Most palm trees have non-invasive root systems, and this includes the royal palm trees. This is mostly because all palm trees have roots that are thin, narrow, and relatively weak.
They can sometimes wrap themselves around underground pipes, but they are simply not strong enough to do any real damage to any structures nearby. Nevertheless, there is a lot more you need to know about them.
How Deep Are the Roots of a Royal Palm?
As with other palm trees, the roots of the royal palm tree usually grow one to three feet deep. The roots can spread out as wide as the canopy of the tree, maybe a little wider.
The thing to remember about royal palm roots is that while they can grow pretty wide and up to three feet deep, they generally do not get thicker or bigger as the tree gets older.
More often than not, a royal palm root is the same diameter as your thumb, and it remains that size regardless of the tree’s age.
3 Ways to Stop the Roots of the Royal Palm From Becoming Invasive
While royal palm tree roots are not invasive, they can still be a bit of a pain if you don’t treat them right as they grow. Try the following tips to stop them from becoming invasive.
1. Plant It in the Right Location
The best way to stop palm roots from causing any problems is to make sure the tree is planted in the proper location right from the beginning.
It is best to plant any type of palm tree at least ten feet away from your house or any other structure on your property. This alone greatly reduces the chances that something will go wrong in the future.
2. Make Sure the Tree Gets Plenty of Water
When tree roots are dehydrated, they usually get larger. In the case of palm trees, they likely won’t get big enough to cause any problems, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your royal palm tree watered and hydrated at all times.
Even if the roots of your palm tree get just a tad bigger, it’s unlikely but still possible they could become invasive and cause problems in other ways.
3. Choose a Root Barrier for the Tree
Root barriers are physical barriers that you install underneath the soil, and they surround the roots so the roots are well-protected and unable to spread out any further.
Most root barriers are made out of some type of hard plastic, such as HDPE plastic, but when you research them, you’ll find that other types are available as well.
You can also check with a gardening center and they can help you find a good root barrier for your home.
Can Royal Palm Tree Roots Damage a Fence?
It is difficult for any palm tree to have roots that will damage a fence. This is because palm tree roots are too small and weak to do any real damage.
It’s still a good idea to plant the trees far from any fence or other structure in your yard just to be on the safe side.
How Deep Do Royal Palm Tree Roots Go Down?
Royal palm tree roots can be as shallow as one foot deep in the soil or as much as three feet deep. Normally, they do not get any deeper than three feet because at that point, they start to spread out horizontally until they get to a certain width.
While three feet is considered deep in some respects, keep in mind that the roots remain thin and narrow throughout the lifetime of the tree.
Can You Plant Palm Trees Close to Your House?
It is best to plant palm trees at least 10 feet away from your house. This will help to avoid the roots growing and lifting any nearby pavers.
As the tree gets bigger, it might encroach on the roof of your house or on nearby paths or pavers.
Do Palm Trees Ruin Foundations?
No, palm trees do not ruin foundations. Foundations are typically built from concrete, and palm tree roots are too small and weak to do any damage to concrete, or anything else that is that hard.
Again, it’s still better to allow some space between your house and any palm tree you have planted in your yard, for the reasons mentioned earlier.
Can Royal Palm Tree Roots Damage Pipes?
Royal palm tree roots do not damage pipes underneath the ground. They might, however, wrap themselves around the pipes as they get longer.
Palm roots will seek water so if the pipe is leaking the roots can head that direction. While they won’t damage a solid pipe, they can work their way into a pipe that is already broken.
Palm tree roots are not invasive the vast majority of the time, simply because they’re too small and too weak to do any real damage.
Even if you mess up and plant a palm tree less than ten feet from your home, the chances are very good that nothing bad will happen.
To help to prevent any damage from palm trees install root barriers, make sure the tree is well-hydrated, and plant it at least 10 feet away from your home.
As a general rule, the only bad thing that might happen is them wrapping themselves around pipes that are buried underground, but even this is usually only a minor inconvenience.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.