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mlappalm

To what temperature are Trachycarpus fortunei leaves hardy to?

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mlappalm

Realistically I know the plants are listed hardy to Zone 8, which would mean they tolerate down to 10F, however I think that would defoliate the palm from what I’ve read. My idea is to keep my tree in a hole in the ground in a pot until it gets too cold outside and then put it on a cool porch (above freezing) for the winter and then take it out early in the spring and put it back in the hole. It’s going from a cool porch in the spring to outside, not indoors so I’m assuming I wouldn’t shock the plant as it wouldn’t be actively growing?  I’d like to not defoliate the plant in the process, but I’d also like to take advantage of the fact it tolerates sub-freezing temperatures. The plant I have is a trunkling about 4’ tall if that makes a difference. I’m going to put mesh in the bottom of the hole to prevent the palm from rooting through the pot into the ground. Let me know if you think this is a feasible idea. Thanks  

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NC_Palms

Trachycarpus fortunei is much hardier than 10ºF. They are a zone 7b palm at least. They are leaf hardy to around 5ºF but can come back from temperatures much colder. 

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Allen

In a pot I'd bring one with a small trunk in under 25F in your area or when ice/freezing rain is possible.   I leave my larger potted ones with full size trunks out to 18-20F.  The fronds can be tolerant of 10F or lower but I protect mine in the ground below 12-15F depending on conditions.  For example a brief dip to 10F and dry might not be a problem but prolonged or repeated wet cold could be.  Small ones can spear pull when wet and low 20's or lower in your area.

 

Page 2

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG31800.pdf

 

Edited by Allen

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PalmTreeDude

One of my most memorable moments with a totally unprotected Trachycarpus fortunei was when it was a 10°F Winter morning during a bad cold snap and I was looking out of my window at it thinking, "The best case scenario is that it will be totally defoiliated." Well, it ended up taking no damage from that. I found it to be insain. Unfortunately, it died the next winter from it being too WET in the crown for way too long. 

Edited by PalmTreeDude

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PlantDad
3 hours ago, PalmTreeDude said:

One of my most memorable moments with a totally unprotected Trachycarpus fortunei was when it was a 10°F Winter morning during a bad cold snap and I was looking out of my window at it thinking, "The best case scenario is that it will be totally defoiliated." Well, it ended up taking no damage from that. I found it to be insain. Unfortunately, it died the next winter from it being too WET in the crown for way too long. 

Hi,  I live in Keizer, Oregon Zone 8B and I there are some massive Trachycarpus fortunei around town. There is at least 1 that I know of that is much taller than the one story house that it is planted next to. It has to be probably around 25 feet tall. Even though we are listed as zone 8B I have been living here for almost 9 years and I have never seen the temperature get to 15 degrees, I think the coldest that I have seen it was 18 degrees. Trachycarpus fortunei are very common in Keizer, and also very common in Salem, Oregon which borders Keizer. In the hills of South Salem there are some large specimens of Butia capitata planted in the ground and completely exposed to the cold. I have noticed that most frost sensitive plants can take brief drops below freezing and be completely fine, but if they are exposed for long periods of freezing they get burned. Duration is a huge factor. I have had tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and even eggplants take temperatures down to 25 degrees multiple nights and were just fine, but when they were exposed to 30 degrees for a longer period they were killed. I can say the same for Musa bajoo. Their leaves are extremely frost tender, but they were untouched when a night went below freezing for a very short period.  Moisture plays a big part too, if your plant's leaves are dry they are less likely to be damaged by freezing. Frost damage on leaves is caused by moisture already present on the leaves being exposed to freezing temperatures, something as simple as a fan blowing on your plants may be effective enough to prevent frost damage depending on the situation. It will prevent moisture buildup on the leaves and thus prevent your plant from freezing. there is no water on the leaf surface at that point to freeze. Citrus growers in Riverside California have large propeller-type fans that they turn on when frosty nights are predicted and they are very effective at keeping frost from building up on the leaves. I am new to Palm Talk, this is actually my first post of any sort so I look forward to being a part of this community. I may have some knowledge to offer, but also I can learn a lot from everyone. 

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Brad Mondel

Planted seedlings survived 8F here with zero damage. Planting in ground increases hardiness. Five years and now knee high.

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newtopalmsMD

Hi Mlappalm,

I live in MD 7a north of DC (but a cold 7a given that my lot is about 10 feet lower than most of my surrounding neighbors). I have a trachycarpus fortunei living in a pot and have been doing the same thing.  Except mine is much smaller than yours.  Below is a picture.  I had put landscape cloth at the bottom of the pot to keep the roots from growing out.  In the winter I leave the pot outside on the driveway in full sun all day.  I move it into the unheated garage at night whenever the predicted low for the night is 15F or less, or whenever I think there might be freezing rain.   As you can see no leaf damage at all on the older fronds. This was one of two I bought at a big box store (on clearance) marked T Fortunei. 

The other I planted (second picture smaller palm).  A couple of nights of polar vortex where I built a cage and covered with a tarp to protect from high winds.  I also have some Christmas lights near the base (but not touching it) that I turned on maybe a total of 5 times all winter.  (Have no way to know if they do any good or not!)  During this winter it lost no fronds but some turned partially brown (and got a bit worse as temps warmed up).

Neither tree had any other species designation.  (the one in the pot is growing faster and fuller than the one in the ground)  There seems to be a number of species of T fortunei with slightly different temperature limits.  For example Bulgarian seems to be a bit more cold hardy than other species but maybe a bit slower growing. http://palmvrienden.net/gblapalmeraie/2017/06/30/trachycarpus-species-a-complete-overview/  

I will echo what Allen said, in that min temp matters, but things like number of days in a row below freezing, wetness, and even summer conditions matter., as well as intra and inter species variation.  My experience here in MD (not knowing my species or yours!) is that you should not have any problem with your protection plan.  

On a different note, what is it planted in?  Lots of opinions on what to use in the Palms in Pots forum.

One other article i found this morning that seems to cite a number of sources:  http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1667

IMG_3253 (1).jpg

IMG_3252.jpg

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kinzyjr

@PlantDad Thanks for sharing and welcome to Palm Talk!

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mdsonofthesouth

In my experience the leaves are hardy to single digits if it's a quick event. But anything bellow 5F will likely fry them. Mine saw 8 to 9F for a while and only saw minor tip damage. But fried to death at 3F event that only lasted a few hours. Your results may vary as we have humid wet winters here. 10F and up (depending on the duration and wind) usually don't seem to bother established trachycarpus too much, but definitely far from ideal.

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mlappalm

From what I gather it seems like 15F is a safe bet as long as it’s not extremely wet of subfreezing for a long time. I’m in upstate NY and I plan to take it out in April and Bring it in before the the month of December and may put it out later and take it out earlier depending on the weather. It’s not staying out all winter so it will only be enduring periodic subfreezing temperatures at night for maybe a little over a month. It will be in a pot sunk into the ground so that the roots will definitely not freeze or be exposed to fluctuating temps. Thank you all for the advice. 

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