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siege2050

Advice Needed for Trachycarpus Fortunei

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siege2050

Hello everyone, I am sure you have heard this before but I was wondering, what is a realistic growth rate for Trachycarpus Fortunei per year. I ordered 4 off of ebay for about 11 dollars apiece as its not possible to find them around here. Our summers here in Oklahoma are around 95 F up to 105 F a few times, very humid, winters are down to as low as 0 F zone 7a. Soil in yard is acidic oak, hickory, pine forest. Also would it be safe to plant them in full sun if it does get as hot as 105 F? Will I have to protect them from now on, or will they become more cold tolerant and not need protection when older?

Windmill Palms.jpg

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nitsua0895

I'm not sure about the growth rate because I've also just recently purchased a few small ones but I can say they are incredibly hardy from what I've seen. 

What's the all time record low where you live? Over the past few winters in Montgomery we've had temperatures as low as 11F that have killed numerous Washingtonia Robusta and badly damaged Sago palms and even Butias but all the Trachycarpus Fortunei handled the cold without a problem.

Also, from May-September almost every day is humid and in the mid-90's here and I see lots that are doing well in full sun so I'd say it's safe. Although while they're still small I suppose it wouldn't hurt to cover them in extreme heat, I probably would.

 

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siege2050

Record low was probably around -13F but that has not happened in a very long time, we were zone 6b then, now we are zone 7a. About the last 5 years we have stayed above zero every winter, last year was the closest at 1F. I started some Washingtonia Fillibustas (Still waiting on Fillifera to sprout) from seed, and I have to say they grow extremely fast for a palm. I plan on keeping them in a shop overwinter until they get too heavy to move, use them sort of as a long term annual until my Trachycarpus get taller. 

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JLeVert

My experience in Augusta, GA :  Trachycarpus will grow in full sun, but looks best if it is shaded from the sun in the afternoon when it is the hottest.  They seem to do best in clay soil with ample water.  I have trouble in my sand because of nematodes.  I don't know if that can be a problem in Oklahoma or not.  Trachycarpus also looks best out of the wind.  The leaves tatter. 

The best ones I have ever seen were growing near or under high pines with full sun only part of the day.  Think habitat suitable for azaleas or camellias.

Hope this helps.

DSCN0880.jpg

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Pal Meir

The most frost sensitive part of T. fortunei are the roots: They may get damaged already at -7°C±1°C (20-17°F). In their Chinese habitat in the mountains they have much snow in winter, which protects the soil against too deep ground frost.

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smithgn

Trachycarpus fortunei's, like most palms, are slow growers when young. The larger they get, the faster they grow. Since you bought multiples, put a few in shade and a few in full sun and compare the two. I personally think Trachy's look best in shade. Their fronds grow larger and longer and become droopy; a pretty elegant and tropical look. As for full sun, I have one trachy that is in full, 8+ hours of sunlight in the summer. It had slightly burnt tips but was still pushing growth regularly. It probably doesn't like full, head on sun, heat and humidity, but it deals with it and keeps chugging along.

Oh, and my Trachy that is situated in full sun has a compact crown. I could be wrong, but it seems that it also exhibits a lot more vertical growth than those planted in shade. Can anyone attest to this?

Edited by smithgn

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Brad Mondel

I've seen large specimens do fine in zone 7. I would grow them out larger in pots for a few years and then plant them. Even after planting you might end up having to protect them until they form a trunk. 

So your options are:

A. Plant in the spring and protect them in the winter with a wire cage full of pine straw or leaves until they form a trunk.  

Or

B. Grow them out in pots until substantially larger. Bring them inside your unheated garage or building during severe cold snaps. Then plant later. 

They will do fine in full sun but in my opinion they look and grow better in part sun. Protection from nearby trees and canopy will increase hardiness as well. 

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Flow

And about growth rate, once trunking, you can expect it to gain around 20-30cm of trunk per year if you give it ample water and a little fertiliser every now and then.

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siege2050

Thanks everyone, looking forward to seeing how these do.

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palmhort

I had two that started out about 3 Gal size here in Central NJ. After about 10 yrs they were about 5 to 6ft tall!  Sadly, last year I lost them both due to the prolonged cold and insufficient protection despite them being in the ground for well over 3 yrs.  I would say whenever the temps go below 15F, make sure they are well protected (both the trunck and surrounding root zone area with plenty of dead leaves, burlap etc. Although the minimum temps were still within our zone 7a minimums (0 to 10F) I think it was the multiple durations of those temps that did them in.     I will try again!   Good luck!

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Alcibiades

Those palms are to young to get planted out in zone 7 in my opinion. Grow them in pots for another 2 or 3 years until they have a trunk of at least 30 centimeters.

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siege2050

I think right now they are probably about 20, I am afraid to overwinter them indoors, and am trying to just get them through the rest of this winter indoors. A couple of years ago I lost one inside, not sure why exactly. It was looking great, then suddenly collapsed. I might try overwintering them in pots in my unheated greenhouse instead so they go dormant. It does not get freezing at floor level with frost cloth covering.

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siege2050
On 1/13/2016, 8:14:28, palmhort said:

I had two that started out about 3 Gal size here in Central NJ. After about 10 yrs they were about 5 to 6ft tall!  Sadly, last year I lost them both due to the prolonged cold and insufficient protection despite them being in the ground for well over 3 yrs.  I would say whenever the temps go below 15F, make sure they are well protected (both the trunck and surrounding root zone area with plenty of dead leaves, burlap etc. Although the minimum temps were still within our zone 7a minimums (0 to 10F) I think it was the multiple durations of those temps that did them in.     I will try again!   Good luck!

I think we usually only get below 10F about 4 times average spread out over the whole winter. I will probably just make it a habit to burlap them or something, even though it would look cool to see a palm in the snow lol. People driving by each year stare when they see my 20 foot tall Orinoco bananas in the yard lol.

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Hamal

For a short period of time, they can just about handle 0F (some may, some may not), but they will most likely lose their leaves and you can probably pull the spear. Also, this assumes some protection of the roots. Extended periods below 10-15F will rather not be tolerated. And these are the absolute minimum temperatures, they will never get used to temperatures colder than that. If you choose to put those little guys in the ground, they will need some special protection during the first winter or two. Since they probably come from a greenhouse, their leaves might go at even higher temperatures.

As far as heat is concerned, they will definitely survive 105F in the sun, but as somebody said before they prefer a little cooler temperatures. Especially since their roots do not go very deep, creating some shade for the ground around the palm will benefit them.

 

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TexasColdHardyPalms

I thought those 1G Windmills looked familiar.  As soon as I noticed the trimmed leaves I knew they were mine. 

Don't plant them until April 1 as it isn't warm enough before then and around Tulsa gets very cold.  You will have to protect them for a few years if you want to make sure that they don't spear pull and possibly die. I don't start planting down here until March 15th (regardless of size, 1G or 20' windmills)

 

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siege2050
25 minutes ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

I thought those 1G Windmills looked familiar.  As soon as I noticed the trimmed leaves I knew they were mine. 

Don't plant them until April 1 as it isn't warm enough before then and around Tulsa gets very cold.  You will have to protect them for a few years if you want to make sure that they don't spear pull and possibly die. I don't start planting down here until March 15th (regardless of size, 1G or 20' windmills)

 

Haha, that's cool, thanks for the palms! I saw some growing at a restaurant about 70 miles from here that had about 4 feet of trunk and decided I had to have some of them.

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siege2050
On 1/16/2016, 2:38:15, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

I thought those 1G Windmills looked familiar.  As soon as I noticed the trimmed leaves I knew they were mine. 

Don't plant them until April 1 as it isn't warm enough before then and around Tulsa gets very cold.  You will have to protect them for a few years if you want to make sure that they don't spear pull and possibly die. I don't start planting down here until March 15th (regardless of size, 1G or 20' windmills)

 

The Palms are looking great, I have them under 4 shop lights till spring, had no shock. I have decided to plant all four in one spot like a grove, to make it easier to protect with lightbulbs using one cord in winter instead of having cords all over the yard. What is a good spacing so they are not crowded in maybe 10 years?

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TexasColdHardyPalms

I really like the crowded windmill look of 4-6 palms.  Plant them on various 4-6' centers and you will have a natural grove look that really looks great once they have 7-12' of trunk.

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