This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

November 24, 2016

Why you have a palm tree growing in your yard that you didn't plant

If you live in Phoenix, or any similar climate, like Los Angeles, or Las Vegas, you may have gone out to your yard and seen a palm tree growing where you know you never planted one. Depending on how often you look at your yard, they can be just a little tiny spear, or it can bigger, looking like, well, a palm tree.

If it looks like the one in the photo at the top of this post, it's a Washingtonia robusta, more commonly called a Mexican Fan Palm. And it was planted by a bird passing by. And I do mean passing. Yes, birds poop them out.

 Mexican fan palms grow like weeds in Phoenix. They're the ones that you see along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and they grow VERY fast, and VERY tall. So, if it's in a good spot, and you would like a palm tree there, just leave it. It won't require any extra water and it's already in a perfect spot, selected by nature. Remember that in a few years it will be tall enough so that you will either have to climb up there and trim it yourself, or hire someone to trim it.

Unfortunately, most of the time they start growing in inappropriate areas, like in the cracks of sidewalks, or some other place where you don't want them. I get them in my backyard garden all of the time and I've learned to recognize them as tiny spears.

Personally, I like palm trees, but I don't care for Washingtonia robustas. I find them to be too tall for my tiny property, because up close they just look like telephone poles. But if your property is large enough, they can add a touch of elegance for free. Just be careful trimming them, the fronds are sharp!
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