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sonobeau

Are You Nuts? You can't grow palm trees here!

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sonobeau

Howdy Folks,

So through many experiments from so called "zone pushers" and the unforeseen cold snaps in recent years in places such as ST. George, Utah and the polar vortex affecting 49 states, plunging even south Florida into the 20s, we know palms of all varieties are much more cold hardy then once thought. So I'm interested to know, who out there lives in places where palms "Don't grow" or where conventional wisdom tells us they're not supposed to grow. There's a LOT of tales out there from folks who live in palmy climates like Southern Arizona or the Carolinas zone pushing with coconuts or other extremely tropical plants. That's not the purpose of this particular post. This here is a call out for people living in placing like Boise, Denver, Chicago etc where one ordinarily wouldn't see any palms at all, when driving through town. Places that are supposedly "No palms here ever". If you're living in a harsh climate like this and are somehow growing palms outside all year round, What are you growing, and how are you doing it? Most so called "cold hardy" palms are rated no lower than zone 8ish, but have any folks here managed to adapt any palms to live outside with minimal protection in zones 5-7? 

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Allen

Well my yard mowers told me my palms wouldn't live 3 years ago. But a couple weeks ago told me they mowed a lot of yards and have never seen anything like my backyard and asked if they could take photos.    I think my sig tells what I have out.

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sonobeau

Do you use any kind of winter protection or just let them grow wild?

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DAVEinMB
15 minutes ago, Allen said:

Well my yard mowers told me my palms wouldn't live 3 years ago. But a couple weeks ago told me they mowed a lot of yards and have never seen anything like my backyard and asked if they could take photos.    I think my sig tells what I have out.

This is what it's all about right here :greenthumb::greenthumb:

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Allen
32 minutes ago, sonobeau said:

Do you use any kind of winter protection or just let them grow wild?

Yes ones that need it get protection as needed.  People in FL protect their palms too as needed.  People zone push everywhere.  

Edited by Allen
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pin38

I have a juvenile Sabal minor 'McCurtain' in-ground here in 6a. Last winter was it's first, I only covered it on 2 days/4 nights with dead leaves and a trash bag over a chicken wire cage (no added heat). Pushing healthy new growth this summer.  It's not really noticeable yet, but people are always shocked when I tell them what it is.

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JLM

3 queens and a clump of 4 pygmy dates planted in warm 8b. Not much of a zone push, but when you consider the fact that we would have polar vortexes coming through every now and again, they likely wont last no more than 10 years if that. I have a potted foxtail and a coconut that was just germinated aswell so i have my share of tropicals here. The most common are only the cold hardy palms :crying:

I should be thankful for what i have though :D

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donofriojim1

I have needle palm, sabal minor Mc Curtain, Sabal Lousiana growing in a sheltered location in my yard. I planted a tiny trachycarpus fortunei bulgaria seedling last year. It survived with zero protection and fully exposed to the elements until March. Cincinnati zone 6b

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Allen
30 minutes ago, donofriojim1 said:

I have needle palm, sabal minor Mc Curtain, Sabal Lousiana growing in a sheltered location in my yard. I planted a tiny trachycarpus fortunei bulgaria seedling last year. It survived with zero protection and fully exposed to the elements until March. Cincinnati zone 6b

Good choices for sure!  I would protect the Louisiana under 5F and the Bulgaria under 15ish if I were you until the Bulgaria gets large then maybe a tad lower.    

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sonobeau
23 hours ago, donofriojim1 said:

I have needle palm, sabal minor Mc Curtain, Sabal Lousiana growing in a sheltered location in my yard. I planted a tiny trachycarpus fortunei bulgaria seedling last year. It survived with zero protection and fully exposed to the elements until March. Cincinnati zone 6b

Very Nice! Ohio gets really cold for sure. You are the coldest climate zone to answer so far, this is exactly the kind of growing zone I was hoping to hear from. Thank You for taking the time to answer, and BTW where ever did you find a trachycarpus bulgaria seedling and how can you tell the difference between that and a regular trachycarpus palm?

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donofriojim1
4 minutes ago, sonobeau said:

Very Nice! Ohio gets really cold for sure. You are the coldest climate zone to answer so far, this is exactly the kind of growing zone I was hoping to hear from. Thank You for taking the time to answer, and BTW where ever did you find a trachycarpus bulgaria seedling and how can you tell the difference between that and a regular trachycarpus palm?

I actually grew it from seed. Its true our temps can dip pretty low but the very Southern part of Ohio is much different climate wise than the rest of the state. Cold dips usually are short lived and our winters are more rainy than snowy. The are other needle palms and some sabals out in the open in other nearby cities on the Ohio River like Louisville as well. Check out my "Cincinnati Palms" posts :)

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Lots of needles in st Louis.  I planted very small needles in morganfield KY 5-6 years ago that my sister in law never even watered let alone protected.  Added a few more this year in henderson, KY at my other sister in laws house. 

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VA Palmer

I am trying a few in Northern VA (7a) in a wind protected area around my pool, out back but I am very new to it.  I put two Needles (Rhapidophyllum hystrix) in the ground right away this Spring (2020) as well as four Chinese Windmills (Trachycarpus fortunei) in a shaded area that I put in pots last Spring (2019) on the lanai and green-housed over last Winter - both ordered from fast-growing-trees.com.  I plan to Winter protect (as per Francko "Palms Won't Grow Here and other myths" and Meerow "Betrock's Cold Hardy Palms") the Windmills - for sure.  We'll see.   I have four more Windmills that I plan to keep in their large planters for reserve that I will greenhouse over Winter until they get too big for their pots.

I also ordered 10 Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor) seeds from floridatrees on Etsy (because I couldn't find any trees online at the time) which I potted in February.  Seven spouted in July and are doing well.  They will stay in the greenhouse for the Winter and I'll see if they are robust enough come Spring to put in the ground.  At the same time, I also potted 10 rare Kumaon Fan Palm (Trachycarpus takil) from Bonanza/Plantarium, but they have yet to sprout.

This Spring I also potted 10 – Dwarf Rock, Spearmint Rock Palm (Brahea moorei) as a promotion from rarepalmseeds and one sprouted in late July.  I expect it to stay potted and greenhouse for the Winters as it is advertised as less cold-hardy.

I have several other non-palm cold-hardy "tropicals"  that are better discussed in the - OFF TOPIC FORUMS: TROPICAL LOOKING PLANTS - Other Than Palms - on this site.

BtW, I have videoed my whole process since I got the idea "tropical bug" after a 2018/2019 Winter wind storm trashed four Leeland Cypress trees that were around the pool at the time - one  tearing down the fence, another's root ball ripping the pool drain line and another cracked the pool deck.  If all goes well, I will post as a YouTube video of the final result - which could be years in the making?

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AndyMac7
On 8/10/2020 at 8:20 PM, donofriojim1 said:

I have needle palm, sabal minor Mc Curtain, Sabal Lousiana growing in a sheltered location in my yard. I planted a tiny trachycarpus fortunei bulgaria seedling last year. It survived with zero protection and fully exposed to the elements until March. Cincinnati zone 6b

Very nice for sure! I'm a fellow Ohioan, just right up the river from you, near Portsmouth (which is technically south and east, but no one seems to know/care Lol). I have a Trachy Bulgarian which has been outside for now for it's 4th year.  It's about as tall as I am (over 6 ft). The first year I did protect with a halogen bulb and trash can on the coldest nights, just to be safe and give it a good start.  It was a tiny little thing, as yours was. It's very true that our low temps in southern OH are much milder than most people think. On average I'm about 10, sometimes 15 degrees warmer than Columbus! I'm convinced I'm in the coolest part of zone 7, since I've closely monitored temps for a while now. Our low this year, even with the "polar vortex", is dang near an 8a climate- 8* above. Last year it was 12. We do regularly see single digits, but usually only 1 night a year.

 

Here's what I'm also convinced of, in my experience anyway (Much of it, yes, is common palm knowledge):

- Copper Fungicide really helps, especially with our wet winters

- An anti-desiccant, such as Wilt-Pruf also seems to help Trachys from being "freeze-dried"

- Getting them off to a good start is HUGE. BABY them the first year or two. Anything under 15 degrees use a covering and/or incandesent/halogen bulb for extra warmth.

- NO blankets (provides no warmth, suffocates palms)

- NO plastic (same as blankets, accelerates rotting like crazy)

- If you get snow, especially ice, try to knock it off periodically during the strom, if able. That way, fronds won't break as badly, exposing inner tissue which can get further damage.
- Never feel bad for "cheating" or protecting your palm. Lol! A Rhododendron wouldn't survive our climate without extra "help" or proper placement now would it? :)

I've attached an older pic of my Bulgarian. It's a bit bigger now, so I'll try to take a new one in a few months when it ramps up again.  And please overlook the landscaping. It needs work. lol. But you'll also notice my Bermuda grass. Further supporting the milder climate of southern OH ;). 

1614013104022.jpg

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ShadyDan

I bet if you tell most Americans that palm trees grow here in Canada they would say your are full of it! There are three species of palms in this picture of my house growing happy as clams 100% un protected, along with a few other plants that people probably dont associate Canada with (Eucalyptus, Acacia, olives and a mandarin).

Home.jpg

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GregVirginia7
On 7/18/2020 at 8:56 AM, Allen said:

Well my yard mowers told me my palms wouldn't live 3 years ago. But a couple weeks ago told me they mowed a lot of yards and have never seen anything like my backyard and asked if they could take photos.    I think my sig tells what I have out.

Do you have to protect the Butia?

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Allen
38 minutes ago, GregVirginia7 said:

Do you have to protect the Butia?

Yes! and the Trachy.  This year I had to protect some plants from a 1" ice storm but the minor seems to be ok with that.  

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EastCanadaTropicals
On 7/18/2020 at 8:46 AM, sonobeau said:

Howdy Folks,

So through many experiments from so called "zone pushers" and the unforeseen cold snaps in recent years in places such as ST. George, Utah and the polar vortex affecting 49 states, plunging even south Florida into the 20s, we know palms of all varieties are much more cold hardy then once thought. So I'm interested to know, who out there lives in places where palms "Don't grow" or where conventional wisdom tells us they're not supposed to grow. There's a LOT of tales out there from folks who live in palmy climates like Southern Arizona or the Carolinas zone pushing with coconuts or other extremely tropical plants. That's not the purpose of this particular post. This here is a call out for people living in placing like Boise, Denver, Chicago etc where one ordinarily wouldn't see any palms at all, when driving through town. Places that are supposedly "No palms here ever". If you're living in a harsh climate like this and are somehow growing palms outside all year round, What are you growing, and how are you doing it? Most so called "cold hardy" palms are rated no lower than zone 8ish, but have any folks here managed to adapt any palms to live outside with minimal protection in zones 5-7? 

The only palm here that survives with minimal protection here is a Needle Palm, and even then, you have to put it in a sheltered spot. I am trying a Windmill Palm, I covered it with a box and some wrapping, and the big snow pile covering it entirely. This winter is milder than usual, so I hope it survives. Next year, ill plant some Needle Palm, Canna Lilies, Crape Myrtle, Musa Basjoo, and a Monkey Puzzle. The Musa Basjoo will just get cut and mulched, the snow insulation will do the rest. The Monkey Puzzle, I will wrap, box and maybe cut down a few fronds, in the worst freezes, I might need to summon the c9's. Crape Myrtle (in a sheltered spot), I will cut down, mulch, and the snow insulation will do the rest. We get, like 1-2 feet of snow here. Canna Lilies will have some artificial heat, and that heat might heat the Musa Basjoo too, as the Cannas are a companion plant. Needle Palm, might get some leaves cut off and wrapped in the worst freezes, but other than that, same as the Crape Myrtle. I gotta check winter temperatures and microclimates in the summer and fall so everything goes as planned. I will also plan Yellow Grove Bamboo, Sabal Brazoria, and Sabal "Tamaulipas".

Edited by EastCanadaTropicals

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donofriojim1
7 hours ago, AndyMac7 said:

Very nice for sure! I'm a fellow Ohioan, just right up the river from you, near Portsmouth (which is technically south and east, but no one seems to know/care Lol). I have a Trachy Bulgarian which has been outside for now for it's 4th year.  It's about as tall as I am (over 6 ft). The first year I did protect with a halogen bulb and trash can on the coldest nights, just to be safe and give it a good start.  It was a tiny little thing, as yours was. It's very true that our low temps in southern OH are much milder than most people think. On average I'm about 10, sometimes 15 degrees warmer than Columbus! I'm convinced I'm in the coolest part of zone 7, since I've closely monitored temps for a while now. Our low this year, even with the "polar vortex", is dang near an 8a climate- 8* above. Last year it was 12. We do regularly see single digits, but usually only 1 night a year.

 

Here's what I'm also convinced of, in my experience anyway (Much of it, yes, is common palm knowledge):

- Copper Fungicide really helps, especially with our wet winters

- An anti-desiccant, such as Wilt-Pruf also seems to help Trachys from being "freeze-dried"

- Getting them off to a good start is HUGE. BABY them the first year or two. Anything under 15 degrees use a covering and/or incandesent/halogen bulb for extra warmth.

- NO blankets (provides no warmth, suffocates palms)

- NO plastic (same as blankets, accelerates rotting like crazy)

- If you get snow, especially ice, try to knock it off periodically during the strom, if able. That way, fronds won't break as badly, exposing inner tissue which can get further damage.
- Never feel bad for "cheating" or protecting your palm. Lol! A Rhododendron wouldn't survive our climate without extra "help" or proper placement now would it? :)

I've attached an older pic of my Bulgarian. It's a bit bigger now, so I'll try to take a new one in a few months when it ramps up again.  And please overlook the landscaping. It needs work. lol. But you'll also notice my Bermuda grass. Further supporting the milder climate of southern OH ;). 

1614013104022.jpg

Nice to meet you! I know of someone just outside of Portsmouth who has a nice sabal minor right smack in the middle of there front yard never protected! I have pictures of it on one of my "Cincinnati palms" posts!. 

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Jimhardy

The first comment I heard was "what will you do when they die?" then almost in the same breath "what will you do when they get to big"

 

Haha.  I am in Southeast Iowa

T.Manipur (Naga Hills), T.Latisectus,T.takil,T.Oreophilus,T.Geminisectus,T.Princeps

also Tree ferns C.Cooperi (2) C.Robusta (1) C.Brownii (1)

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jwf1983

I live in Washington, DC (NW DC), in the city proper.  We appear to benefit from much shorter, manageable winters over the last several years, as well very strong urban heat island impacts.  While outside of the city proper you will routinely see winter lows into the teens, it's been a few years since we've gotten close to that in town. 

I have 3 Sagos (Cycas Revoluta), and 1 Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus Fortunei).  They are all potted, and left on an east facing patio 365 days a year.  One of of the Sagos is about 7 years old.  The others are about 4 years and 3 years respectively.  The Trachy was purchased at a Lowes in a 3 gallon planter last September when visiting the Wrightsville Beach, NC area.  

Without a great deal of extremes in temperatures, particularly during the winter over the last several years, these particular specimens have not only survived with little to no damage, but they have thrived.  The older Sago trunk has had pronounced growth, and new long, strikingly deep green fronds have grown early summer the last two years.  Middle Sago had the same growth last summer, shortly after the older one. To this point, end of February 2021, they appear just as they were prior to the winter.

The Trachy seems to be unfazed by the winter, and I look forward to seeing how it progresses through spring and into the summer.

 

Its worth noting that the patio location is somewhat shielded from the brunt of weather, particularly the strongest winds.  I believe that the location, the heat island impacts, and relatively mild winters with few extremes the last several years has shown that it certainly is possible to maintain the survival and growth of cold hardy palms and other subtropicals in "non-native" environments.  

 

 

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Gator

This is my first post here.

I am a palm fanatic here in zone 5/6 central Utah at 5300ft elevation.

I have a trachy going on its 5th year in the ground, and it is really starting to get some size to it.

In late November I put Christmas lights and a spotlight on it.  I also have a little foil-backed bubble wrap tent i made

that i put over it on when it gets really cold.   The past 2 winters I havnt had to use my tent.

Lowest temps I have seen have been upper single digits, which doesnt seem to even phase the trachy. 

Here are a couple of pics from this past week.  

I love seeing all of your pictures and experiences as you all push palms past their normal growing range.

-Gator

 

 

 

IMG_3093.thumb.jpg.1f3cd618cc99b78b4e300dd877f2ea0c.jpg

Lowest temps I have seen were upper single digits, and it doesnt seem to phase the trachyIMG_3272.thumb.jpg.3e04fe04d20ac1a5d3f07f9dd9a94686.jpg at all.

 

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Brandon James

So far here in Maine on an island off the coast, I’ve had success with needle palms, and a windmill palm (which I construct a greenhouse around, but only fully enclose it when it’s usually mid January to end of February) I’ve found three main things for the winter that’s a killer, excessive moisture, not enough sun and to exposed to winds. Take care of these factors and you should have success. I have others I’m testing this year, like sabal minor and a cabbage palm. 

28589E6C-7F6A-4192-9FFA-A37EE9072FA4.jpeg

2E1616C5-7442-4750-B41C-255C7B40906B.jpeg

AB5DD873-1A37-45E1-BD03-DA6061572281.jpeg

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Brandon James
35 minutes ago, Gator said:

This is my first post here.

I am a palm fanatic here in zone 5/6 central Utah at 5300ft elevation.

I have a trachy going on its 5th year in the ground, and it is really starting to get some size to it.

In late November I put Christmas lights and a spotlight on it.  I also have a little foil-backed bubble wrap tent i made

that i put over it on when it gets really cold.   The past 2 winters I havnt had to use my tent.

Lowest temps I have seen have been upper single digits, which doesnt seem to even phase the trachy. 

Here are a couple of pics from this past week.  

I love seeing all of your pictures and experiences as you all push palms past their normal growing range.

-Gator

 

 

 

IMG_3093.thumb.jpg.1f3cd618cc99b78b4e300dd877f2ea0c.jpg

Lowest temps I have seen were upper single digits, and it doesnt seem to phase the trachyIMG_3272.thumb.jpg.3e04fe04d20ac1a5d3f07f9dd9a94686.jpg at all.

 

How are your winds? Do the windchills affect it?

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Gator

It is on the south side of the house. Most of the wind is blocked by the house.

Another factor that has helped is we have LOTS of sun.  It is always sunny here, and dry

We are in a drought... but in the 2020 water year we have only gotten just under 4" of precip for the year.

 

 

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GregVirginia7
21 hours ago, Allen said:

Yes! and the Trachy.  This year I had to protect some plants from a 1" ice storm but the minor seems to be ok with that.  

I tried a Butia but failed...I want to try one again in a nicely protected sunny south face (shed at the back of it) with adequate protection in the winter...have a NC grower that I've purchased from...Chilly Palms...and his Brazoria has done well the past 5-years...maybe I'll give it another try having gained a lot more knowledge since killing my first one several years ago...any suggestions on a good hybrid? All his palms are locally grown in NC but I may want to look for a reliable hybrid to try again.

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buffy

I use to grow palms when I was borderlines 8A/8B. Apparently, I'm now borderline 6A/6B. ;)

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DAVEinMB
16 minutes ago, buffy said:

I use to grow palms when I was borderlines 8A/8B. Apparently, I'm now borderline 6A/6B. ;)

I grew up in a 6a, these days I feel like my coastal 8b is too cold 

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Chris Wilson

I'm in southern Ohio and have a 15 foot Trachycarpus that's been in the ground for 5 years. The rest of my palms are small, I'm growing Sabal Minor, Sabal Causiarum, Washingtonia Robusta, Chamadorea Radicalis and I even have a couple Sago palms thats been in the ground a few years. All of them are covered and heated with christmas lights except for the Sabal Minors.

Trachy1.jpg

Sago.jpg

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DAVEinMB
2 minutes ago, Chris Wilson said:

I'm in southern Ohio and have a 15 foot Trachycarpus that's been in the ground for 5 years. The rest of my palms are small, I'm growing Sabal Minor, Sabal Causiarum, Washingtonia Robusta, Chamadorea Radicalis and I even have a couple Sago palms thats been in the ground a few years. All of them are covered and heated with christmas lights except for the Sabal Minors.

Trachy1.jpg

Sago.jpg

I never tire of seeing that trachy, absolutely gorgeous. Awesome job :greenthumb:

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Chris Wilson
1 minute ago, DAVEinMB said:

I never tire of seeing that trachy, absolutely gorgeous. Awesome job :greenthumb:

Thank you! I checked on it today and it looks nice and green can't wait to unwrap it for the year. I lost power for a couple days because of an ice storm but thankfully the temp only got down to 15 during that time.

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OC2Texaspalmlvr

@Chris Wilson Your Trachy in my opinion is what everyone wants theres to grow up to be one day. Absolutely great growing :greenthumb:

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