Like the sound of one hand clapping, one of the great unanswerable Zen koans of life in Los Angeles is, “what the hell do I do with all these palm fronds?” Those outside the few places on the earth these monsters grow will be amused to hear that great masses of the fronds drop (80 to 100 feet) in the slightest breeze. Disposing of them is a constant chore but, thankfully, there are a few things you can do with them.
To be clear I’m speaking of the nearly 100 year old Mexican Fan Palms (Washingtonia Robusta) that grace our neighborhood. While not pretending I can give closure to this issue, I thought I’d round up as many uses as I can find:
2. Make a roof. Weave them together and you’ve got the perfect roof for your tiki hut. Warning: you’ll need a lot.
3. Make a low quality mulch. Using palm fronds as mulch is somewhat controversial. The stuff takes forever to break down. Our arborist told me that some conventional citrus growers use palm frond mulch specifically because it takes forever to break down.
4. Paint stirrer. I’m proud of this Root Simple innovation. While I was painting the garage recently, I couldn’t find my paint stirrers. Watching the fronds fall as I was up on the ladder (in fear of my life after a neighbor told me that he knows of someone who was killed by a falling frond) I got an idea that I’m as proud of as my milk crate humanure potty.
5. Celebrate Sukkot. Sukkot is the Jewish feast of the tabernacle. Unfortunately, it seems that our Washingtonia Robusta is not the right kind of palm.
6. Celebrate Palm Sunday. As with Sukkot, it looks like there’s some entrepreneurs on this idea.
7. Make a basket. Here’s a tutorial using coconut fronds, so I’m not sure this will work with Washingtonia.
8. Palm frond origami. I’m excited about this idea. Here’s how to do it.
9. Use as a symbol of victory. Palm fronds have symbolic meanings across numerous cultures.
10. Rob a liquor store. I’m not making this up. Via Bob in Oz.
One runner-up idea: hugelkultur. I’m skeptical.
What did I leave out? Basket weavers do you have any tips? Please tell me I don’t need to scale the tree to get a green palm frond.