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Manalto

Puerto Rican hat palm

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Manalto

20210928_123302.thumb.jpg.9e5f5f3f6b370798a78819b19ea21982.jpgThis is probably the one millionth question that's been asked about the rate of growth of sabal palms but I just can't help myself.

About a year ago, I bought a Sabal causiarum from North Texas Cold Hardy. It was mail order, so quite small. Since then, it's produced a couple of leaves, and is now about 4 feet tall at the highest leaf tip. It's planted among naturalized Sabal minor (the foliage on the left) that are growing throughout the shady areas of my property. This spot gets plenty of light,  with dappled shade from high branches of a live oak in the middle of the day. We've had a nice warm, wet summer (nothing unusual for the Gulf Coast) which I imagine has helped encourage growth. When there is a rare lag in rainfall, I'm diligent about giving it a drink. I have fertilized lightly.

In your experience, what can I expect in the years to come? I ask because it's planted near the property line in the hopes of creating a mass of foliage to screen for privacy until it grows tall enough to be a proper palm (if I live that long). I love the fat trunks of this species (seen only in photos, although I'm sure I've seen them in Puerto Rico when I didn't know what I was looking at) and hope to at least see the beginnings of one in mine. Any advice to optimize the growth rate of this palm is welcome.

Edited by Manalto
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PalmatierMeg

Sabal causiarum is considered one of, if not the, fastest growing Sabal. I planted ours circa 2010/11 while still strap leafed and it is now 20+ ft tall, trunk diameter ~3' and leaf diameter 6-7'. In short, it is a monster Sabal. Your winters are colder than mine but in not too many more years you should have a good sized specimen too.

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316052311_Sabalcausiarumfrond0103-24-20.thumb.JPG.181c33936a5826fa57dcc9f148765412.JPG

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Manalto

Thanks, Meg, that's encouraging news. All around Mobile, I see S. palmetto that have reached that juvenile stage with full-sized leaves but no trunk yet. They're sprouting in foundation plantings, ditches, and up against commercial buildings, where the mower and weed whacker have failed in their mission to obliterate. At that stage, they have a strong architectural presence and contribute a bit of tropical flair to this town that appears to be stuck in the live oak-azalea-crape myrtle rut. I'm hoping S. causiarum adds that same atmosphere to my back yard on a slightly grander scale. If I had an ample supply of seed, I'd probably play Johnny Sombrero Seed and stealthily plant causiarum all over town.

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PalmatierMeg

Way faster than palmetto. The palmettos on Sabal Row have yet to flower. The causiarum, domingensis & maritima all have flowered and are 3-4x the size.

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Steve in Florida

I planted one seven years ago from a five gallon bucket and it has 32" of trunk.

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SailorBold

How cold hardy are these again?

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Swolte

I'd rate them less hardy than the Palmetto, however, not by far. A young specimen survived 3F in my yard (unprotected) and I know mature ones survived 8F unprotected at JFGardens. Tough buggers.

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Fallen Munk

I have some in the PNW.  They are extremely slow.  Summer is hot here, but not enough warm nights.  I have some two and a half year old seedlings with three strap leaves.  

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Chester B
11 hours ago, Fallen Munk said:

I have some in the PNW.  They are extremely slow.  Summer is hot here, but not enough warm nights.  I have some two and a half year old seedlings with three strap leaves.  

I agree. I’m down to 3 in ground, but mine have fan leaves. The fastest growing one has put out 3 this year so not terrible considering it’s still a small palm. 

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Manalto
On 10/2/2021 at 4:43 PM, Swolte said:

I'd rate them less hardy than the Palmetto, however, not by far. A young specimen survived 3F in my yard (unprotected) and I know mature ones survived 8F unprotected at JFGardens. Tough buggers.

You're saying all the right things. I got it with the idea that it would be marginal here (8B) until established but it sounds like they can take the chill. We've had an usually wet summer which I think has helped. I'll give it some fertilizer in the spring.

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Chester B

@Manalto I definitely think it’s worth having where you are. I have a feeling it will surprise you with how fast it grows for you with your nice hot steamy weather. 

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Silas_Sancona
45 minutes ago, Chester B said:

@Manalto I definitely think it’s worth having where you are. I have a feeling it will surprise you with how fast it grows for you with your nice hot steamy weather. 

Agree w @Chester B  You will not be disappointed w/ this palm  -at all-   The most impressive Sabal sp, besides S. uresana, imo.

 

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Merlyn
On 9/28/2021 at 5:58 PM, PalmatierMeg said:

Sabal causiarum is considered one of, if not the, fastest growing Sabal. I planted ours circa 2010/11 while still strap leafed and it is now 20+ ft tall, trunk diameter ~3' and leaf diameter 6-7'. In short, it is a monster Sabal. Your winters are colder than mine but in not too many more years you should have a good sized specimen too.

That's great info, thanks!  I put a strap leaf in the ground in December 2019, and it's now about 3' tall with 1.5' fans.  It was in a lot of shade the first year, but I took down the rest of the water oak canopy in January 2021.  In full sun this year it is putting out fronds pretty quick!

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Dartolution
On 10/8/2021 at 8:00 PM, Manalto said:

You're saying all the right things. I got it with the idea that it would be marginal here (8B) until established but it sounds like they can take the chill. We've had an usually wet summer which I think has helped. I'll give it some fertilizer in the spring.

@Manalto I think you're good. I have several strap leafs in nursery pots I got as seed from @PalmatierMeg from her Causiarum in sabal row. 

My neighbor is planting one in the spring, and I plan to stick a few in the ground at my parents place up in 7B just to see what happens. 

I'll likely leave one out all winter as well. They've gone from seed to 4-5 strap leaves in just a few months... thats pretty quick in my book.  

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Manalto
21 hours ago, Dartolution said:

@Manalto I think you're good. I have several strap leafs in nursery pots I got as seed from @PalmatierMeg from her Causiarum in sabal row. 

My neighbor is planting one in the spring, and I plan to stick a few in the ground at my parents place up in 7B just to see what happens. 

I'll likely leave one out all winter as well. They've gone from seed to 4-5 strap leaves in just a few months... thats pretty quick in my book.  

I hope yours do well for you; they're such impressive palms once they attain some size. I'm just a bit impatient. I'm giving mine a year to get established and then I begin tapping my toe.

Another question: Are they finicky about being moved like S. palmetto? I'm thinking that I should get some seed and start growing them in pots, but first I'll have to learn if it can be done and then how to do it.

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Swolte
2 hours ago, Manalto said:

Another question: Are they finicky about being moved like S. palmetto? I'm thinking that I should get some seed and start growing them in pots, but first I'll have to learn if it can be done and then how to do it.

I moved a non-trunking one in early spring (dug out a foot radius) that was severely damaged after the big freeze. Since last month, it started slowly growing again.  

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Dartolution
15 hours ago, Manalto said:

I hope yours do well for you; they're such impressive palms once they attain some size. I'm just a bit impatient. I'm giving mine a year to get established and then I begin tapping my toe.

Another question: Are they finicky about being moved like S. palmetto? I'm thinking that I should get some seed and start growing them in pots, but first I'll have to learn if it can be done and then how to do it.

I would have no reason to believe they would be any more or less root/meristem sensitive than any other Sabal. Same precautions apply. 

Theoretically, you could transplant a 1 to 20 foot specimen at any point as long as you scoop deeply and wide enough not to damage them - We really are limited only by the equipment we have available. 

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RJ

I have transplanted small sabals, they sulk for awhile but I haven’t lost any. 

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Manalto
2 hours ago, Dartolution said:

I would have no reason to believe they would be any more or less root/meristem sensitive than any other Sabal. Same precautions apply. 

Experience may give one a reason to believe otherwise; that's what I was asking about.  Mine is extremely limited. I have struggled now for nearly four years to get an S. palmetto established with a full crown; it hasn't happened yet. Granted, this is a 14' specimen with foliage removed and roots trimmed and wrapped, which is, I believe, the standard way to transplant this full-grown palm. It was expensive enough to get this one; the cost of moving the entire rootball undisturbed would be prohibitive - and unlikely to happen with such a common and "ordinary" palm. (I happen to love them.) I've moved a couple of S. minor and tried to keep the rootball intact. It didn't seem to matter if I did or not. All survived without missing a beat. Of course, they couldn't be more different: one, a stripped down pole that essentially requires re-rooting and another that is only briefly disturbed, maintained its entire root system, and was carefully watered until established. 

However, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect there to be some variation of sensitivity among the species.

PS - It took me so long to get this reply sent, in the meantime RJ replied. Thanks, RJ. I can tolerate a little plant petulance - as long as they snap out of it.

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