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NC_Palms

Palms for the Outer Banks

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NC_Palms

This summer I will be selling palms and other ornamental plants (oleander, agave, crape myrtles, etc) in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Outer Banks is a chilly 8b/9a climate with cold, windy winters with cool summers, yet dropping below 15ºF is rare. So many palms like Sabal palmetto don't do that well here unless planted in a sheltered spot. I am definitely going to be selling Sabal minors and Trachycarpus fortunei, but what are some other recommended palms for a location like this? I was thinking maybe Jubaea or Phoneix Canariensis might be able to thrive there. 

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Dave-Vero

It's impressive what grows on sheltered Manteo, even that lovely Sabal palmetto.  

You might drive around Virginia Beach.  The tree-laden areas of Duck and Corolla and the wooded areas of Nags Head northward offer some shelter and you might see some interesting plants there.  I don't approve importing mature Sabal palmettos.  They take a long time and TLC to recover from transplanting. 

Baby Sabal palmettos would be perfect for Buxton Woods.  There's every reason to believe they were native, and were locally extirpated for their cabbages before the Civil War.  They would do well on Manteo and in other areas with oak canopy.  They will probably do well even out in the open.

I think if canary date palms did well, they'd be in evidence.  At least down in Wilmington.  No one seems to have grown Jubaea successfully on the east coast.   Rhapidophyllum hystrix thrives in Norfolk and Richmond, but it's definitely an inland plant.  Worth trying at Manteo.

Yucca gloriosa from South Carolina grows well in Yorkshire, England, so you might check and see how it's thrived in NC.  Yucca filamentosa is generally an easy plant to grow around the East, though the two in my yard have never gotten around to flowering.

Please tell any buyers of crape myrtles not to chainsaw them.  Elizabethan Gardens does some fancy crape pruning (pollarding and intricate trimming) but for the most part, they are careful to let their crapes have natural form.  

 

 

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NC_Palms
16 hours ago, Dave-Vero said:

It's impressive what grows on sheltered Manteo, even that lovely Sabal palmetto.  

You might drive around Virginia Beach.  The tree-laden areas of Duck and Corolla and the wooded areas of Nags Head northward offer some shelter and you might see some interesting plants there.  I don't approve importing mature Sabal palmettos.  They take a long time and TLC to recover from transplanting. 

Baby Sabal palmettos would be perfect for Buxton Woods.  There's every reason to believe they were native, and were locally extirpated for their cabbages before the Civil War.  They would do well on Manteo and in other areas with oak canopy.  They will probably do well even out in the open.

I think if canary date palms did well, they'd be in evidence.  At least down in Wilmington.  No one seems to have grown Jubaea successfully on the east coast.   Rhapidophyllum hystrix thrives in Norfolk and Richmond, but it's definitely an inland plant.  Worth trying at Manteo.

Yucca gloriosa from South Carolina grows well in Yorkshire, England, so you might check and see how it's thrived in NC.  Yucca filamentosa is generally an easy plant to grow around the East, though the two in my yard have never gotten around to flowering.

Please tell any buyers of crape myrtles not to chainsaw them.  Elizabethan Gardens does some fancy crape pruning (pollarding and intricate trimming) but for the most part, they are careful to let their crapes have natural form.  

 

 

2

Manteo has some impressive palms for the Outer Banks. Ronoake Island is completely protected from the harsh winds that they get in Nags Head and Kitty Hawk. I've seen some massive Butias and palmettos there. Farther down to Buxton, I saw some CIDPs in last December 2017, but I have no idea if they're still around.

I already have a Sabal palmetto restoration project planned in Buxton/Cape Hatteras. I will be visiting there on a separate trip to plant those palms around. I am debating if I should sell any Sabal palmettos in Manteo since all the ones I am currently selling are seeds collecting in North Carolina from Florida transplants. I have seen transplanted Sabal palmettos do well in Manteo. 

Yucca gloriosa is native to all of the Outer Banks to Virginia Beach and it is a common plant there. My goal is to only sell plants that are suitable for the Outer Banks, but I want to focus on palms. 

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RaleighNC
On 1/6/2019, 2:27:05, Dave-Vero said:

Please tell any buyers of crape myrtles not to chainsaw them.  Elizabethan Gardens does some fancy crape pruning (pollarding and intricate trimming) but for the most part, they are careful to let their crapes have natural form.  

LOL, I am sure you would not approve of my reckless pruning of crepe myrtles. I have several in my yard that I do not want, but my wife won't let me remove them. So instead I violently prune them to give light to the rest of my plants! And maybe if I make the trees too ugly, she will want to be rid of them. Does that make me guilty of passive-aggressive gardening?

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RJ
1 hour ago, RaleighNC said:

LOL, I am sure you would not approve of my reckless pruning of crepe myrtles. I have several in my yard that I do not want, but my wife won't let me remove them. So instead I violently prune them to give light to the rest of my plants! And maybe if I make the trees too ugly, she will want to be rid of them. Does that make me guilty of passive-aggressive gardening?

I can't stand them either! The ones in my front yard sucker to no end. I would cut them down except I'm renting our current house until construction is done on ours. 

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PalmTreeDude
18 minutes ago, RJ said:

I can't stand them either! The ones in my front yard sucker to no end. I would cut them down except I'm renting our current house until construction is done on ours. 

I guess I got lucky, I have one with two trunks that split four feet up and it never suckered before, it was planted in 2007. But in the Spring volunteers come up everywhere in my yard... 

Edited by PalmTreeDude
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NC_Palms

I agree with all of you. I despise crape myrtles. They are extremely overused and are not native. If I had it my way, I would mass plant Sabals and Dogwoods instead of the crape myrtles. I only sell them since they are easy to grow and my biggest buyers of them happen to be people from the Mid Atlantic region. 

I only enjoyed crape myrtles when I lived previously in Pennsylvania. They aren't hardy there and usually die down to the roots in the winter. 

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PalmatierMeg

@NC_Palms, are you planning to sell any Butias there - well, assuming you have any? I believe some species of Butia (eriospatha?) are cold hardier than the ubiquitous B. odorata. I agree that needles would not do well in sandy soil. 

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RJ
43 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

I agree with all of you. I despise crape myrtles. They are extremely overused and are not native. If I had it my way, I would mass plant Sabals and Dogwoods instead of the crape myrtles. I only sell them since they are easy to grow and my biggest buyers of them happen to be people from the Mid Atlantic region. 

I only enjoyed crape myrtles when I lived previously in Pennsylvania. They aren't hardy there and usually die down to the roots in the winter. 

They're easy to clone from cuttings too. I'm from the NE and we didn't have any up north. When I first saw them I thought they where pretty cool. That wore off quickly especially when I saw, as you noted, how over used they are. It always amazes me coming from such a cold zone with limited options how little folks down here broaden their use of other plants. Just so many options. I really think zone 8 is the sweet spot. You can still grow really nice tropical looking plants, as well as a lot of plants that require some cooling degree days as well. Sure I don't get to grow a lot of the super tropical looking palms but I get to grow American Chestnut if I want which I had 30 of up north. :greenthumb:

 

 

 

 

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NC_Palms
4 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

@NC_Palms, are you planning to sell any Butias there - well, assuming you have any? I believe some species of Butia (eriospatha?) are cold hardier than the ubiquitous B. odorata. I agree that needles would not do well in sandy soil. 

I wasn't planning on it, but I would if I had any left. Butia odorata does fairly well in the Outer Banks. I don't think I saw any completely defoliate or die there, compared to many of the Florida transplanted Sabal palmettos. For future reference I will consider eriospatha. It probably will thrive in the Outer Banks. 

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NC_Palms
4 hours ago, RJ said:

They're easy to clone from cuttings too. I'm from the NE and we didn't have any up north. When I first saw them I thought they where pretty cool. That wore off quickly especially when I saw, as you noted, how over used they are. It always amazes me coming from such a cold zone with limited options how little folks down here broaden their use of other plants. Just so many options. I really think zone 8 is the sweet spot. You can still grow really nice tropical looking plants, as well as a lot of plants that require some cooling degree days as well. Sure I don't get to grow a lot of the super tropical looking palms but I get to grow American Chestnut if I want which I had 30 of up north. :greenthumb:

 

 

 

 

2

I've realized that many people just don't care about gardening and will just buy cheap and widely available plants bought at Lowe's. All of the big box stores and the local nurseries all sell many different species of palms, so fortunately palms are quite common here. 

Zone 8 seems to be smack dab in the middle of temperate and tropical. Besides palms, I am growing spruces and firs. It's awfully hot for most spruces, especially my favorite one - Picea mariana (which is only hardy to 6b). Even the more heat tolerant spruces like Picea pungens and Picea abies won't make it here long term due to the stress from the long hot summers and mild winters. I did manage to find Abies pinsapo though, which I planted in the deep shade amongst my needles. 

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PalmTreeDude

Anyone ever see a bunch of naturalized Crape Myrtles? There is a local pool and in the woods beside it there are a bunch of Crape Myrtles everywhere, it looks kinda weird. There is also a big field (was forest many many years ago) and now there are Crape Myrtle trees all over it now from ones planter along the street and it looks like a savanna. 

It's true, people always buy the cheap Lowes and Home Depot plants. There are a few hidden planted Windmill Palms from a nursery that sold them back when I was in Elementary School, the bus would drive by and there was a large lot that looked like a desert, since there was no grass, with loads of Windmill Palms with nice trunk sizes. I remeber all the kids (me included) would stare out the window as we passed them since we were passing palm trees and we all thought they looked pretty cool. This was way out in the country too, which is where I typically see the palms around here (kind of surprising). 

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NC_Palms
21 minutes ago, PalmTreeDude said:

Anyone ever see a bunch of naturalized Crape Myrtles? There is a local pool and in the woods beside it there are a bunch of Crape Myrtles everywhere, it looks kinda weird. There is also a big field (was forest many many years ago) and now there are Crape Myrtle trees all over it now from ones planter along the street and it looks like a savanna. 

It's true, people always buy the cheap Lowes and Home Depot plants. There are a few hidden planted Windmill Palms from a nursery that sold them back when I was in Elementary School, the bus would drive by and there was a large lot that looked like a desert, since there was no grass, with loads of Windmill Palms with nice trunk sizes. I remeber all the kids (me included) would stare out the window as we passed them since we were passing palm trees and we all thought they looked pretty cool. This was way out in the country too, which is where I typically see the palms around here (kind of surprising). 

Crepe myrtles naturalize frequently  here and are very noticeable in the summer. In some places, the entire understory is full of them. They are borderline invasive. Whenever I find volunteers I take them and try to grow them for some value. 

Are Windmills common where you are in Virginia? I remember seeing them in Willamsburg and in the Norfolk/VA Beach area for sure. 

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PalmTreeDude
8 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

Crepe myrtles naturalize frequently  here and are very noticeable in the summer. In some places, the entire understory is full of them. They are borderline invasive. Whenever I find volunteers I take them and try to grow them for some value. 

Are Windmills common where you are in Virginia? I remember seeing them in Willamsburg and in the Norfolk/VA Beach area for sure. 

Windmills are not common here, but are not super rare. You have to kind of go look for them to really notice them. They are mainly in backyards. 

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Chester B

Crepe myrtles are just starting to catch on here.  You rarely see them in yards, but the nurseries are now offering a vast selection.  There are about 6 of them in my neighborhood and have not seen any volunteers anywhere.

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RJ
On 1/9/2019, 8:51:19, NC_Palms said:

I've realized that many people just don't care about gardening and will just buy cheap and widely available plants bought at Lowe's. All of the big box stores and the local nurseries all sell many different species of palms, so fortunately palms are quite common here. 

Zone 8 seems to be smack dab in the middle of temperate and tropical. Besides palms, I am growing spruces and firs. It's awfully hot for most spruces, especially my favorite one - Picea mariana (which is only hardy to 6b). Even the more heat tolerant spruces like Picea pungens and Picea abies won't make it here long term due to the stress from the long hot summers and mild winters. I did manage to find Abies pinsapo though, which I planted in the deep shade amongst my needles. 

Have you tried Abies firma (Japanese Fir) Possibly the Korean one as well? Abies koreana.

 

I was shocked to see and Candian Hemlock at the Columbia Zoo. It's been there long term as I would guess it's 20+ years old. 

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NC_Palms

 

8 hours ago, RJ said:

Have you tried Abies firma (Japanese Fir) Possibly the Korean one as well? Abies koreana.

 

I was shocked to see and Candian Hemlock at the Columbia Zoo. It's been there long term as I would guess it's 20+ years old. 

I haven't tried any of those firs yet. I spent the last year or so trying to get the Northeastern natives to grow, which I came to the conclusion that most are not hardy here and quickly die in the sandy soil without enough cooling degree days. I will like to try Douglas fir here, It was my favorite tree in my yard when I lived up north. I hope it'll take the heat and humidity. 

Canadian Hemlocks don't thrive here in my opinion, but they do in the piedmont. I would like to try Carolina hemlock, which is indigenous to the mountains of North and South Carolina.  

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Dave-Vero

Crape myrtles have been grown in Portland, Oregon for a long time, but they seem to need more summer warmth than is available there.  So the suggestion was for warm south sides of houses.  But you can grow other stuff there.  Actually, so many plants grow so well in Portland that crapes are a small omission.  

Here's Weakley's flora on Yucca gloriosa (it's an online publication available from the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill):  

"Yucca gloriosa Linnaeus, Mound-lily Yucca, Spanish Bayonet. Cp (GA, NC, SC): dunes, shell middens; uncommon, rare in NC (NC Rare). (April), October; November-December. E. NC (Dare County) south to ne. FL, west to LA (Kartesz 1999). [= RAB, K, S; = Y. gloriosa var. gloriosa – FNA]"

"RAB" is Radford, Ahles, and Bell, the classic flora of the Carolinas that I should have checked.  It gives the distribution as "Brunswick, Dare, Onslow Cos., N.C., Charleston C., S.C. [Ga.].  Here's a modern distribution map:  BONAP

I just canceled my winter trip to the Outer Banks to pay for another trip.  Rats.  

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RJ
4 hours ago, NC_Palms said:

 

I haven't tried any of those firs yet. I spent the last year or so trying to get the Northeastern natives to grow, which I came to the conclusion that most are not hardy here and quickly die in the sandy soil without enough cooling degree days. I will like to try Douglas fir here, It was my favorite tree in my yard when I lived up north. I hope it'll take the heat and humidity. 

Canadian Hemlocks don't thrive here in my opinion, but they do in the piedmont. I would like to try Carolina hemlock, which is indigenous to the mountains of North and South Carolina.  

Abies firma should do well in NC. The native range of Canadian Hemlock stretches all the way down to the Carolina's but it's been crushed along with Carolina Hemlock by the woolly adelgid. It's rather sad to see as the life is literally sucked out of the tree. I built my house up north out of hemlock (post and beam) as well as a barn (see pic below). it's great wood and naturally rot resistant. 

barn 9.jpg

barn 8.jpg

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Darold Petty

RJ, we need a better picture of the dog !  :D

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NC_Palms
18 hours ago, Dave-Vero said:

Crape myrtles have been grown in Portland, Oregon for a long time, but they seem to need more summer warmth than is available there.  So the suggestion was for warm south sides of houses.  But you can grow other stuff there.  Actually, so many plants grow so well in Portland that crapes are a small omission.  

Here's Weakley's flora on Yucca gloriosa (it's an online publication available from the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill):  

"Yucca gloriosa Linnaeus, Mound-lily Yucca, Spanish Bayonet. Cp (GA, NC, SC): dunes, shell middens; uncommon, rare in NC (NC Rare). (April), October; November-December. E. NC (Dare County) south to ne. FL, west to LA (Kartesz 1999). [= RAB, K, S; = Y. gloriosa var. gloriosa – FNA]"

"RAB" is Radford, Ahles, and Bell, the classic flora of the Carolinas that I should have checked.  It gives the distribution as "Brunswick, Dare, Onslow Cos., N.C., Charleston C., S.C. [Ga.].  Here's a modern distribution map:  BONAP

I just canceled my winter trip to the Outer Banks to pay for another trip.  Rats.  

Oh no, I was confusing Yucca gloriosa with the more common Yucca aloifolia, which grows up to VA Beach. 

What brings you to the Outer Banks in the winter? The OBX usually isn't my prefered beach in the winter. I was there last December and the winds were cold and brutal, but the actual air temperatures were mild. 

18 hours ago, RJ said:

Abies firma should do well in NC. The native range of Canadian Hemlock stretches all the way down to the Carolina's but it's been crushed along with Carolina Hemlock by the woolly adelgid. It's rather sad to see as the life is literally sucked out of the tree. I built my house up north out of hemlock (post and beam) as well as a barn (see pic below). it's great wood and naturally rot resistant

2

Both Canadian and Carolina hemlock populations are being decimated by woolly adelgid. Many of the stands have turned into "skeleton forest"

Colleague-_Little_Spruce_Ridge_covered_i

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Dave-Vero

When I moved from Florida to Portland, Ore. in 1997, I thought the ocean would be off limits.  Big, nasty, very very cold.  Um, not quite.  50º was fine.   I soon had a 6/5/4 wetsuit.  

BTW, Yucca gloriosa was possibly growing in English gardens even before the Roanoke colony.  

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NC_Palms
On 1/13/2019 at 1:09 AM, Dave-Vero said:

When I moved from Florida to Portland, Ore. in 1997, I thought the ocean would be off limits.  Big, nasty, very very cold.  Um, not quite.  50º was fine.   I soon had a 6/5/4 wetsuit.  

BTW, Yucca gloriosa was possibly growing in English gardens even before the Roanoke colony.  

How did Yucca Gloriosa get to England? My guess is via the Spaniards

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Chester B

Or the Vikings.....

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