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Bigfish

Rhapidophyllum hystrix in Knoxville, TN

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Bigfish

In 2006, thanks to the Southeast Palm Society Hometown Grant (which the SPS gave out every year to plant palm in public places), I was able to plant a bunch of cold hardy palms on the campus of The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Here are some pictures of the Needle Palms (there were also Sabal minor and S. sp. 'Birmingham' palms planted) right after planting in 2006.

Palm #1:

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Palm #2:

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Palm #3:

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And these pictures of the same palms 8 years later in 2014. Keep in mind that this is after a brutal winter where the temperature in Knoxville dropped to -1F (-18C).

Palm #1. This one gets full sun most of the day, and has a lighter color:

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Palm #2. This is under the shade of a really nice, blue Cunninghamia lanceolata:

IMG_0050_zps6db8966e.jpg

It also has male and female flowers on the same plant, and produces a decent crop of seeds every year.

IMG_0051_zps294afcc7.jpg

Palm #3, and my favorite (it's my avatar). This palm gets quite a bit of shade, and is in a recessed courtyard:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v203/bigfish5791/SPS%20Hometown%20Grant%20Palms/SPS%20Hometown%20Grant%20Palms%20Feb%202014/IMG_0055_zpsd5e12c77.jpg

I actually don't live in Knoxville anymore (I live just south of Nashville, TN now), but couldn't figure out if there is a way to change my name on this site, LOL. More Knoxville Needle Palms to be added later!

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Bigfish

Here's a really good-sized specimen in Knoxville, planted by Dr. Joel Lubar. Dr. Lubar was one of the cold hardy palm pioneers in
Tennessee. He started experimenting with them in the 1960s. I don't know the date that this one was planted, as it was at the second house that he lived at while he lived in Knoxville. This one gets a lot of sun and can be rather yellow.

IMG_0116_zps0377a444.jpg

Another smaller Needle Palm hides behind it:

Knoxville012.jpg

Here's an old Needle planted in 1968 that has unfortunately been removed recently. This palm endured the brutal winters of the 1980s, including -21F in January 1985(!). Hard to get a sense of scale here, but it was a biggun.

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Here is the same palm back in 1974, in an article that Dr. Lubar wrote for Principes. The Sabal minor perished in the 1980s sometime:

KnoxvilleDrLubar5.jpg

Another Needle Palm in the backyard that he had growing up against the back of the house in a very confined spot. This Needle is now gone as well. The trunk had fallen over at some point and was creeping along the ground.

123_2364_zps1406a421.jpg

Edited by Frank - Knoxville
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Bigfish

This Needle Palm is perhaps Knoxville's most famous palm. At the house of the late Dr. Frank Galyon (who lived a few houses down from Dr. Lubar), and planted in 1970, this palm is the size of a decent-sized car. It too endure the brutal winter of 1985, -21F. So when you hear stories about how Needle Palms can survive -20F, this is probably the palm that is being referred to.

IMG_0111_zpse078cde2.jpg

Again, hard to get a sense of scale for this palm, but it is about 9-10 feet tall to the top of the tallest leaves.. Here's the backside (or is it the front???):

123_2315_zps06a4dc3b.jpg

Another Needle Palm on the other side of the driveway that wasn't very photogenic, but I thought it deserved a picture anyway. This one is much smaller and is crowded by several other trees and shrubs:

123_2321_zps0f40b750.jpg

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Bigfish

A nice Needle Palm at the residence of a friend of mine in Knoxville:

Knoxville084.jpg

Another couple of Needles at another friend's house:

IMG_0101_zps5196b639.jpg

IMG_0103_zpsa6012765.jpg

Completely burnt up Sabal 'Louisiana' next to another one of his Needles. These pics were taken early this year after -1F:

IMG_0105_zpsb2d74c4e.jpg

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Bigfish

Here's a recovering Trachycarpus fortunei 'Bulgaria' at the UT Trial Gardens in Knoxville next to a beat up Needle. These palms are planted out in the open with zero protection from wind. I was actually pretty shocked that the Windmill Palm survived.

IMG_20140610_165010_982_zpswm8xvmye.jpg

These 2 Needles at the gardens are a bit more protected by some tress, and look much nicer:

IMG_0014_zps986a3080.jpg

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Bigfish

Oh...not sure why palm #3 didn't show up in my first post, but here it is this year:

IMG_0055_zpsd5e12c77.jpg

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sashaeffer

Would be cool to see any Needle palm that was trimmed up and suckers removed to look more like a tree instead of a bush. Anyone?

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Bigfish

Sorry I couldn't accommodate you, but this is a thread about Rhapidophyllum in Knoxville, TN. Maybe start a new thread about what you are looking for?

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WestCoastGal

Frank, great photos and examples of why they are called "cold hardy"! They do make for a nice understory palm. I'll have to point this thread out to my DH. He was just down in Knoxville for Thanksgiving. I'm thinking he didn't notice any while there since I didn't see any photos he took like I did when he was in Florida.

If you have any photos of sabal from the area I'd love to see them as well.

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smithgn

Awesome! Are you the Frank in Knoxville that has a sabal palmetto in his yard? I remember reading a thread from a while ago where someone in Tennessee has one. By the way, next time I'm in Knoxville for a football game, I'll have to tour the campus and seek these guys out. Where can I find more information about the Southeast Palm Society Hometown Grant? Is this only reserved for places that don't have much, if any palms? Really cool what you did in spreading palms in places people otherwise thought wouldn't be possible.

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Josh-O

Would be cool to see any Needle palm that was trimmed up and suckers removed to look more like a tree instead of a bush. Anyone?

Scott, I have often wondered what one would look like when cleaned up.

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Bigfish

Frank, great photos and examples of why they are called "cold hardy"! They do make for a nice understory palm. I'll have to point this thread out to my DH. He was just down in Knoxville for Thanksgiving. I'm thinking he didn't notice any while there since I didn't see any photos he took like I did when he was in Florida.

If you have any photos of sabal from the area I'd love to see them as well.

You have to know where to look to find them, but they are there! You have a Designated Hitter (DH)? LOL...J/K.

I've got plenty of photos of Sabal in Knoxville, mostly S. minor but a few Sabal sp. 'Birmingham' and Sabal Louisiana as well. I'll try and get some up in a future thread.

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Palm crazy

Would be cool to see any Needle palm that was trimmed up and suckers removed to look more like a tree instead of a bush. Anyone?

Scott, I have often wondered what one would look like when cleaned up.

10 years ago I saw a nice needle in Seattle, (no not the space needle) … the owner had pruned it up and it looked really cool. The trunk was shape like a giant egg with needles pointing outward, it look really cool and unique.

Some pretty nice needle palms you posted Frank.

Edited by Palm crazy

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Bigfish

Awesome! Are you the Frank in Knoxville that has a sabal palmetto in his yard? I remember reading a thread from a while ago where someone in Tennessee has one. By the way, next time I'm in Knoxville for a football game, I'll have to tour the campus and seek these guys out. Where can I find more information about the Southeast Palm Society Hometown Grant? Is this only reserved for places that don't have much, if any palms? Really cool what you did in spreading palms in places people otherwise thought wouldn't be possible.

I've never had a Sabal palmetto in my yard, but I've had other Sabal species. I know a friend in Knoxville that does have a palmetto though. It took a severe beating last winter, and I'm not sure if it made it. There was a guy in Sevierville or Seymour that had a rather large one in his backyard many years ago though, now that I think about it! His name was Fred. He dug it up and moved it with him to Middle Tennessee, where it later died.

To be honest, I'm not even sure if the SPS still does the Hometown Grant. I am not very active in the organization anymore. I used to run the seed bank many years ago. I was just on their website, and noticed their Rhapidophyllum hystrix picture is of the big one in Knoxville at the late Dr. Galyon's house though.

http://www.sepalms.org/page/home.html/_/cold-hardy-palms/needle-palm-rhapidophyllum-hystrix-r9?st=0#comment_1

The grant wasn't just for places without many palms, no. There were many factors that went into the decision, and I don't know all of them because I wasn't ever involved in any decision making. I do know they had to be palms that were approved for your zone (no out of zone palm experiments, in other words). I planted Needles, Sabal minor, and Sabal sp. 'Birmingham' palms in zone 7a. Of all of those, it turns out the Sabal sp. 'Birmingham' palms appear to be kind of iffy in winters like the last one. I think one of them in downtown croaked, but the other one recovered pretty well and is getting some good size to it and a nice little trunk also.

Thanks!

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Bigfish

Guys, I have quite a few pictures of single-trunked Needles, and will start a new thread on it.

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sashaeffer

Guys, I have quite a few pictures of single-trunked Needles, and will start a new thread on it.

that would be cool, as that is what I want to do with mine.

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Alicehunter2000

The individual leaves of needles are really pretty. Hard to discern alot of times unless you see in person. Does anyone else think it looks like Guihaia argyrata?

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Bigfish

The individual leaves of needles are really pretty. Hard to discern alot of times unless you see in person. Does anyone else think it looks like Guihaia argyrata?

It does look similar to Guihaia, and the two are fairly closely related. Needle Palm leaves look their best in partial shade, IMHO. They get that dark green, glossy appearance, and the palm has an overall more open look to it.

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Tassie_Troy1971

great photos They certainly are a cold hardy species

I have a small 5 leafer that i grew from seed 4 yrs ago - very slow when small down here .

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smithgn

Frank- Cool stuff :greenthumb:

Alice- I see a resemblance in the hystrix and argyrata for sure. Especially the shade grown needles that have the darker green color to them seem to favor the argyrata.

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CumberlandPlants

Nice photos. Wish there were more palm interest here in Middle TN. Though not a palm, I hear there is a giant Yucca Rostrata at a hotel in the Sevierville/ Gatlinburg area. There is also a giant Yucca Rostrata at a nursery in Shepardsville, KY. That one has been confirmed by myself, but have yet to of seen the large Rostrata in East TN.

There is a very nice palm planting in Chattanooga along the side of a build where they used Sabal's or Windmills, and smaller Sabal's or Needle Palms planted in front of the taller palms. Sorry about not having an exact id. They are definitely noticeable though.

Closer to home, there is a nice Hardy Palm planting Northeast of Nashville in Hendersonville TN at The Streets of Indian Lake shopping Mall in the green space between Barnes and Noble, and Regal Cinemas. There is also two Sabal Louisiana's at the sign at the main entrance. Will get some photos of that planting soon.

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Bigfish

Funny you should mention that Yucca rostrata! A friend of mine told me about it and snapped some pictures many years ago (probably around 2008). This is the yucca you are talking about most probably:

4-4-5-09249.jpg

You can kind of get a sense of scale about how thick that trunk is with the garden hose next to it.

rostratabase.jpg

It was just starting to split into two heads back then.

4-4-5-09253.jpg

I think that palm planting you're talking about is at the Bonny Oaks Arboretum. The SPS did a mass planting there many years ago. Some of those Trachycarpus fortunei are getting quite large now. I don't have any pictures of them though, but saw them a long time back. I wonder how they fared last winter.

I know who is responsible for the palm plantings up in Hendersonville. His name is Tommy and lives in the area. He's been growing palms there since the late '90s.

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CumberlandPlants

That is the yucca! I have seen photos of it on the internet, but yet to of seen it in real life.

The planting I saw in Chattanooga was relatively close to the road, and I believe at a business. Some of the Palms in the planting were probably nearing 20ft. or more in height. It was pretty much 6 blocks from downtown in a neighborhood just north of the river. Could get it norrowed down even further. Will have to get some directions from my sister that lives there. Where is the arboretum in Chattanooga?

Funny you mention Tommy. Just met up with him a week or two ago. I am probably going to store a few of his palms for him if really cold wether sets in this winter. I buy palms from him for my customers on occasion. Also do a little growing and selling myself of more unique flora for landscaping.

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Bigfish

Hmmm...those could be a fellow SPS member's palms that you're talking about in 'Nooga. He planted a ton of them at his business as well as his house. The arboretum is off of Bonny Oaks Dr., fairly close to I-75.

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CumberlandPlants

Thanks!

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smithgn

I didn't want to start another R. Hystrix thread so I thought I'd sortove hijack this one :evil:

I bought me a Rhapidophyllum Hystrix today!

002_zpsyxa82qtz.jpg

A clump starting on the far left of the pot. I was originally going to buy 2, but I saw this one in hopes of possibility separating the two? If possible?

001_zpsv84olyvl.jpg

Can anyone fill me in on how to separate the two clumps? I've never done this before and I don't want to damage the palm.

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redbeard917

Nice looking needle palm. In my observation, suckers are usually much closer to the original plant. I think that might be a second seedling in the pot, which will make separating them much easier.

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NorthFlpalmguy

Nice looking needle palm. In my observation, suckers are usually much closer to the original plant. I think that might be a second seedling in the pot, which will make separating them much easier.

Agreed. It it's a sucker then it is a deep growing one to pop up that far away.

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Bigfish

Nice looking needle palm. In my observation, suckers are usually much closer to the original plant. I think that might be a second seedling in the pot, which will make separating them much easier.

I've seen suckers pop up as far as several feet away in one wild population! I'm 99% sure that's a sucker in the picture. It looks plenty big enough to separate too. I would take the whole plant out of the pot and shake the soil off of the roots. Then clip the sucker off of the mother plant as close to the mother plant as you can. Carefully untangle the roots from the 2 plants, and pot them both back up. Two plants from one!

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Brad Mondel

It's very difficult to seperate the suckers but if you're willing to risk the life of the young Palm then I suppose it's worth a shot.

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smithgn

Thanks guys. When I get some time I'm going to carry out this procedure in a very careful, delicate manner!

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Bigfish

It's very difficult to seperate the suckers but if you're willing to risk the life of the young Palm then I suppose it's worth a shot.

This is true for in-ground specimens, but I find it pretty easy for potted Needle Palms. I've got a large potted specimen with many pups that I'm going to separate tomorrow and I'll take some pictures and post in a separate thread. Needles don't seem to mind having their roots disturbed nearly as badly as Sabal or Serenoa or some other genera.

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NorthFlpalmguy

They use to hack the suckers off with sharpened shovels here and most lived from what I can remember. Back when they pulled native ones.

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Brad Mondel

Just watch out for all of those needles guys.

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Aceraceae

This thread is a history lesson and covers the major points of the 3 main cold Hardy palms. It's also neat to see the probable source of the negative 20 F anecdote. There's another anecdote well below 0 for some the sabal minor varieties in the great plains but it seems more dubious and doesn't match significantly milder nearby city records. 

Hopefully there is also some truth to the Bulgaria or other "extra hardy" varieties of the windmill Palm as well; another anecdote with a temp discrepancy where the official Plovdiv temperature station is known to be different, colder, than the urban space the actual Bulgaria or takil 'polar palms' are/were. 

Aside from cold oceanic summer "hardiness", Needle Palms are the world's most cold hardy palms bar none.  (And also new Mexico washies have micro overnight cold snap 0 deg F hardiness in a dry desert)

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climate change virginia

wow they look perfect :yay:

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Aceraceae

*Sabal minor attain early hardiness even at grass blade stage. 

*Needles are more rare but overall hardiest.  Windmills are so commonly cultivated that there is a scattering of extreme anecdotes that make them sound also Hardy to negative 10 yet they can die at 5. They also can't handle too much wind ironically, then again windmills shut down above 50 miles an hour anyway. 

 

* Big question here: can needle palms seriously handle several inches of top soil frozen even 6" to a foot when fully mature? Even with mulch the frost line is often deeper than that in places like Maryland where they seem to do fine as well as the New York botanical garden specimens and Ohio.  The peak frost line is shockingly deep in the United States, but that's going by the generous graphs trying to avoid bad foundations and frozen water pipes such as under a windblown road or knoll where the snow is ploughed off.   Cutting those numbers in half there is still a foot of frost in places where needles, windmills, and other semi tropicals like Southern magnolia are cultivated. 

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Bigfish
On 3/3/2021 at 1:37 PM, Aceraceae said:

* Big question here: can needle palms seriously handle several inches of top soil frozen even 6" to a foot when fully mature? Even with mulch the frost line is often deeper than that in places like Maryland where they seem to do fine as well as the New York botanical garden specimens and Ohio.  The peak frost line is shockingly deep in the United States, but that's going by the generous graphs trying to avoid bad foundations and frozen water pipes such as under a windblown road or knoll where the snow is ploughed off.   Cutting those numbers in half there is still a foot of frost in places where needles, windmills, and other semi tropicals like Southern magnolia are cultivated. 

Good question.  It’s often been said that even the hardiest of palms can’t handle having their roots exposed to temperatures below around 20°F.  Tennessee rarely ever has the ground freeze below an inch or two, but it has happened deeper than that in the ‘80s.  I would think when you’re talking about freezing down a foot deep, that could be fatal, depending on the duration of the freeze.

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Aceraceae

According to the common maximum frost app maps, there would be easily be a foot of frost in the most extreme cases in North Texas Oklahoma Kansas and Tennessee during such freeze events. Some of those locations are Sandy dry soil Others are clay which may also be dry in a warm mostly mild Winter.

https://buyersask.com/structural/foundation/frost-heaving-and-ice-lenses-cause-structural-damage-to-foundations-and-basements/

 This map which shows a few inches down to Orlando and a 100" in northern Maine and Minnesota and over 4' around New York city does seem to be an overestimate or accounting for a windblown knoll or ploughed street with no snow cover (frozen pipes occasionally happen beyond four feet deep then)

It seems like this event would have frozen, if perhaps lite and dry, the soil down to a foot in Kansas where it went down to almost negative 20 or -30 Celsius, where large needle palms, healthy from hot summers, seem to be nearly unscathed. 

Here is a nicer frost depth map that more aligns with realistic observed average frost depths lines and sounds a little easier in foundations:

IMG_0360_pg6nss.png

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CumberlandPlants

Hey Frank!

Been a bit. I was wondering you happen to know what hotel that Y. Rostrata is planted at in Sevierville. I would love to take a look at it the next time I am over that way. Please excuse me if I have already asked this question before. Could not remember if I did or did not.

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