It's time for a lesson about palm trees. Don't worry—it won't be long. Palm trees are monocots, putting them in the same plant group as grass, wheat, many flowers and even pineapples and asparagus. It's all to do with the root system. The roots of monocots differ to those of dicots, which tend to snake down beneath the ground and spread outwards. Have you ever seen a palm tree out of the ground, ready to be planted? Its root system resembles a ball, clumped around the base of the trunk. Some monocots are capable of growing a secondary root system for stability, but it's still a marked difference from the sprawling underground root system of many dicots. This is why your palm tree might suddenly lean ominously after extreme weather. Its shallow root ball has tilted, and as such, so has the tree. But does this mean that the services of a palm tree removalist will be needed, or can your tree be returned to its former, more stable position?

The Tree's Size

The size of the palm tree might determine the extent of your efforts to save it, since the look of your garden might not really suffer from the loss of smaller specimens. It's obviously a personal decision, but smaller palm trees can often be restored to the correct position and continue to grow if they have not yet reached full height.

Your Own Inspection

Carefully inspect the stability of the leaning tree, maintaining a safe distance in a position that is not underneath the leaning trunk. You can gently prod the tree in order to gauge if there's a real danger of it falling over. You should also inspect the trunk for evidence of insect infestation, as this might have weakened the tree. The original planting of the tree might have been at too shallow a depth for its height, which can also have contributed to the current situation, although this can be difficult to determine.

Repositioning and Replanting

An unstable tree that could conceivably fall might need to be professionally removed, but a slight tilt on an otherwise healthy tree can often be reversed. The tree will need to repositioned and fitted with a support system, which is generally a number of wooden stakes which are then securely roped to the tree once it has been repositioned. You might also wish to utilise the services of a tree company to remove the tree from the ground and replant it at an adequate depth. Support stakes might also be necessary once this has been done. The tree company will also tell you how long to leave the stakes in position, as this is necessary until the root system has re-established itself.

Sometimes you might need to bid a fond farewell to a leaning palm tree, but in many cases, your straightened tree will continue to flourish.