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SALOttawa

Help with washingtonia robusta in winter

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SALOttawa

I am fairly new to growing palms especially outdoors! Washingtonia Robusta is one of the palms I am attempting to grow here in Ottawa, Canada - Zone 5a. I have one in the ground so far and I am hoping to plant two or three more this spring. The temperature readings for my one in the ground look good, but I am concerned my humidity might be too high. I was hoping to get experiences from members who have grown them. Basically, I am looking for tips, successes, methods, suggestions, failures and things to avoid. You can see my methodology here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAx_wU_GCbI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNwruumG_Ps

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Allen

If you're talking about the one in the insulated box in your video as long as water is not getting in and soaking your palm you should be ok.  Sometimes those sensors give goofy reading on humidity.  It should probably be 50-80% in there.   I assume you are keeping the robusta pretty warm with the lights and a thermocube??

Edited by Allen

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Jimhardy

The humidity in my small enclosures is always pegged at 95-99% and this

can cause mold issues but the palms are mostly leafless anyway....and this usually isn't a problem

as long as its not freezing in there...one thing you need with a Washy in cold areas like where

"we" live is a lot of mulch..slightly pulled back from the trunk(not all the way) and don't think a foot

of mulch is to much because its not...when I used to uncover my Washy in spring the ground would

be right on the edge of freezing next to the palm but not quite...33F to 34F...also,once it gets warmer

don't forget to pull the mulch back so the soil can warm up.

PS 

 

Adding completely dry mulch not wet would be best at this point.

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SALOttawa
13 hours ago, Allen said:

If you're talking about the one in the insulated box in your video as long as water is not getting in and soaking your palm you should be ok.  Sometimes those sensors give goofy reading on humidity.  It should probably be 50-80% in there.   I assume you are keeping the robusta pretty warm with the lights and a thermocube??

Water is definitely not getting in. I am using a thermocube and some people say that is the humidity problem because the heat is not on all the time. According to these people, it is better to keep the c9s on all the time. However, with two strings, my box easily heats up to 10 degrees Celsius or 50 F. So if they were on constantly, I am worried the temperature would get too high. And we have a real cold spell coming. If I was to unplug one string, I am worried it wouldn’t be able to overcome the cold. What is your opinion? 

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SALOttawa
9 hours ago, Jimhardy said:

The humidity in my small enclosures is always pegged at 95-99% and this

can cause mold issues but the palms are mostly leafless anyway....and this usually isn't a problem

as long as its not freezing in there...one thing you need with a Washy in cold areas like where

"we" live is a lot of mulch..slightly pulled back from the trunk(not all the way) and don't think a foot

of mulch is to much because its not...when I used to uncover my Washy in spring the ground would

be right on the edge of freezing next to the palm but not quite...33F to 34F...also,once it gets warmer

don't forget to pull the mulch back so the soil can warm up.

PS 

 

Adding completely dry mulch not wet would be best at this point.

I don’t have any mulch in there, but I did partially bury a plumbing heat wire to try to keep the ground in the box from freezing.

 

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EJ NJ

I have heard of people growing w robusta in zones less than 7B I heard that they are the most easy palm to protect!

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Allen
15 minutes ago, SALOttawa said:

Water is definitely not getting in. I am using a thermocube and some people say that is the humidity problem because the heat is not on all the time. According to these people, it is better to keep the c9s on all the time. However, with two strings, my box easily heats up to 10 degrees Celsius or 50 F. So if they were on constantly, I am worried the temperature would get too high. And we have a real cold spell coming. If I was to unplug one string, I am worried it wouldn’t be able to overcome the cold. What is your opinion? 

5a is pretty cold and your box is built on the big side so I would keep quite a bit of bulbs in there.  I can't tell what type of insulated board you used.  c9 are 10watts each so I'd say 15-20 bulbs but I'm guessing.  You could think about options of putting a extra emergency string or a 100 watt bulb on a 20F-30F thermocube in addition to the 35-45F thermocube. That way if the first set wasn't keeping up and dropped to 20F the emergency set would kick in.  If I were you I would leave the box sealed all winter and only turn on lights when temps were under 32F or 0 C.  

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Chester B
2 hours ago, Allen said:

5a is pretty cold and your box is built on the big side so I would keep quite a bit of bulbs in there.  I can't tell what type of insulated board you used.  c9 are 10watts each so I'd say 15-20 bulbs but I'm guessing.  You could think about options of putting a extra emergency string or a 100 watt bulb on a 20F-30F thermocube in addition to the 35-45F thermocube. That way if the first set wasn't keeping up and dropped to 20F the emergency set would kick in.  If I were you I would leave the box sealed all winter and only turn on lights when temps were under 32F or 0 C.  

I did something similar in my greenhouse.  I left one string on all winter to help burn off some humidity.  The second string was plugged into an Inkbird digital controller that was set to come on at 35F/2C and shut off at 45F/8C.  

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SALOttawa
3 hours ago, Allen said:

5a is pretty cold and your box is built on the big side so I would keep quite a bit of bulbs in there.  I can't tell what type of insulated board you used.  c9 are 10watts each so I'd say 15-20 bulbs but I'm guessing.  You could think about options of putting a extra emergency string or a 100 watt bulb on a 20F-30F thermocube in addition to the 35-45F thermocube. That way if the first set wasn't keeping up and dropped to 20F the emergency set would kick in.  If I were you I would leave the box sealed all winter and only turn on lights when temps were under 32F or 0 C.  

Great idea! Thanks!

48 minutes ago, Chester B said:

I did something similar in my greenhouse.  I left one string on all winter to help burn off some humidity.  The second string was plugged into an Inkbird digital controller that was set to come on at 35F/2C and shut off at 45F/8C.  

Thanks for confirming! I will get one ordered.

 

3 hours ago, Allen said:

5a is pretty cold and your box is built on the big side so I would keep quite a bit of bulbs in there.  I can't tell what type of insulated board you used.  c9 are 10watts each so I'd say 15-20 bulbs but I'm guessing.  You could think about options of putting a extra emergency string or a 100 watt bulb on a 20F-30F thermocube in addition to the 35-45F thermocube. That way if the first set wasn't keeping up and dropped to 20F the emergency set would kick in.  If I were you I would leave the box sealed all winter and only turn on lights when temps were under 32F or 0 C.  

 

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Ryland

Washingtonia robusta here will happily take 90+% humidity all winter without any issue, as long as it doesn't freeze too severely.  They also grow will in other high-humidity coastal locations, like the Oregon coast.  It might not be an issue for you, as long as you check regularly to confirm that no visible changes are happening to the palm.

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SALOttawa
15 hours ago, Ryland said:

Washingtonia robusta here will happily take 90+% humidity all winter without any issue, as long as it doesn't freeze too severely.  They also grow will in other high-humidity coastal locations, like the Oregon coast.  It might not be an issue for you, as long as you check regularly to confirm that no visible changes are happening to the palm.

I opened it today. It looked great but I changed my heating system a bit 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkUrlpzPfHM

 

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Ryland

Looks good!  Nice video update.  As it's looking that well in January, it's a good sign for it staying well through the rest of the winter - good luck!

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SALOttawa
5 hours ago, Ryland said:

Looks good!  Nice video update.  As it's looking that well in January, it's a good sign for it staying well through the rest of the winter - good luck!

Thank you. I am hoping for the best!

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