Can mule palms survive temps between 10f - 15f?

54 posts in this topic

I am convinced that time spent below freezing is even more critical than absolute lows.  I just spent the morning ripping out all my broccoli with 2 inch crowns.  Covered, they did fine hitting nights in the teens as long as the temps rebounded the next day and I could uncover them.

 

We had a string of awful lows - 5 nights in a row between 9 and 13 degrees.  Our high over that period was 35.  The time spent below freezing was unprecedented for the area.

 

All of the Washingtonia's around here are burnt to straw, and surprisingly so are many sagos.  My huge, very well established butia and both well-established windmills are showing some badly dark-browned fronds, burnt to a crisp.  I'm sure they'll recover but they look ugly right now.  We just had 3 straight days at 70+ degrees and that really let the damage show.  They looked good til the warm spell, then the browning took off.  The butia is so large I can hardly get under it but the spear is mostly straw-colored with some green showing, but I have little doubt this tree will recover because it is just so big - one of the biggest and most perfect specimens I've seen in North Carolina.

 

There is going to be a lot of defoliation over the next couple months.  Hopefully next winter will be mild so the survivors can recover.  If that's the case, the survivors should be able to handle the next 30 years...we'll be weeding out the weaklings.  I feel terrible for a neighbor down the street that just had three brand new palms planted last month.  I almost stopped and told him he's nuts for planting new palms in December, but I don't know him at all yet.  He planted what looked like a 7-10 gallon windmill, a 7-10 gallon butia and a full-sized 20+ ft tall hurricane-cut sabal palmetto (probably from Florida).  Oy.

Edited by Anthony_B
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@Brad Mondel Did you get that washingtonia from me?  Any pics?  

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Wonderful!  I've been wanting a W. filibusta for yrs. I was a member of the SE Palm Society for a few years and several members were growing them in hot humid conditions.. I contacted a member who said he was selling them, but he never got back in touch. Beautiful filifera, Brad. I wonder how it would handle our humidity in the SC midlands? Cold hardy to zero is music to my ears.

 

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56 minutes ago, Anthony_B said:

  We just had 3 straight days at 70+ degrees and that really let the damage show.  They looked good til the warm spell, then the browning took off. 

 

This is what happened to me too. Everything looked fine after the event and when we were in the 30s and 40s. Once the warm weather hit it was obvious damage had happened. In my short time growing palms its showed me they like to wait to show damage until after youve gotten confident they are fine. Then BAM damage galore! hope everything or most everything pulls through for all of us, but also I equally hope that next winter isn't as bad as the past decade of winters that have been pretty terrible! 

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6 hours ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

@Brad Mondel Did you get that washingtonia from me?  Any pics?  

Yes I did. I’ll try to get pics. 

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I have a bunch of filibusta I grew from seed that are 5 gallon sized. From California seed I collected in LA. I’ve been bringing them in to get some size on them first before exposing them to cold. 

Edited by Brad Mondel
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Brad, I would be interested in buying a couple flibustas in early March.

 

Edited by donnacreation
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It’s been a freak winter for sure. Last year we saw one night of windchill at 15 degrees and my mules laughed it off while my Bizzy had all of its fronds fried of course, but it came back. The past two weeks we’ve had hard freezes, freezing rain, ambient temps in the 20’s, and windchills at 17 degrees. The Bizzy fried instantly again but the mules so far are green. Will know how they actually did in the following weeks as we’ll be back in the 60’s and 70’s. 

3D9369E7-2022-4C39-8436-51E59E299E02.jpeg

Edited by Duppy
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I'm sorry to see that damage.  What is a Bizzy palm?  Do you know what your lowest temp was?  

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3 hours ago, donnacreation said:

I'm sorry to see that damage.  What is a Bizzy palm?  Do you know what your lowest temp was?  

Donna,

The "bizzy" he is referring to is Bismarckia nobilis.  I'm also curious to see if Duppy saw any temps lower than what I saw - I'm only about 11 miles east of Castroville but near the top of a hill.  It got down to 20º a couple of weeks ago (dry), but this past week only went as low as 26º with freezing rain and we had another stretch of 36 (+/-) consecutive hours below freezing.  This event might show more damage than the last.  If I remember correctly his Bismarckia is a pretty good size.  I'm interested to hear more about it because I was considering getting one and don't know of any others in the area.  Hope to see some additional pics!  His mules are probably twice the size of mine and look much better than mine as well, but mine was recently transplanted 6 months ago.

Jon

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Hey Jon,

I'll let you know on the Bizzy.  It's pretty identical to last winter when we hit 15 degrees. I removed all of the dead fronds and left the main spear and sub-spear that were there.  Last year the main spear did open but looked pretty pathetic as the outer half was dead.  The sub-spear kept growing and opened into a perfect frond.  I think it managed to open 7 more before this winter hit.  At some point I don't know if I'll be able to maintain it after a 100% burn every year.  I had Christmas lights and a tarp over it for the nastiest stuff this year but have since removed the tarp as I don't want it sautéing in the warm afternoon sun.  Of course we've had a couple of "feels like" 19 degree nights since then.  I'm staying positive as it did bounce back last year but this year has been a nightmare for temps and conditions.

Brett

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4 hours ago, Duppy said:

Hey Jon,

I'll let you know on the Bizzy.  It's pretty identical to last winter when we hit 15 degrees. I removed all of the dead fronds and left the main spear and sub-spear that were there.  Last year the main spear did open but looked pretty pathetic as the outer half was dead.  The sub-spear kept growing and opened into a perfect frond.  I think it managed to open 7 more before this winter hit.  At some point I don't know if I'll be able to maintain it after a 100% burn every year.  I had Christmas lights and a tarp over it for the nastiest stuff this year but have since removed the tarp as I don't want it sautéing in the warm afternoon sun.  Of course we've had a couple of "feels like" 19 degree nights since then.  I'm staying positive as it did bounce back last year but this year has been a nightmare for temps and conditions.

Brett

Hey Brett,

Did y'all get any lower than 20 degrees this year?  20 was my lowest temp at the house.  I don't imagine 15 degrees is normal, but this is my first winter here.  Hopefully it will recover again and next winter will be warmer.  I think the fact that they grow pretty fast helps it to recover, but like you said it will be tough to do that every winter...

Jon

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On 10/01/2018, 10:14:22, donnacreation said:

I'm curious how mule palms faired during  the recent record cold week in the SE US.  Temps at my location dropped to 12f twice in one week, with highs in the 30s. For those who experienced similar temps, especially in the Carolinas, how do your mule palms look? I'd love to hear from you. Thanks.

I'm guessing maybe. I have one that just saw 8F. Spear is still green. Lots of wooly material in there. We'll see.

On 10/01/2018, 13:50:23, CroToni said:

 

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In Europe, a few years back in february 2012, we had a long cold spell with snow followed by one week below freezing with strong winds.

In a palm garden nearby lowest temp was 10 deg f and the eriospatha x santa catarina queen there survived even though it had been planted the preceding summer. There is also a report of a b x j in a container surviving the cold spell with an ultimate low of 0 deg f. 

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