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smithgn

My first cold freeze; Phoenix Canariensis

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smithgn

Hey everybody, I've got my first test coming up this coming Monday. Temperatures in my area are suppose to hit as low as 14 degrees Monday night. My Phoenix Canariensis has been a trooper so far this winter, showing no signs of any damage in temps reaching the mid-20's, 4x's this winter. This past Friday (for practice, for this Mondays frigid temps), I tied the fronds up and tied a rather thick blanket around my 4 foot tree. Luckily for me, it turned out to be a good idea since it got down to about 21 degrees that night. Anyways, to the point of this post...

That Monday, I'll be working late, no way of getting home before 7:30. By that time temps are already projected to be below freezing. I went ahead and got frost cloth and the same blanket I used the other night and some extra string. Would my Phoenix be okay If I wrapped it up that Sunday night and unwrapped it the following Tuesday morning? If I did it that way, it'd be wrapped up for approximately 30 hours.

I've read around a lot and couldn't find anything specific. I did come across an article stating that palms generally are fine without sun for a few days during the winter, since its metabolic process has slowed or stopped completely during this time. That was just one website and wanted to know if this was generally accepted.

Also, is it better if I applied the frost cloth first or the blanket?

Thanks in advance, and since this will be a pretty widespread freeze I'm sure there are plenty of others in the deep south that will be going through the same- hopefully this will the first and last deep freeze of this winter!

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Flow

There are people in Germany or the Netherlands who leave their phoenix canariensis wrapped or even in styrofoam houses all winter and they don't seem to mind. You don't have to worry about leaving them for a short time.

In southern Switzerland there are even specimens that are never protected and may experience temps as low as -8C for a short time. They are sometimes damaged but always grow back strongly.

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GA Palm Guy

You may have already seen this post about palm protection in Canada. It is awesome the amount of palm he has been able to safely grow there with his protection method. Here is the link:

I am not taking any chances on my palms, though I won't be able to wrap them as well as he did but just for this cold spell they should be fine.

Here is a Washingtonia Robusta I wrapped yesterday.

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I also have a Canary Island Date that I planted in June that I wrapped this way as we'll. still have 6 palms to wrap today. Gotta find more sheets...

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kahili

smithgn-you are in the same boat as myself-you have rain today that won't clear out until Mon sometime in the am (could be as late as 10-11 am maybe. Your forecast says 40% chance of rain-but for your purposes you have to assume it will rain. What I am getting at is that if you cover your palm (s) now-you have to rainproof them using a big piece of plastic over the coverings that you are using, otherwise you will have wet blankets covering a palm that will freeze and make it worse for the palm. I am debating right now about going out and either uncovering the palms that I covered Fri afternoon because the temps went down to 17 degrees Fri pm and re-covering them Mon after the rain or just leave them covered and put plastic over the blankets and leave them another day. I personally do not like to leave palms covered any longer than I need to, but it would be faster to do the plastic-I just don't like leaving palms covered with 55 degree days-but its cloudy so that means that I probably could. Your palms will definitely be ok being covered 2 days.

As for the blanket vs frost blankets on first, I don't think it matters-neither blocks the cold or wind more. When I cover, I use heavy duty frost blankets and then a heavy duty weed block over that which provides more warmth (blocking wind etc) but is not waterproof. The plastic will also help provide another layer of warmth.

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kahili

GA palmguy, it looks like you have the plastic up against the palm and that is the worst thing. Frozen plastic touching the palm will definitely damage it. You have to get a few layers of blankets over the palm first (one sheet won't do it-too thin). and then wrap the plastic over the blanket

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GA Palm Guy

Yeah. That was taken before I found my stash of sheets. My main goal was to protect the trunk of the palm until I found my main stash. It's all fixed now.

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smithgn

For some reason the multiquote feature isn't working for me, hmm...

Flow- That's reassuring to read. That's amazing they don't seem to mind being wrapped up like that. Phoenix's are a lot tougher than people think. I'm almost sure mine would recover from the low Monday night, but wouldn't be real smart for the over all well being of the plant. Thanks for the input, I'm learning new stuff every day with palms.

GA Palm Guy: Thanks for the video, I have not seen it yet. Yeah those frost cloths/sheets are sort of hard to come by. Had to go by 3 stores till I found one that actually had some. You better get to it! 6 plants to cover? Overall in my front and backyard I have my Phoenix, dwarf palmetto and a pindo. Not worried about the latter 2, but if I have enough time I will certainly at least tie the fronds together.

Kahili: Exactly. I've pretty much assumed it's going to rain also. Forgot to mention that in my initial post... Thanks for the reassurance of leaving my palms covered for 2 days. I'll certainly feel better about doing so. That's a good point you raise about the blankets getting wet and freezing. I'll certainly have to put a blanket layer on first, then the plastic frost cloth/sheet over it.

If it were up to me, and since its the weekend and I have time, I would have probably uncovered my palm(s) and covered it when needed. I actually wound up uncovering my Phoenix after that Friday night. I left it uncovered all day Saturday and will leave it uncovered till Sunday night till about 11 pm when I decide to apply the frost sheet and blanket for its 2 day hibernation. Thanks for the info.

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kahili

what is a plastic frost sheet? Have never heard of them. Are they waterproof? I thought when you said frost cloth that you were talking about the white frost blankets that either come in lightweight or heavy duty-those are not waterproof. Neither is weed block.

It may just be that I am farther north, but I have never had good luck with the Phoenix's. I hope all goes well for you. They are calling for a low of 8-9 degrees here :( I really hate winter! Was just on Maui for a few wks and was seriously thinking about moving back there-this cold weather is definitely making me think more seriously about it!

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PalmatierMeg

Tip for wrapping palms. I searched Goodwill for cotton flannel sheets & pillowcases in all sizes. They are cheap (esp. in summer) compared to frost cloth. A couple layers of cotton flannel or a cotton towel add a lot of protection. I've even covered small palms with t-shirts and hoodies. My garden looked like praying monks were taking a shortcut through my yard. To reiterate: never let plants come in contact with plastic. A layer of cloth, esp. of natural fiber, should come first. Good luck.

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smithgn

Kahili: Here are some pics of the frost blanket I bought. I got it at Lowes. If I remember correctly it was only 10 bucks or so. It's mainly used for flower beds or bushes judging from the pictures, but I don't see why we couldn't wrap a palm tree with it. I'll give it a try and let y'all know how it works. It doesn't say anything about it being waterproof, but it does say this: "Jobes Frost Protection Blankets are designed to work during light frost and mildly freezing temperatures, providing an additional 6-8 degrees of protection." I was actually looking for a cloth like you're talking about, the white colored type, but all I could find is this, which seems right about what I need. Our two locations are pretty similar in the fact that we're basically on pretty flat land and are prone to extreme temperatures (also not to mention were relatively the same elevation), other than that the slight differences in our average highs and lows probably does have something to do with Raleigh being what, 200 miles north or so? Good luck to you also, let me know how your palms do.

Palmatiermeg: Haha! That's hilarious! You know what, I have heard that cotton is the best way to go, for some reason I forgot about that but thanks for reminding me. That's a good tip, will have to scour around Goodwill and find something like that. Thanks again!

Quick note: My projected low according to weather.com has risen to 16 degrees! Woo hoo! :rolleyes:

post-7943-0-88052500-1388979679_thumb.jp

post-7943-0-75607000-1388979699_thumb.jp

post-7943-0-35840600-1388979731_thumb.jp

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