Enthusiastic gardeners may feel inclined to prune up to a 45 degree angle but this is a fast way to deprive a palm of nutrients. Food is produced by taking the sun’s energy and converting it into sugar and when living fronds are removed, the plant reacts by using its stored food to produce more leaves. This results in unnecessary stress on the tree.
Palms also need their fronds for shelter to protect the palm bud and the new growth it produces. When too many fronds are removed, the bud is exposed to the elements. Performing a “hurricane cut” is not healthy for palms and can result in the loss of the tree.
In order to prune without harming palms, it’s best not to remove fronds above the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock horizontal line. Otherwise, palms may suffer from frizzle top, a manganese deficiency that causes deformity and yellowing, or Thielaviopsis, a disease that causes the trunk to rot and the top of the palm to fall.