Phoenix Sylvestris (sylvestris – Latin, of the forest) also known as Silver Date Palm, Sugar Date Palm, Indian Date, or Wild Date Palm, is a species of flowering plant in the palm family native to southern Pakistan, most of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and Bangladesh. It’s native climate makes it a great fit for Houston, TX landscaping! This palm is very hardy. Sylvesters are cold hardy, drought tolerant and moderately salt tolerant. They have a slow growth rate, ultimately reaching a height of 50 feet. They grow well in almost any well-drained soil, including sand. Sylvesters grow best in direct sunlight with room to grow.
However, these palms need to be cared for properly or you run the risk of losing them. Here’s our 5-step care instructions for the Phoenix Palm.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS PROJECT:
- Water/Water Hose
- Small Bucket
- (SHARP) Pruning shears
- Outdoor Gloves
- Rake & Trash bag
STEP 1 PREPARING YOUR TOOLS:
Pour one part bleach to 10 parts water into a bucket (e.g. 1 cup of bleach to 10 cups of water). Disinfect your pruning shears in the solution for 3-5 minutes by allowing them to soak. Rinse them off.
STEP 2 CLEANING YOUR AREA:
Using your gloves, pick up any debris from the palm tree underneath the tree and around the trunk area. Gather fallen fronds (leaf part of the palm) with a rake and place them in a wheelbarrow. This will allow you to have a clean workspace for pruning the palm.
STEP 4 REMOVING LEAVES:
Grasp a loose petiole (the stalk that joins a leaf to the stem) on the trunk and tug on it gently to remove it. The petioles are the brown short leaves on the trunk. If the petiole does not remove easily by hand, do not forcefully pull on them, these are not ready for removal. You can return at another time to remove these petioles. Do this until all the loose petioles are removed from the Sylvester trunk.
STEP 5 PRUNING THE FRONDS:
Use pruning shears to remove all palm fronds (the leaf or leaflike part of the palm) that are dead, yellowing or broken. Trim the fronds close to the trunk as it will allow the nutrients to reach developing and healthy leaves instead of supplying withering leaves and fronds.
STEP 6 PRUNING FRUIT STALKS:
Finally, cut off all palm flowers and their fruit stalks with pruning shears. Make clean cuts at the base of flower stems and stalks without cutting into the palm tree trunk. Mature fruit can be a food source for unwanted pests such as birds and rodents. This will also reduce the growth of new infertile date palms that seed themselves from the fruit.
✭ VERDANT PRO TIP
- Clean cuts prevent damage to the palm. Tools that are dull or rusty can tear instead of slice. We recommend keeping pruning shears sharp!
- Disinfect your pruning shears before and after each use so as not to spread any types of tree diseases to healthy plants.
- Do not use a machete in place of pruning shears. Machetes can easily knick the trunk of a date palm and allow Thielaviopsis trunk rot to infect and kill a palm tree.
SYLVESTER PALM CHARACTERISTICS:
Native Origin: India
Common Names: Sugar Date Palm, Sylvester Date Palm, India Date Palm, Silver Date Palm and Wild Date Palm
Description: Hardy Range: 8B – 11nMature Height: 40 – 50’nMature Spread: 10 – 15’nGrowth Rate: Slow
Ornamental Characteristics:nnSylvester Palms have a hefty central trunk that is noticeably swollen at the base. The leaves are pinnate and up to 10 – 15 feet long. They are a silver-green color and have spines towards the petioles. Small white branching inflorescence form along the leaves. Following the flowers is oval fruit that is 3/4 of an inch in diameter. The fruit turns purple-black when ripe.
Environment:nSoil: Moist, well drained soilnSalt: ModeratenDrought Tolerance: ModeratenExposure: Full sun or partial shade