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NC_Palms

Palm Decline in NC

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NC_Palms

For the past several years I’ve been spending a lot of time on Fork Point Island in the Pamlico River. The island seems to be a solid zone 8a, maybe 8b. 

Several years back the island was full of palms. Dominated by palmettos, windmills and pindo palms. A few washys and date palms were also present on the island. 

Now to today, several palms have been lost over the years. Most of the remaining palms don’t look heathy. This past winter destroyed the majority of the pindo palms - except for one. 

I have a few hypothesises for why the palms on this island have declined. The sabal palmettos probably are all from Florida. Floridian palmettos are not adapted to North Carolina’s cool winters. Sabal palmettos have begain to naturalize the island. Palmettos that have germinated and were grown on the island seem to be indestructible. General lack of care is another one of my hypothesises. You can’t just throw a CIDP or a washingtonia the ground and expect it to grow, especially when our winters are cool and wet. Simple things like covering more sensitive palms with burlap and Christmas lights could of made a big difference. Another problem is that the landscapers trim off a lot of green leaves from the palms. This ruins both the aesthetic and health of the palm. Lastly the island has very poor and sandy soil. I don’t think the windmill palms like it. 

 

Fork Point Island on Google Maps: https://earth.app.goo.gl/E6ioUa 

Feel free to look around the island! 

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NC_Palms

1861B4DD-2BC0-45B4-9905-EF0CF10C9A39.thu70952672-4121-4757-8F1A-20A6C7E41134.thuTrimmed Sabal palmettos and a windmill palm. No idea what this windmill could be suffering from. 

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NC_Palms

8DD76873-8BA5-4B5F-A3E3-5D7A3943496C.thuB8F1CD87-087A-438C-BC88-D360E2F23B7B.thuMore trimmed sabal palmettos.

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NC_Palms

9BB9DF23-B892-40D9-A555-B80D233E6D29.thu9B7B967C-2FE2-4B23-A13E-C494B1042926.thuYoung sabal palmettos which seem to have naturalized. 

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NC_Palms

CDE75B4C-5315-406D-8D8D-23525099BB6D.thuF781807B-2940-4083-AE52-4EF0AC537DB0.thuhealthy windmill palms.

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NC_Palms

8B179A4E-9F83-4978-A6C0-3067019D895B.thuNutritent deficient? Looked like this for years but seems to be getting worse. 

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NC_Palms

066CD039-9541-4C7A-BE71-E163746B9C3C.thu2CE4B886-5800-49AD-BCF6-2934411BD9CA.thuA few planted dwarf palmettos. 

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NC_Palms

3F9066AB-870A-41AD-9474-565678AC9D19.thuwild dwarf palmettos in the swamps behind the island. 

Edited by NC_Palms
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NC_Palms

22919892-476D-454D-BF45-2A68EA378BB2.thuSome of the healthiest palmettos on the island. Palm in the far right doesn’t look as great. 

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Mr.SamuraiSword

last winter was harsh for nc

the wilmington washy noted as the tallest palm in the state perished.

heres a few carnage pics NOT MY PICS

36043824_10155468320312483_325998246660527073266_10155145379347483_697959483787027459545_10155145398342483_7937570063087

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Mr.SamuraiSword

these are in atlantic beach

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PalmTreeDude

Someone needs to start a nursery in N.C. that only sells South Carolina and North Carolina palmettos. But that is hard since they are normally only along the coast. You just start seeing wild palmettos inland in S.C. just south of Walterboro, and they increase in number as you get to the coast line. But I wish North Carolina would have more palms, a large portion of the state can grow palmettos but sometimes in those areas you see none. I bet after this winter people are demotivated to plant palms where they got cold damage. And we already know people removed cold damaged palms that could have made a full recovery just because they looked dead on the outside. 

Edited by PalmTreeDude
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NC_Palms
4 hours ago, Mr.SamuraiSword said:

last winter was harsh for nc

the wilmington washy noted as the tallest palm in the state perished.

heres a few carnage pics NOT MY PICS

36043824_10155468320312483_325998246660527073266_10155145379347483_697959483787027459545_10155145398342483_7937570063087

When were these photos taken? The CIDPs and washingtonias look much better than I though. 

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Mr.SamuraiSword
7 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

When were these photos taken? The CIDPs and washingtonias look much better than I though. 

the top one was in april, middle was in march and bottom in march    keep in mind these were like 1-3 blocks from the ocean so they have a decent microclimate

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NC_Palms
2 hours ago, PalmTreeDude said:

Someone needs to start a nursery in N.C. that only sells South Carolina and North Carolina palmettos. But that is hard since they are normally only along the coast. You just start seeing wild palmettos inland in S.C. just south of Walterboro, and they increase in number as you get to the coast line. But I wish North Carolina would have more palms, a large portion of the state can grow palmettos but sometimes in those areas you see none. I bet after this winter people are demotivated to plant palms where they got cold damage. And we already know people removed cold damaged palms that could have made a full recovery just because they looked dead on the outside. 

Eastern North Carolina already has a lot of native palm populations in the wild, either it be sabal palmettos or sabal minors. The problem seems to be that very few people actually know about our native palms and all the palms that can be ornamentally grown here. 

Palms grown here usually fail mostly because of human error. Our climate is great for palms, but when you transplant palmettos from Florida you will expect damage and fatalities. Also I’ve mentioned above that overtrimming and general lack of care may be leading to decline.  

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NC_Palms
5 minutes ago, Mr.SamuraiSword said:

the top one was in april, middle was in march and bottom in march    keep in mind these were like 1-3 blocks from the ocean so they have a decent microclimate

Glad to see them doing so well. Even seeing just a tint of green on the date palms makes me so happy!! Suprised to see a washingtonia on Atlantic Beach doing so well. I was just down there this past week and all of the washingtonias on Fort Macon Rd looked fried. 

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Anthony_B

I believe Gary's Nursery has been selling native NC palms from seed he collected from Bald Head Island decades ago.  I don't know how large of a specimen you can get from him, though.  Since sabal palmettos take so long to mature, most people want to buy an already mature tree, and the only option is likely Florida.  If somebody started today, it would be around 25 years before they could start selling full-sized sabal palmettos.  That would be quite an investment.

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Mr.SamuraiSword

heres a before pic in december of the larger one.  

25994968_10155059777537483_200555866636570358_n.jpg

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Anthony_B

Here is the info on Gary's website:

 

http://www.garysnursery.com/PalmSalesRetail.html

 

"Acres of our NC Grown cold hardy palms. Grown from seed right here in Craven County, NC from old specimens some of which have survived below zero temperatures. Our Sabal palmetto and Sabal minor palms are grown from seed collected from native populations in NC.

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto/Blue Stem palmetto)..................... We use seed from NC native plants only. Sabal minor is native to the southeastern US, including NC, and as far west as Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Bush form, grows slowly to about 8-10 feet or so and eventually forms a short trunk after many years. In habitat it grows in partly shaded shaded wet areas but will tolerant full sun and after established is very drought tolerant. Very cold hardy after first year in the ground from nursery grown plants.

Sabal palmetto "Bald Head Island"  ................   Seed collected from Bald Head Island, NC in 2000. The most northern location of native Sabal palmetto.

Sabal palmetto..................  B&B hurricane cut. 6 - 10 ft. (Florida grown) These take 2-3 years or more to re-grow their root system and tops and during this time are subject to damage and/or death if a severe low single digit freeze occurs. However, 1989 was the last time this kind of damage occurred here in the New Bern area, but could happen again at anytime. Should be planted in a protected spot out of the north wind in this area for long term survival.  Potted, recovered palmettos are available at times. Please inquire."

 

 

It sounds like to me he sells tons of dwarf palmetto and smaller sabal palmetto from native NC populations, but if you want a larger tree they're imported from Florida.  If course, the best course of action is to call and ask.

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NC_Palms
8 minutes ago, Anthony_B said:

II believe Gary's Nursery has been selling native NC palms from seed he collected from Bald Head Island decades ago.  I don't know how large of a specimen you can get from him, though.  Since sabal palmettos take so long to mature, most people want to buy an already mature tree, and the only option is likely Florida.  If somebody started today, it would be around 25 years before they could start selling full-sized sabal palmettos.  That would be quite an investment.

I think you’re right. I know he went down to BHI on a collection trip before. 

 

8 minutes ago, Mr.SamuraiSword said:

heres a before pic in december of the larger one.  

25994968_10155059777537483_200555866636570358_n.jpg

I wonder what they look like now, in July?

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Anthony_B
2 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

I think you’re right. I know he went down to BHI on a collection trip before.

If you have time on your side, he may have a 10 or 15 gal that you can grow out.  It would probably take a decade to really get nice size on it, but like you said, it would be fairly bulletproof.  I just turned 32 two weeks ago and I'm building a new house that should be ready end of September.  The thought has crossed my mind...

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NC_Palms
10 minutes ago, Anthony_B said:

If you have time on your side, he may have a 10 or 15 gal that you can grow out.  It would probably take a decade to really get nice size on it, but like you said, it would be fairly bulletproof.  I just turned 32 two weeks ago and I'm building a new house that should be ready end of September.  The thought has crossed my mind...

Maybe, I already have a few hundred sabal palmetto seedlings that I have grown throughout the years. Since Gary’s Nursery is only 30 minutes down the highway from me, I am planning on picking up a bunch of palms before the fall. 

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