Sylvester palm in 8B

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I bought a small Sylvester in march of this year. I bought it from a dealer in TyTy, Ga, which is about 80 miles inland from where I live.

I believe I might have made the wrong choice when choosing a date palm. I was initially going to buy a Phoenix dactylifera, but I was told that they weren't as cold hardy as the canary and Sylvester. He even said the dactyliferas he planted on the island (which is a full 9a/9b) didn't make it through the winter's cold. So, I ended up buying the Sylvester, taking his word for it, and also because the canary's growth would have outgrown the spot I was going to put it. After buying it, I started to reading up on the Sylvester. Now I am thinking I chose the wrong palm. many of the stories I have read say that Sylvester's die back at anything below 22f. It gets 22f at least 3-5 times during the winter every year, and it got down to 18 degrees about 5 years ago, but before that I can't remember the last time it dropped that low. Did I make the wrong choice? Does anyone else have any experience with Sylvester's in a warm 8b almost 9a climate.

Right now it is growing great. The heat and humidity seem to be accelerating it's growth, as it has at least 12 new fronds since March. I really hate to see it die back.  

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5 hours ago, Rothbardian1 said:

I bought a small Sylvester in march of this year. I bought it from a dealer in TyTy, Ga, which is about 80 miles inland from where I live.

I believe I might have made the wrong choice when choosing a date palm. I was initially going to buy a Phoenix dactylifera, but I was told that they weren't as cold hardy as the canary and Sylvester. He even said the dactyliferas he planted on the island (which is a full 9a/9b) didn't make it through the winter's cold. So, I ended up buying the Sylvester, taking his word for it, and also because the canary's growth would have outgrown the spot I was going to put it. After buying it, I started to reading up on the Sylvester. Now I am thinking I chose the wrong palm. many of the stories I have read say that Sylvester's die back at anything below 22f. It gets 22f at least 3-5 times during the winter every year, and it got down to 18 degrees about 5 years ago, but before that I can't remember the last time it dropped that low. Did I make the wrong choice? Does anyone else have any experience with Sylvester's in a warm 8b almost 9a climate.

Right now it is growing great. The heat and humidity seem to be accelerating it's growth, as it has at least 12 new fronds since March. I really hate to see it die back.  

ive seen sylvesters up to north carolina and yes they get damage but they survive up to around atlantic beach and even more with protection

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Sylvesters wont make it at all in texas 8b. Cidp and dactylifera are much hardier. 

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7 minutes ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

Sylvesters wont make it at all in texas 8b. Cidp and dactylifera are much hardier. 

silly me i got sylvester and  dactylifera mixed.  just looked them both up.

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I have had P. sylvestis here in 8b/9a Austin for almost a decade now. Has been one of my strongest and best growing palms. Mine survived 3 days below freezing with an overnight low of 15f.  It really likes our hot summers. I would be suprised if this palm would not grow in at least coastal parts of Georgia. 

 

Check on the botanical garden in Savanna (spelling?) and see if they are growing it. 

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They grow like weeds here in Charleston. We are 9a, but they are never damaged.

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I can't speak for their coldhardiness in 8b but sylvesters are much better adapted to eastern hot, humid summers than CIDPs or dactyliferas, which are desert palms and prefer hot, dry climates. Dactyliferas grown in humid climates will not produce quality eating dates. CIDPs look ratty and are prone to fungal infections. They are also highly susceptible to a fusarium wilt that is invading areas where they are grown. Sylvesters make much more beautiful landscape palms in the East.

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I agree that these are not really 8b hardy and less hardy than canariensis and dactylifera. Below 22 degrees either severely damages or kills them.

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I just happened to notice that my Aunt has a Sylvester. She's had it for about 10 years and said it's never been defoliated. I also seen quite a few in Waycross today, which is a further 20 miles or so inland from me. 

I think I'll be fine, or I at least hope I will. 

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Here are a couple of pix of mine here in Austin.  First pix if from mid 2010.  Second pix is from yesterday. As you can see, it has grown quite abit.  It get full almost full sun until evening during the summer.  Little less in the winter due to shading by trees across the street to the south.

 

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That's the second time I've heard about a palm seller say that sylvestris is more cold hardy than dactylifera. At the college I was going at in Pensacola, some dactyliferas on campus were very damaged with some dying after 8b winters. I learned that whatever palm seller they got replacements from said that sylvestris would be more cold hardy: ahhhhh!!! not so (check out the post I made about this: Pensacola Date Palm Disaster.) Almost all sylvestris not in microclimates died in the 2014 8b winter in my area. 17 degree low, entire next day at about freezing, multiple nights into the 20's, and then later that month a light freezing rain event during which the temp dropped to 20 degrees and then didn't get above the 20's the entire next day. I will say though, that without a winter precip event, I think they have a much better chance at pulling through.

Here's a couple in my neighborhood after the 17 degree January freeze in 2014. Note that this was before the freezing rain event. The one in the first picture died. The second had 100% defoliation, but came back. I thought it was perfectly find for awhile after, but more recently, I've noticed rot eating away at a section of the trunk. Not completely sure this was from the cold, but I'm thinking it was (saw the same thing with queens in my area). 

Having said all that though: they do pretty well here sans frozen precipitation and a freezes into the upper teens. I had a small healthy one in the ground that I covered with a blanket with the 17 degree freeze. I think it would have survived with damage except I dumbly failed to protect it in the freezing rain event.

DSC06796.thumb.JPG.f8a86ee37d77951585af5

DSC06811.thumb.JPG.53bb0011358b9856abcb2

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3 hours ago, Opal92 said:

That's the second time I've heard about a palm seller say that sylvestris is more cold hardy than dactylifera. At the college I was going at in Pensacola, some dactyliferas on campus were very damaged with some dying after 8b winters. I learned that whatever palm seller they got replacements from said that sylvestris would be more cold hardy: ahhhhh!!! not so (check out the post I made about this: Pensacola Date Palm Disaster.) Almost all sylvestris not in microclimates died in the 2014 8b winter in my area. 17 degree low, entire next day at about freezing, multiple nights into the 20's, and then later that month a light freezing rain event during which the temp dropped to 20 degrees and then didn't get above the 20's the entire next day. I will say though, that without a winter precip event, I think they have a much better chance at pulling through.

Here's a couple in my neighborhood after the 17 degree January freeze in 2014. Note that this was before the freezing rain event. The one in the first picture died. The second had 100% defoliation, but came back. I thought it was perfectly find for awhile after, but more recently, I've noticed rot eating away at a section of the trunk. Not completely sure this was from the cold, but I'm thinking it was (saw the same thing with queens in my area).

Having said all that though: they do pretty well here sans frozen precipitation and a freezes into the upper teens. I had a small healthy one in the ground that I covered with a blanket with the 17 degree freeze. I think it would have survived with damage except I dumbly failed to protect it in the freezing rain event.

DSC06796.thumb.JPG.f8a86ee37d77951585af5

DSC06811.thumb.JPG.53bb0011358b9856abcb2

It's also safe to say that an 8b climate in, say, Myrtle beach, for example, isn't the same 8B climate in southeastern Georgia. I'll try to find some pictures of some of the sylvesters around here that have been here for decades and are thriving. I believe that the 8b climate in Pensacola is a little colder than the 8b climate here in Georgia, 20 miles from the coast, even though Pensacola is right on the water. In the winter of 2014 we had one night that dipped down to 18 degrees for an hour or so. The other night stayed above 23 degrees, and those were only a few nights.

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Phoenixes are easier to protect than some other palms, although dangerous to handle because of the spines.  Tie the leaves up first, then wrap with frost cloth or burlap.  Then you can wrap plastic around.  If done right, they don't mold.  I've gotten CIDPs through a few moderate 8a winters, but eventually they die if the covering blows off, or a bad winter comes.

 

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This is my Aunt's Sylvester during the tropical storm of 2013, I believe. It hasn't defoliated since she bought it 10 years ago.

20431375_1576268245781890_1874624780595764574_n.jpg

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Sagos completely defoliate here every few winters and cidp and dacty still live out in the open unprotected .  The picture above with green sagos is a much warmer environment than we have here. 

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When I lived in Myrtle beach (8b) sylvestris defoliated completely and developed crown rot. Many are planted but they never survive unless you are right on the beach. There was a mature date palm at Broadway at the beach however with several trunks. One trunk was sawed off so I imagine it didn’t survive a harsh winter. 

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