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Young Needle Palm Hardiness

20 posts in this topic

I planted 5 young needle palms along the west side of my driveway, which faces north. While I understand that an open spot for the Northwest winds to blow is bad for palms, I figured that Rhapidophyllum hystrix is the hardiest palm and it should be able to handle it. The only problem is that my needles are young; they are about a foot tall and only two of them are producing mature fan-shaped leaves. I live on Long Island, NY which is USDA Zone 7a. Although the 2016 winter was rather mild it did get down to 0° F once in February. How hardy are needle palms while they are young and how much should I protect them come next winter?

Needles.jpg

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In a cold climate when any palm is young it's a good idea to protect it and acclimate it to your winters the first few years by either: 

A. keeping them in pots until they're larger and bringing them into the greenhouse, garage, or house during cold snaps or

B. Planting them directly into the ground and protecting them with a cage of leaves, burlap or frost cloth. Planting them directly in the ground will give you a hardier palm if they survive. I think this would be the better option. Make sure you insulate the roots as well with a thick layer of mulch, freezing roots can outright kill a palm on its own. Provide overhead protection from freezing precipitation as well, if moisture gets into the crown and freezes, your palm will be susceptible to crown rot. YouTube has many videos of how to construct a cage to protect plants. 

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I don't have experience with Needle Palms, but I think zone 7 temperatures are enough to damage and even kill them at that size. Any cold hardy palm should be protected for the first 3 or so winters until it's fully established. By that time your palms may be large enough to fend for themselves, although occasional protection during the worst weather wouldn't hurt. And I agree with Brad about keeping moisture out of the crown, it's crucial. Snow is an excellent insulator during cold weather, especially for the roots, I'd just keep it away from the crown to be on the safe side.

Good luck! It's nice seeing someone else trying palms on Long Island.

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Alright I will definitely be protecting both the roots and crowns of these young palms in the ground. Thank you for the advice.  

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Based on what ive seen 0 degrees would easily kill that sized needle palm. 

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Posted (edited)

I still have yet to protect these needles (besides placing mulch) because this winter has been mild so far. I ordered some burlap and fungicide, and they're coming in the mail tomorrow. This is in time for this weekend's cold front. It's supposed to snow tomorrow and reach a nightly low of 18 degrees. On Sunday the nightly low is forecasted to reach 13 degrees. However, after Monday, it's forecasted that the nightly lows for the next week will all be above freezing.

As of now these palms have endured multiple snowfalls and one nightly low of 17 degrees without any sign of damage. I am conflicted about whether or not I should wrap them tomorrow just because it's going to be so mild following the cold snap. Any advice?

Edited by faceyourfaces
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Posted (edited)

You could (if you so choose) use a quick burlap wrap around the palms just for the brief period and your piece of mind. Remove the burlap once the weather moderates.

Cheers, Barrie.

Edited by Las Palmas Norte
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If you can find the large rose cones to put over the top I know that would help as well, at the very least keeping the wind chill temps from doing it's damage.

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Rose cones are great idea....I would

be surprised if the spears are still solid,any pics of then in the ground right now?

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On 1/6/2017, 3:38:31, faceyourfaces said:

I still have yet to protect these needles (besides placing mulch) because this winter has been mild so far. I ordered some burlap and fungicide, and they're coming in the mail tomorrow. This is in time for this weekend's cold front. It's supposed to snow tomorrow and reach a nightly low of 18 degrees. On Sunday the nightly low is forecasted to reach 13 degrees. However, after Monday, it's forecasted that the nightly lows for the next week will all be above freezing.

As of now these palms have endured multiple snowfalls and one nightly low of 17 degrees without any sign of damage. I am conflicted about whether or not I should wrap them tomorrow just because it's going to be so mild following the cold snap. Any advice?

If you haven't protected them already, you can use today's snow to your advantage. I did that with my Trachy last winter.

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Unfortunately I did not buy any rose cones but I will make sure to soon, providing they survive this weekend.

3 hours ago, Jimhardy said:

any pics of then in the ground right now?

After their late November mulching:

I5uF1pX.thumb.jpg.96e44ab93116d2bbc28817

Today:

Nn8DqmB.thumb.jpg.557ea9331e15b1a9291668

It has been snowing all day and it will continue for 6 more hours. Hopefully they make it through.

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15 minutes ago, cm05 said:

you can use today's snow to your advantage. I did that with my Trachy last winter.

Do you mean that you didn't protect your Trachy? Near the southeastern corner of my house I also have a small windmill (about 5 years old) which is heavily mulched, burlapped, and covered by a garbage can. Next to the windmill I have a Sabal minor McCurtain as well (about 7 years old) which is receiving absolutely no protection.

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6 minutes ago, faceyourfaces said:

Do you mean that you didn't protect your Trachy? Near the southeastern corner of my house I also have a small windmill (about 5 years old) which is heavily mulched, burlapped, and covered by a garbage can. Next to the windmill I have a Sabal minor McCurtain as well (about 7 years old) which is receiving absolutely no protection.

My Trachy's about the same age as yours. The most I did was cover it with a large plant pot when it rained and during the blizzard we had. But we really got lucky last winter, it would've required real protection during a cold winter.

Does your McCurtain ever receive damage?

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35 minutes ago, cm05 said:

Does your McCurtain ever receive damage?

It's actually new to me this season. According to its previous owner it once completely defoliated at, but also survived, -9 degrees. So I'm not too worried about it getting damaged.

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That will be awesome if they make it through.....

 

One mistake I made with my Needles(because I wanted then to

get bigger and hardier,ironically)was to dump MG fertilizer on them

a lot...I did cut them off well before the cold weather though....

Synthetic ferts weaken a plants overall health and lower the cold resistance dramatically.

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16 hours ago, Jimhardy said:

One mistake I made with my Needles(because I wanted then to

get bigger and hardier,ironically)was to dump MG fertilizer on them

a lot...I did cut them off well before the cold weather though....

Synthetic ferts weaken a plants overall health and lower the cold resistance dramatically.

The "blue pot" needle palms are infamous for having much lower cold resistance due to them being pushed to grow quickly through fertilizer. I foliar fed these needles a couple times last year but their roots haven't been fertilized since they were put in the ground.

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That snow will insulate those palms from the temps if they dip too low. On the flip side, once temps moderate, you want to get the snow off and away to allow warmer air on the palms. Best of luck.

Cheers, Barrie.

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On ‎1‎/‎8‎/‎2017‎ ‎10‎:‎47‎:‎04‎, faceyourfaces said:

The "blue pot" needle palms are infamous for having much lower cold resistance due to them being pushed to grow quickly through fertilizer. I foliar fed these needles a couple times last year but their roots haven't been fertilized since they were put in the ground.

I think you meant hormones instead of fertilizer.

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On 1/8/2017, 10:47:04, faceyourfaces said:

The "blue pot" needle palms are infamous for having much lower cold resistance due to them being pushed to grow quickly through fertilizer. I foliar fed these needles a couple times last year but their roots haven't been fertilized since they were put in the ground.

I bought one of those blue pot needles in the spring from Walmart, and it almost tripled in size this year!! I just experienced 6 degrees temps and 1 inch of ice covered it this past storm. I looked at it today (because it's warming up) and it looks exactly as it did before. *fingers crossed.   I only used slow release fertilizer on it in the summer. 

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17 hours ago, Ponds & Palms said:

I bought one of those blue pot needles in the spring from Walmart, and it almost tripled in size this year!! I just experienced 6 degrees temps and 1 inch of ice covered it this past storm. I looked at it today (because it's warming up) and it looks exactly as it did before. *fingers crossed.   I only used slow release fertilizer on it in the summer. 

That's great to hear. My two blue pot needles I bought off of some eBayer bareroot both died during the fall unfortunately.

On Sunday night here the low was 11 degrees and on Monday night it got down to 10. All of my palms look fine so far and all of the spears are firmly attached to their crowns.

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