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Palm Frond Mulch


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#1 Green Club

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 06:04 AM

I'm hoping for some feed back on a project I have been working on for the last 3 years. I am a former Certified Arborist and Member of The International Society of Arboriculture. My Company is based in a coastal area in the Sub-Tropics were most of my accounts generate enormous amounts of Palm Frond debris. Is there a down fall in using this material as a landscape mulch? We have our Client's separate known diseased material already. I located I study done in Homestead, Fl. on Leaf Hopper population with Coconut Palm mulch. Any feed back would help.
Thanks,
Robert
Green Club Recycling,LLC
239-462-6809

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#2 bepah

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 06:18 AM

Palm fronds are notoriously difficult to produce by for most palm enthusiasts as their constituent toughness to chip or shred is problematic. I think this is why most do not use it, not because of disease threat.

How does the shredding occur commerically? Is the product more expensive than other mulching options? What is the time period that it lasts or composts?


Thanks,

John
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John Case
Brentwood CA
Owner and curator of Hana Keu Garden
USDA Zone 9b more or less, Sunset Zone 14 in winter 9 in summer
"Its always exciting the first time you save the world. Its a real thrill!"

#3 Moose

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 07:26 AM

I'm hoping for some feed back on a project I have been working on for the last 3 years. I am a former Certified Arborist and Member of The International Society of Arboriculture. My Company is based in a coastal area in the Sub-Tropics were most of my accounts generate enormous amounts of Palm Frond debris. Is there a down fall in using this material as a landscape mulch? We have our Client's separate known diseased material already. I located I study done in Homestead, Fl. on Leaf Hopper population with Coconut Palm mulch. Any feed back would help.
Thanks,
Robert
Green Club Recycling,LLC
239-462-6809



The leaf hopper (myndus crudis)(sic) sucks its juice from live plant tissue so I don't believe it would set up residence in mulch. As John (Bepah) has stated, palm fronds are difficult to mulch due to the tough stringy fibre content. It is a situation that has been brought up in the past on this forum. It is a waste of organic material that could be used as mulch. There does not seem to be a economical / non labor intensive way to produce so far. Posted Image
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Coral Gables, FL 8 miles North of Fairchild USDA Zone 10B

#4 MattyB

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 10:45 AM

Palm mulch is terrific on steep slopes out here in CA. The fiberous material, once watered in and settled, meshes together and stops erosion, and it dosen't migrate down the slope like wood chips do. You can throw compost over the top of it and it'll work it's way down while the palm mulch stays in place. Most tree trimmers try and convince you that there's not much "palm" in their loads when they dump mulch for you because people don't seem to like it. I love it, I wish I could get more.
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Matt Bradford
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Spring Valley, CA (8.5 miles inland from San Diego Bay)
10B on the hill (635 ft. elevation)
9B in the canyon (520 ft. elevation)

#5 tropicbreeze

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 01:50 PM

I had a neighbour who shredded his Coconut fronds. He had probably over 100 trees and some of the fronds, still green, he fed to his horses. His shredder was about 5 or 6 HP petrol motor driven. The very ends of the fronds (thick end) I think he burned. There have been 2 new lots of neighbours there since the old man passed away. They've slowly cut out most of the Coconuts and there's not many left now.

For my own (about 60 Coconuts and several hundred other palms) I pile the fronds up into large heaps. When I get huge leaf falls from my African Mahoganys just before the start of the wet season I pile the leaves up on the frond heaps, This retains the moisture in the heaps and by the end of the wet season the heaps are much smaller. Some I burn along with other timber debris and the ash goes on the garden.

Palm mulch, along with other mulch such as wood chip, can rob the soil of nitrogen.


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#6 Green Club

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 06:03 PM

Palm fronds are notoriously difficult to produce by for most palm enthusiasts as their constituent toughness to chip or shred is problematic. I think this is why most do not use it, not because of disease threat.

How does the shredding occur commercially? Is the product more expensive than other mulching options? What is the time period that it lasts or composts?


Thanks,

John


Hi John,
I will forward you some info. My accounts are saving 50%-75% by reducing material hauled off and not paying for landscape medium. I have some Golf Clubs saving $75,000 a year. The material lasts about 3-4 months longer than Pine Straw and Pine Straw only lasts about 6-8 months. Palm mulch does not float, wash out, or blow away. The machine was originally designed for shredding pallets, I have redesigned the mill and screen system to process Tropical debris into a high quality landscape mulch. I sell the machines as well as provide the service locally. I envision all large Communities in the Tropics and Sub Tropics producing their own renewable landscape mulch.

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#7 Moose

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 03:15 AM

I had a neighbour who shredded his Coconut fronds. He had probably over 100 trees and some of the fronds, still green, he fed to his horses. His shredder was about 5 or 6 HP petrol motor driven. The very ends of the fronds (thick end) I think he burned. There have been 2 new lots of neighbours there since the old man passed away. They've slowly cut out most of the Coconuts and there's not many left now.

For my own (about 60 Coconuts and several hundred other palms) I pile the fronds up into large heaps. When I get huge leaf falls from my African Mahoganys just before the start of the wet season I pile the leaves up on the frond heaps, This retains the moisture in the heaps and by the end of the wet season the heaps are much smaller. Some I burn along with other timber debris and the ash goes on the garden.

Palm mulch, along with other mulch such as wood chip, can rob the soil of nitrogen.



With the large amount of rain we recieve in South Florida, this is not a concern as the precipitation contains nitrogen in sufficient quantities. Nitrogen deficienes are not realized here very often. Posted Image
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Coral Gables, FL 8 miles North of Fairchild USDA Zone 10B




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