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Tropical Plants/Planting a palm a sewer pipe....

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QUESTION: Nick,

I cut out a circular shaped pattern in the front patio concrete with the intent of planting a palm tree in the hole during a redesign of the porch.  After digging the whole for a planned double trunked Foxtail or Christmas palm, a 4 inch PVC sewer pipe was discovered 18 to 24 inches below the surface.  Can a double trunked Christmas or Foxtail palm be safely planted above the plumbing?   What type of palm has the shallowest and least invasive root system so that I might protect the sewer pipe?  Are you familiar with any method or system that might help protect the sewer pipes from root damage?

ANSWER: Cregg, I wouldn't plant any kind of Palm (or sizable planting# over that pipe; not only because of possible damage to the pipe, but if the pipe ever needs to be dug up or repaired for any reason,,,your planting will be in the way. Consider a large decorative container/planter over the spot with a smaller variety #Palm), there are numerous choices; if you decide that this may be an acceptable alternative, we can go into which types. Nick

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QUESTION: This may be an acceptable alternative.  Which type of palm can grow relatively large and will remain in the planter.  I plan to illuminate it at night as a center piece to the patio while looking to add shade from it in the day time.  Will some palms remain in a plater or do they always out grow the container eventually?

Answer
Unfortunatly it would need to be a Palm that doesn't grow that large, for the root systems of your larger Palms would be too large even for the biggest container; Pygmy Date and Areca are the two most popular for containers,,,but you are looking at a maximum height of about 12 feet...you mentioned Christmas Palm,,,they will do in a container but won't grow as big as they would in the ground.  

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Nick McCann

Expertise

broad spectrum knowledge in the field of tropical plants;

Experience

I am a certified Master Gardner in Florida (8years)

Organizations
Master Gardner Association of Charlotte County Florida

Education/Credentials
Master Gardner training....accredited each year with required seminars and educational training.

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