Volunteer Palm

In Southern California, Mexican palm trees often grow wild. We occasionally find seedlings in the strangest of places, along walls, in cracks in cement, or in the middle of lawns. If left alone, they will grow to about six feet in height in a few years. I have seen volunteer palms that I let grow on my property some 25 years ago become massive palm trees of 50 feet of height or more.

At work I park my car every day near a planter border, which is surrounded by a concrete berm. Recently I noticed a little palm growing right by the concrete, surrounded by ground cover. It had burgeoned to about 8 inches in height with three or four leaves.

Then one morning I arrived to notice that the gardeners had trimmed the weeds in the parking lot. They had completely chopped off the little tree, apparently with a set of large clippers. There was nothing left but a little wood stump of about an inch in diameter. I was frustrated since I had enjoyed watching the thing grow.

Volunteer Palm

This morning, just a week after it had been chopped off, I got out of my car and look what I saw: A leaf had shot out of the center of the stump. It must have already been in there, because the ends of the leaf are still “sawed off.” The little tree didn’t give up. Hopefully there will be enough time for it to grow strong before the gardeners come back for another trim.

Volunteer palms are one of my favorite trees.

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