How To Remove Palmetto Palms

If you have ever tried to remove a palmetto palm by cutting it down, you will likely have realized that removing palmettos is tricky. So, when we got ourselves a piece of land with about half an acre of these wonderful palmetto palms, also known as saw palmettos or shrub palmettos, we knew that we had a challenge on our hand.




After a year of tedious work, we have perfected the permanent removal of palmettos, and in return we have been rewarded with a beautiful piece of land, where our kids can now play, and where our family home will one day stand.

Removing palmettos is hard, muscle-aching, sweat-breaking work, and not many people are up for the task. Still, our family took on the task for two reasons:

1) We want to do as much of the land clearing ourselves to save our money for the building costs and
2) We want to clear our land in a way that has the least impact on the environment.

Shrub palmettos, which are native to Florida, are resilient, and after a wildfire comes through, they usually regrow. We've seen the county and our neighbors take heavy cutting machinery to them, and they still regrow.

Palmetto that is regrowing after having been cut down


The key to removing palmettos permanently is to attack them methodically, starting with the palmetto leaves, then working on the trunk above ground, before finally digging up the root system. From working on this process over the past year, we have learned that quite often the palmetto trunk system above ground is only half the battle, and the more trunks, the more roots exist below ground.

So, for the most cost-effective, environmentally friendly way to remove palmetto palms you will need several tools as well as some patience, persistence and resilience.


Palmetto trunks after the leaves have been removed.


Tools To Remove Palmetto Palms Permanently:

  • Chain Saw
  • Machete, sharp shovel or pole saw
  • Lopper or long gardening clippers
  • Wood chipper (If you want to compost)



Important Palmetto Removal Tips:
  1. Make a lot of noise and stump your feet to scare away critters and snakes.
  2. Always be mindful of your surroundings - our neighbors frequently remind us that palmettos are favorite hiding spots for rattle snakes. 
  3. Wear gloves! Palmettos have tiny spikes on their palm leave stems.
  4. If using a chain saw, the sap from the fresh palmettos will dull your blade, and you will need to clean it frequently. 
  5. If you have many palmettos, we recommend having a chain for palmettos and one for trees.  

 How To Remove Palmetto Palms:
  1. Remove palmetto leaves from the palm trunk with a machete, lopper, sharp shovel or pole saw.
  2. Remove loose debris from the palmetto trunks such as fibers and fallen leaves or pine needles.
  3. Either cut the palmetto trunks into large chunks and leave these to dry for a few months or
  4. Cut the palmetto palm into small pieces immediately.
  5. Once the trunks above ground have been removed, you can start digging below to find the root system, which is usually just as extensive as the trunk system above ground.
  6. Clear dirt on each side and use a chain saw, or simply dig them up. 
  7. The palmetto root trunks have many small roots sticking deep below ground, and you need to dig and pull these up as well.
  8. If you want to be eco-friendly put everything in the wood chipper and compost it for great compost and fill for all those holes that you've just made in your garden.








Removing palmetto palms is great exercise, and you will feel muscles you have not used in a while. It is such a rewarding experience to get rid of these beautiful, snake-hideaways, which have a tendency to spread and produce lots and lots of palmetto seeds every year.

If you decide to keep your palmettos, even if it is just a few, make sure to read up on how palmetto powder is quite an expensive supplement. Hey, if you can't remove them, make them work for you instead.

Our Land March 2019 - Before Palmetto Removal




Our Land March 20120- After Palmetto Removal 


Now, if you're like us, which you might just be, since you're here at Dancing Treetops, you will probably prefer to turn your palmettos into compost for your garden instead of burning it and causing pollution. If this is the case, you can read more about how to compost palmettos in this post.


Have you ever had to remove a palmetto palm? Did it return? We'd love to hear your tips and tricks, as we still have plenty palmetto palms left to remove - permanently.



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