Q: I’ve renovated my landscape several times but am never sure if I’m comparing apples to apples when reviewing designs from different companies. Could you enlighten me on the industry lingo used for palms so I know exactly what I’m paying for?
A: First, we’re glad you’re always keeping your landscapes fresh and new. Many people don’t realize the life expectancy of plants in Southwest Florida. The biggest challenge when comparing designs and costs is the size of the recommended palm. You’ll most often see CT, OA or CW next to a palm’s name on a plan, and this is where you need to be alert. These initials greatly change the overall look of the installed landscape and the budget.
“CT” means clear trunk, and measures from the soil line to the top of the third or fourth fully expanded frond, where “CW” means clear wood and measures from the soil line to the highest point without frond bases. Not all palms have clear wood. “OA” stands for overall and represents the measurement from the soil line to the last fully expanded frond of a palm. As you see, comparing the cost of a 14’-16’ OA with a 14’-16’ CT palm is a vast difference and will greatly change the final appearance of the entire landscape.
Hopefully this sheds some light on how to better understand and compare the designs you’re reviewing for your next renovation.