Ever glance at your palm tree only to spot those pesky brown tips stealing the show? 

Don’t worry; you’re not alone in this tropical dilemma. 

Let’s dive into the top five reasons your palm’s tips might be going a bit rustic and, more importantly, how to restore that lush green perfection.

Mastering Palm Tree Care in Florida

Why are the tips of my palm turning brown? 5 reasons you can easily fix!

Why are the tips of my palm turning brown?

Photo Credit: Reddit

Reason #1: It’s Sunburned

We’re 100% serious! 

Palm trees love the sun, but not all palm tree species enjoy baking all day (here’s a list of palms that like full sun vs. some shade)

How to Fix It:

    • Provide temporary shade during the hottest parts of the day using shade cloth like this.
    • Using the shade, gradually acclimate your palm to increased sunlight to avoid sudden exposure.

Naturally, the bigger your palm, the more difficult it is to cover. That’s what the experts are for! (hint: it’s us).

Reason #2: Over or Under Watering

It could be too much or too little water. Yeah— palms are picky.

Here’s how you can tell if your palm is under or over-watered.

How to Fix It:

  • Make sure your water is going down to the root. You can do this by simply sticking your finger into the soil up to a few inches deep; if the topsoil feels dry, it’s time to provide a good drink.
  • If your palm is underwatered, water it until it’s irrigated under the water reaches the root zone (the area in the soil where the roots actively absorb water and nutrients). Stop when the soil feels moist several inches below the surface. 
  • If it’s overwatered, stop watering it for a week or 2! (especially if it’s been raining).


RELATED: Exactly HOW Long Should I Water My Lawn in Summer?

Reason #3: Nutrient Deficiency

Your palm might turn brown because it’s running low on essential nutrients.

How to Fix It:

    • Apply a balanced, palm-specific fertilizer. We have our own that we recommend (and it’s only 35 bucks)!
    • Ensure even distribution around the drip line, avoiding direct contact with the trunk.

Reason #4: Too Much Salt

Excessive salt in the soil can leave your palm in distress.

How to Fix It:

    • Flush it out by watering your palm deeply to leach out excess salts.
    • Choose salt-tolerant palm varieties for coastal areas (see the list above).

Why are my palm trees turning yellow?

Reason #5: Excessive Pruning 

Improper pruning practices can lead to browning at the tips.

How to Fix It:

    • Use clean, sharp tools to avoid tearing or damaging fronds.
    • Trim only browned or dead tips, leaving healthy green portions intact.

Learn about Proper Pruning here!

Brown Palm Leaves FAQs

thriving palm tree with some brown tips

Should I Cut Off Brown Palm Leaves?

Yes! We recommend cutting off entirely brown leaves using clean, sharp pruners.

This promotes a cleaner appearance and directs the palm’s energy to healthier fronds.

However, if only the tips are brown, the steps outlined below may be enough to bring it back to its original color. 

Speaking of which…

Can Brown Palm Leaves Turn Green Again?

It depends! If your palm front is:

  1. Completely brown: It’s done for. This could be an infection (lethal bronzing) or a natural occurrence. If the latter is the case— don’t worry! Your palm tree will grow a nice, healthy, green front replacement in no time. You don’t have to do a thing.
  2. Partially brown: It may just need some love to bring back that green color. 

Which leads us to…

What about brown spots?

palm tree leaf with brown spots

Photo credit: Vira Grow Delivers blog

Brown spots (as opposed to entire brown leaves or tips) usually indicate a nutritional imbalance, such as a lack of nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

It could also be poor aeration. You can use a chopstick to puncture holes in the soil to help more oxygen flow to your palm’s roots. 

Or, it could be an infection. An infected palm tree could mean lethal bronzing. Here are the signs your brown palm leaves are headed for the worst. 


Palm trees can be a lot of work. We have quick and easy fixes to bring your palm tree back to life!