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Bats and Palmetto Trees

Making It Grow Minute Extra logo

My brother who lives to hunt, work in his woodshop and do outdoorsy things, got himself appointed to the “Homeowners Ground’s committee” where he had a beach apartment. Surrounded by ladies who came with girl friends for bridge weekends, his sole goal was to convince them to stop insisting that the maintenance crew remove palmetto leaves as soon as they started to turn brown, while half the leaf was still green. Not only does this practice harm the trees by removing photosynthesizing material which upsets the balance between the roots and the leaves, but it can limit places important to bat health.  Many bats roost, have babies or even hibernate in trees. The left over petioles and aging palmetto leaves provide just the right shelter and habitat  for certain endangered bats and improves the health of the palmetto trees to boot. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.