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jwf1983

Trachycarpus Fortunei Sensitivity to Heat

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jwf1983

I have two Trachycarpus Fortunei outside on our Washington, DC patio.  They remain outside year round.  Early on, I was convinced that winter extremes would test the hardiness of these two, but after a couple of years I've noticed more sensitivity to extreme heat than anything else.  Both are in large pots and are about 3 feet high with fronds spreading about 4 feet wide.  They get a good 6 hours of direct and indirect sunlight, with some obstruction of light due to a Sago alongside and in front of the Trachy).  By mid July, despite watering every other day or as it appears to be needed the tips of the lower fronds appear slightly green/brown, with some of them appearing folded. Closer to the top and the spear, new bright green fronds continue to grow and these appear to be entirely open (not folded).

I realize that some of the lower fronds not appearing as vibrant as the newer ones is probably normal, however I have noticed that if temperatures are consistently in the mid 90's for any stretch longer than a few days, this frond folding/darkening becomes much more pronounced.  Recently, we've had a break in the normal summer heat, with temps in the mid 80's during the day.  I've noticed the fronds appear to be regaining some color and expanding once again--at least a little.

Does anyone have any observations or insight into Trachycarpus Fortunei having issues with extreme heat, or a lack of tolerance over certain high temperatures over an extended period of time?  I realize there are parts of the world more consistently hot than here in the summers, so I wonder if anyone has noticed similar issues, particularly when potted.  Also worth noting, that the fronds appear to be much brighter in the late spring/early fall than in the middle of the summertime.

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Allen

It's the pots.  In ground they handle this fine.  Give us a picture for more info.  They will never be as robust as ground planted ones.

Edited by Allen
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GregVirginia7

From what I've read, they do not like long stretches of heat (or heat in general) and the hotter the climate, the more daily shade they require...I'm in Northern Virginia, just outside DC so we are experiencing the same heat extremes you are.  I've noticed my in-ground Trachy's leaf segments folding and staying that way, but I think it's just a defensive mechanism to reduce horizontal surface area to protect against direct sun...this Trachy was in full-shade under a large pine tree and the frond segments were flat but the pine tree was removed and that threw it into full-sun and the leaf segments have have been somewhat folded ever since...my guess is, watering regularly, especially in a hot summer is best and that's what I'm doing, too, but as a rule now and not an exception. Varied coloration is something I haven't seen in mine. Coloration looks uniformly healthy...Question...today is much cooler (comparatively) and dryer in terms of humidity...have your palm's leaf segments opened up at all? I do think they are happiest in morning sun and afternoon shade but even with the abrupt lighting change mine went through, it appears to be thriving, though it does seem to have had to adjust to the change. And yes, when it was shaded, predictably the fronds were larger and waterfallish. Now that it's in full sun, they are stiffer and somewhat smaller.

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Chester B
15 minutes ago, Allen said:

It's the pots.  In ground they handle this fine.  Give us a picture for more info.  They will never be as robust as ground planted ones.

I agree.  I have them out in full sun where they see 90s regularly in the summer and some 100s with very low humidity, and the fronds never close up.

Those roots are heating up and cooling down, whereas the ground gives a nice steady state.

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Gator

My Trachy seems to handle the heat just fine.  We have had over 30 days of temps 100-105 degrees

It also has full ( high elevation ) sun.    Maybe they dont like the humidity?????

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Josue Diaz

They're planted all over central California and I've never noticed anything on mine. 100F+ for weeks on end is normal for us in summer, and sometimes we'll go for a week or two above 110F. 

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RyManUtah

My observations are similar. They look half sun-scorched by late summer, and much healthier in winter. 

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Jtee

I just seen a windmill palm in southern New Mexico out in full sun and it looked great, there are a few in south Alabama in full sun that look great also. I had a few in my yard outside San Antonio Texas and they looked beautiful despite seeing very high consistent temps and a long summer. 

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jwf1983

So today (Friday, July 23) it is a bit below average temperature wise in Washington, DC (currently 85 degrees according to my thermometer).  It was also notably much less humid yesterday and today.  Very comfortable for end of July around here.  After a good watering yesterday, the Trachy in question looks a little better.  The fronds are less folded, though not entirely open, and the color is much more vibrant green throughout.

I do think some of this has to do with the fact that ultimately potted Trachys will never look as good as they would in ground.  I'll continue to keep an eye on things when the heat and humidity return tomorrow onward.  Some of the responses here seem to indicated tolerance to temps beyond what we typically experience here.  Maybe it's a combination of things--high heat + high humidity + potted vs inground. 

At lease our three Sagos seem perfectly fine with just about anything nature throws at them. 

I appreciate everyone providing some insight.   

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Fallen Munk

Mine got up to 117F a few weeks ago.  Just some slight damage on the older fronds.

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UK_Palms

It's the summer heat, rain and high humidity causing problems, similar to what happens in Florida, where Fortunei are virtually absent. I hear that Fortunei will take 120F in a dry, desert climate, providing they have an established root system or get adequate irrigation. There are specimens planted out near the Gobi desert where it gets very hot in summer. They probably take 5F in winter and 115F in summer, every year, but rainfall is also low year-round, especially during summer. Those sort of conditions aren't really an issue for an established Fortunei. 

They might not look great in a hot, desert environment, but they are surprisingly tolerant of extreme heat, providing they get water. Even without adequate water, Fortunei should have a degree of drought tolerance once established. The quickest mine have ever grown is during a week long stretch of 95-100F temps in August 2020. I didn't water them at all during that period and they do seem to have less watering demands than stuff like CIDP, which will yellow off quickly if it doesn't get adequate water. So hot, dry conditions are not really an issue for Fortunei.

What they won't take is months of 90F weather, high rainfall and high humidity. That's why they will grow well in California or Western Australia, but not in Florida or Queensland. There are of course a few exceptions to this, but the same generally applies to stuff like Chamaerops, CIDP etc. A lot of palms don't like hot, wet, humid conditions where moisture is always in the crown, especially during summer. Hot + wet = rot and fungal problems. Cool/mild + wet is far less of an issue, hence why CIDP, Chamaerops and Filifera's grow pretty well over here in the UK.

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PalmatierMeg

I believe they are able to take high daytime heat if they get some cooling relief at night. They get that relief in a dry climate where nights can drop into the 60s or even 50s. They do not get that relief in FL where summer days can soar to mid- to upper-90s and nights creep down to upper-70s to upper-80s. The other day the temp at 10pm was still 90. This goes on from mid-April to mid-Oct. Our humidity is legendary. Few places in the US have conditions this harsh for so much of the year with no relief. I cannot grow Trachies.

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Gator
23 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I believe they are able to take high daytime heat if they get some cooling relief at night. They get that relief in a dry climate where nights can drop into the 60s or even 50s. They do not get that relief in FL where summer days can soar to mid- to upper-90s and nights creep down to upper-70s to upper-80s. The other day the temp at 10pm was still 90. This goes on from mid-April to mid-Oct. Our humidity is legendary. Few places in the US have conditions this harsh for so much of the year with no relief. I cannot grow Trachies.

You may be on to something with the night time temperatures.  My Dry high elevation can summertime lows are usually low to mid 60's ( and that is Mid July at its warmest )

Trachys can handle some heat as long as they have a cool off period.   Seems like a plausible explanation.

 

 

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jwf1983

This would seem to make sense.  I've read that Trachys don't do well in South Florida for those reasons, among others.  At least during the peak of summer here in Washington, DC (as well as just about everywhere else down the Southeast coast, I'd imagine) most days peak in the 90's, sometimes higher, sometimes a bit lower.  Maybe as a result of the urban heat island, the evening lows are almost always in the mid 70's, often upper 70's.  The hottest most humid days the last few summers there have been several nights that failed to drop below 80 degrees, sometimes for stretches of a few days at a time.  Not far outside of the downtown part of the city and the suburbs, nights will cool off a little more.

While this may be common in South Florida for a good portion of the year (possibly why they don't do too well down there), and only a couple of months around here, I can't help but notice the Trachys look much better in the spring and early fall period than at the apex of summer.  July has taken a toll on it for sure.

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oasis371

All my Trachycarpus (containerized or in ground) are in either full shade or part sun outside, no problems despite the heat.

Don't neglect watering, several of mine are containerized and I still water ever day, and we've already recorded a foot of rain for July.

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jwf1983

Oasis371... Good call on the frequent watering.  My Trachys can't seem to get enough water in the summertime.

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Jimhardy

Some of the stiffer leaved Trachys like Wagnerianus and Princeps (when young) can have

issues in the heat esp if it is calm and hot because the leaves can square up to the sun and burn

right through...sometimes although the leaves will fold up the section nearest the stem burns

because it stays somewhat open..

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Collectorpalms

It’s the high extended overnight temperatures in summer ( with dew points over 75F) Places that don’t go below 75F with equal dew points, they eventually decline.  A 100/60 summer average is highly survivable, but not a 95/77. 70-75 at night is the extreme limit.

Some on San Antonio riverwalk make it, but it is a more arid heat. A few make it in older shady Houston ( Along with Pindos), the acidic soil may/must help Somehow, but none survive long in more humid Galveston or the Rio Grand Valley. 
i bought some windmills as replacements this spring that are still potted and are doing well with all the rain and acidic soil mixture. My Summer average has been 94/78. Daily Dewpoints of 73-75 and as high as 81!!

their roots are staying cooler as I have them in a few inches of rain water. The acidity must be preventing root rot. 

Edited by Collectorpalms
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