kill the underground stems. What does cutting the above ground foliage have to do with the underground rhizomes? The photosynthesis that biologically has to transpire to feed the roots and sustain the life of the plant all starts above ground with the palm fronds (leaves). If they’re not present, the plant starves and the roots die. It could take a couple of years to completely kill a large clump of palmetto bushes by repeated cutting them back.
Maintenance / Insurance
Simply put, saw palmettos can certainly regenerate after physical removal.
Here’s a plan for you after your first time of digging out, or cutting off the Palmetto Bushes. Beginning in spring, mow the new growth as far down to the ground as possible with a brush mower. If no growth occurs the following spring, remove the subterranean stems with a stump grinder as far below the soil’s surface as the machine reaches.
Pruning Saw Palmetto Bushes
Use sharp pruning loppers – Avoid nicking or damaging the tender growth bud at the tip of the trunk since it must be intact to produce new foliage. Be aware, however, that removing healthy growth will reduce the tree’s ability to photosynthesize and shorten its normally long lifespan.
A Palmetto’s strong underground stems provide starts for new plants alongside the original plant. Cutting these suckers below the soil line may hold back the spread of the palmetto temporarily, but the subterranean sections of the plant will simply grow more massive, eventually forcing more growth than can be controlled. Eventually, the roots will reach out beyond the initial ring of suckers, invading the surrounding plantings with suckers. When not effectively managed, the plant can become invasive, crowding out other plants.
Cutting back or pruning palmettos only encourages their strong roots to spread and generate more suckers. Even when the visible portion of the plant is cut or otherwise killed, the plant remains alive in these underground stems and eventually grows new trunks and fronds above ground.