How To Remove Areca Palm Tree Root?

It’s hard to believe that the areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) was once an endangered species. While dozens of these tall, attractive, clumping palms line the streets of warm areas, they do need to be maintained, and in some cases, removed.

How to remove areca palm tree root? If you don’t want to hire a company to remove the Areca palm tree and its root, this is how you can do it yourself:

  1. Loosen the soil and cut the plant down to 5 inches
  2. Divide the rootball into smaller sections and remove
  3. Wedge cut any large roots, salt the remaining roots, and water it well

While this is the quick version, it may not leave you with enough information about how to do it properly or what to look out for. So, let’s break it down into three simple steps that you can easily follow at home.

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Tools You Will Need

Removing an areca palm can be a quick process if you have the right tools. Fortunately for you, you won’t need too many to get the job done. Just a little bit of manpower and the following tools:

  • Shovel
  • Loppers OR a chainsaw
  • String
  • Garden gloves
  • Coarse salt
  • Mulch or soil
  • Water

Read How Often Should A Newly Planted Areca Palm Be Watered?

Step 1: Loosen The Soil Around The Root System

As with any root removal, you want to start by removing the plant itself.

There are two things to consider when you remove the plant:

  1. Do you want to move the plant and grow it in another area?
  2. Do you want to remove the plant entirely?

Once you’ve identified which of these you want to do, it’s time to tackle the removal process.

If you don’t care for the plant, you can take your loppers or chainsaw and start removing the top of the palm – you want to leave about 5 inches (12.7 cm) of the plant at the base.

This will help you see where the plant has established itself without having the palm leaves in the way.

If you just want to relocate the plant, skip the first step and simply tie back the leaves into one manageable bush with some rope or string. 

Then, take your shovel and dig around the base of the plant to expose some of the roots and see what you’re working with. The rootball of the palm shouldn’t be deeper than 36 inches in the ground (91.44 cm), so don’t worry about digging deeper than that.

Once the plant finds itself in a trench, it’s time to move on to the second step.

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Read Can you grow areca palm from cuttings?

Step 2: Divide And Conquer

If the plant isn’t that well established or just not that large in size yet, take your hands and see if you can remove the entire clump. The chances of this happening are slim, but it’s worth the shot.

In the case that you cannot remove it with such ease, it’s time to divide the rootball into manageable sections. You want to take your shovel and drive it into the middle of the plant in one smooth forceful motion.

This task aims to break the rootball with as minor damage to the root system as possible. You want as little of the root system to remain behind to limit how much you’ll have to remove later.

Try to break down and remove sections of the plant in 4-6 of these shovel motions (depending on the plant size, it may be more or less, but try to keep it to a minimum).

Once you’ve removed most of the plant from the ground, it’s time to address the remaining roots.

Read Areca Palm Leaves Turning Yellow

Step 3: Wedge-Cut And Salt The Wound

So, you’re left with the hole of where an areca palm tree once was. Now it’s time to get rid of the rest of those remaining roots.

If the roots aren’t too large, you can move on to salting them. However, if you have a few large roots remaining, you want to cut out a wedge of the root before adding salt to the hole.

The reason for doing this is to remove as much of the root matter as you can to allow for swift decomposition and salt absorption.

To remove a chunk of the root, simply drive your shovel down onto the root as close to the side of the hole as you can. Do this on both sides of the root if it stretches over the length of the hole.

Now, for the salt.

You want to use salt because it’s a natural way to draw moisture out of the roots without leaving the soil barren. If barren soil isn’t a cause of concern – say you’re building your house over the hole or covering it with bricks – then chemical root removal products may work best. You can find these at your local gardening center or hardware store.

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If you want to use the soil again in the next few weeks, salt is the go-to option. It’s also a more cost-effective way of removing the roots.

So, how do you do it?

Well, you simply have to pour a few boxes of coarse salt over the exposed root ends and around the hole. Then if you have any excess soil, shovel it back into the hole, cover the salt, and give the hole a generous watering.

Watering the salty soil situation will help the salt to dissolve and be absorbed by the roots easier.

Make sure to frequently turn the soil in the weeks following the areca palm’s removal to see if the root matter is still present. If there are still roots visible, leave it for another week.

Repeat this process until there are few visible roots.

What Type Of Salt Should I Use?

The type of salt you use is up to you. Coarse salts, like rock salt, are usually a more affordable option. After all, who wants to throw all their pink Himalayan salt over some soon-to-be-dead roots?

You can also use Epsom salt, iodized salt, and kosher salt. It comes down to whatever you can buy in bulk and don’t mind spending on root removal.

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Read Is Areca Palm Toxic To Rabbits And Cats?

How Can I Ensure The Soil Is Fertile After Removing The Areca Palm?

If you want to help future plants to grow in the wake of where your areca palm once was, then you can increase the organic matter in your soil by adding:

  • Compost
  • Aged animal manure
  • Green manure
  • Mulch
  • Peat moss

Because most plant life is located in the top 6 inches (15.24 cm) of the soil, it’s best to concentrate your efforts on this part.

Read Areca Palm Dying

What To Do With The Removed Areca Palm

If you still have some pieces of the areca palm that are alive after removal and you don’t already have an idea in mind of what to do with it, here is what you can do:

Start off by removing any dead leaves and debris from the plant – this will allow it to use all its energy on reestablishing a new root system, rather than trying to sustain dead leaves.

Then it’s really up to you. You can re-pot the palm in a separate container to avoid difficult root removal in the future, or you can relocate it to another section of your garden.

If you’re not one for sustaining house plants, then you can always sell the plant on the Facebook marketplace or give it away to your green-thumb friends.

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So, there you have it! You have the entire rundown on removing your areca palm tree – remember the three steps: loosen the soil, divide, cut, and salt the root. You also know which methods to use to remove it, what you can do to ensure that your soil is fertile for future use, and how to use the remaining plant (in the case that it’s alive) once you’re done with the project.