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MarcusH

Our small palm collection in 8b

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MarcusH

Hi everyone just signed up a few minutes ago. Thank you for having me here. Moved to San Antonio,TX from Germany a little while back and I fell in love with palm trees since they're pretty common over here.  The majority are Washingtonia, Texas Sabal , Pindo ,CIDP , Mediterranean and Sago .Before our last artic winter I was able to see some Queens but I assume none of them survived unprotected in this area. However I try to give it a try so we bought a queen at HD . I've read all about winter protection from Christmas lights to regular maintenance incl. fertilization a few times a year.  Does anyone of you guys have some success keeping them alive due to some nights of freezing temps below 30F?  Our mexican fan palm was planted mid March and the queen just 2 weeks ago. It's still establishing its roots. Noticed a some discoloration on a few fronds . Here are some pics of our small palm collection.  

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Collectorpalms

I am in Texas, and I had a good run with 8 Mature 20 year old seed producing queens. Really other then feeding them so they are very healthy, they need a good microclimate.

Almost all ( but not every) Queen that survived in Texas 8b/9a until Feb 21, had things in common. They were planted on south sides of building close to a foundation, out of the north wind. When we get big arctic blasts that take the temperature below 20, we have a lot of northerly wind. Wind and 20F and below queens will die typically. Small ones are most vulnerable.  You really need to wrap the trunks all the way to the top of where the leaves come out. They can loose their leaves and come back, but if the trunk starts to freeze, it will rot after a couple years.

When 2021 came the majority of all Very Tall palms ( other than mostly sabals) in zone 8a/8b that lived where south facing and up against tall buildings. Those just a few feet away died.

Edited by Collectorpalms
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MarcusH

Thank you for that quick reply.  The queen is located on the southwest side but it hasn't been planted near the house.  The only way to protect it is to use Christmas lights and wrap it whenever we get below 30F . I'll give it a try if that doesn't work I will plant a few feet tall Texas Sabal .  I love Texas Sabal but they're more on the pricey side if you want them a few feet tall.  

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NBTX11

8b, hmmm.  Where in San Antonio are you, because inside Loop 410 is generally 9a.  Edit, I just looked at the USDA zone map and pretty much all of SA inside 410 and all of the southern half of Bexar county is zone 9a.

I have seen large queen palms in New Braunfels, I mean really big ones 30 feet tall that had been there years and years prior to the arctic freeze and NB is slightly colder than SA.  W. Robusta is going to be fine outside of another freeze like last year.  If you want to protect it when it gets below 20, you can, but that is not going to happen very often.  They could get 50 feet tall or more before another killing freeze in SA...some survived the 2021 freeze.  They get so tall so fast you can't protect them long anyways.  I lost a 45 footer that towered over my two story house in Feb 21.  I planted it in 2004 from a smaller plant, it grew that fast.  Between 2004 and 2021 it had defoliated but recovered I believe twice.  

The 3 best palm trees for SA are, in order (my opinion):  Washingtonia Filifera, Sabal Mexicana, Phoenix Canariensis.  Washingtonia Robusta, Sabal Palmetto, and Trachycarpus Fortunei are up there also, and Livistona Chinensis is also way up there, some having survived the Feb 21 freeze.  Those palms are the core of SA palms.  If you can get a Butia Capitata to grow, it would be a good option also.  Queen palms are going to be a lot more iffy.  Could get anywhere from 6 months to 15-20 years out of it.  I'd try to get my hands on a Mule palm first.  There are several survivors from the freeze also.  As far as I know, zero queen palms survived in SA from the freeze.

All hardy palms like Filifera and Mexicana survived the Feb 21 freeze fairly easily in SA.  Sabal is probably hardier than Filifera, but Filifera grows faster, therefore is number one in my opinion.  Look at all the ancient ones everywhere with mangled up trunks. 

Edited by NBTX11
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DreaminAboutPalms

There were some really really good looking queen palms with full crowns in San Antonio prior to Palmagaeddon. If you enjoy them and understand the fact that at some point it will get killed and you’ll have to cut it down than go for it. With that being said, the past decade has had many erratic winters much like the 80’s did and many queens survived up until the 2021 event. So We could be in the clear for awhile fingers crossed

Planting it in a location where it will be shielded from north winds though will make a huge difference. They will look kinda ratty if they’re getting hit by wind all winter 

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NBTX11

There was a neighborhood in New Braunfels that was loaded with large Queen palms, 30 footers, and 50-60 foot Robustas.  All of the queens died in 2021 and 80-90 percent of the Robusta died.  There were some great palms in there.  It looked like Florida or So Cal in there prior to the freeze.

Edited by NBTX11

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Manalto

I didn't see mention of a mule palm. I've had great success with that species in my Zone 8B climate. In San Antonio, the butia hardiness and drought tolerance would be a benefit, and it retains much of the grace of the queen.

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palmsrgreat

Welcome to the board.

If you have a spot that isnt too close to pedestrian traffic then Brahea armata would be a great choice for you. Brahea moorei is also worth considering for understory.

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Tom in Tucson
14 hours ago, Manalto said:

I didn't see mention of a mule palm. I've had great success with that species in my Zone 8B climate. In San Antonio, the butia hardiness and drought tolerance would be a benefit, and it retains much of the grace of the queen.

I would go so far as to say that a mule (almost always) enhances the grace of a queen.

Hi 703˚, Lo 74˚

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Manalto
16 hours ago, Tom in Tucson said:

I would go so far as to say that a mule (almost always) enhances the grace of a queen.

Hi 703˚, Lo 74˚

I agree. I'm smitten.

Whoa! 703˚ in Tucson. I'll have to reconsider my plans to move there.

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Jimhardy

yeah...but look at those comfy night temps + its a dry heat...

I thought about moving to Phoenix but I have heard it only gets 

down in the 500s at night.

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MarcusH

I want to thank everyone for answering all my questions.  This is exactly what I was looking for.  I can tell that you guys know what you're talking about.  Yes at one point I know a palmageddon freeze like last winter could kill my queen palm as well as my washingtonia robusta.  I can see some tall robustas didn't make it in our neighborhood.  Next time I would invest in a more cold hardier palm such as the Texas Sabal palm .  I understand the cost factor of buying and removing them.  The Texas sabal palm would give me a piece of mind knowing that they would survive our rare artic winters without a problem.  I didn't know about the Mule palm until you guys mentioned it. When the time comes to replace one of our palm I will definitely look into it.  Oh by the way I live on the northeast side of SA right outside of Loop 410 next to Windcrest and according to the internet it's zone 8b close to 9a.  Thank you everyone again . 

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NBTX11
10 hours ago, MarcusH said:

I want to thank everyone for answering all my questions.  This is exactly what I was looking for.  I can tell that you guys know what you're talking about.  Yes at one point I know a palmageddon freeze like last winter could kill my queen palm as well as my washingtonia robusta.  I can see some tall robustas didn't make it in our neighborhood.  Next time I would invest in a more cold hardier palm such as the Texas Sabal palm .  I understand the cost factor of buying and removing them.  The Texas sabal palm would give me a piece of mind knowing that they would survive our rare artic winters without a problem.  I didn't know about the Mule palm until you guys mentioned it. When the time comes to replace one of our palm I will definitely look into it.  Oh by the way I live on the northeast side of SA right outside of Loop 410 next to Windcrest and according to the internet it's zone 8b close to 9a.  Thank you everyone again . 

Your Washingtonia Robusta is going to be fine in your location.  It likely won't die unless we get another freeze like Feb 21, which is not likely.  Could it happen, sure, but the chances are low anytime soon.  It will also gain hardiness as it gets bigger.  Prepare for that thing to be 40 or 50 feet tall in 20 years.  Water frequently when young and it will take off.  Once established, you can stop watering it permanently.  It can defoliate below 20F, but rapidly recover in the spring.   

Texas Sabal will never die in San Antonio, except from old age at some point in the distant future.  I see some 100 year old Texas Sabals that look flawless.

Phoenix Canariensis is the best feather palm for San Antonio.  Hardy even in the worst of freezes, except that the fronds will be toasted and take a year or more to recover.

The Mule palm is a cross between the Queen palm and Pindo palm.  A lot hardier than a queen palm but sort of looks like a queen palm.  Some say it looks like a coconut palm.  2 Mule palms survived on the Riverwalk, as did a few others around town.  Any queen palm planted in SA will die at some point.  The question is, will that be next winter or 20 years from now.  But it will happen.

Filifera is all the really ancient palms you see around town with the beat up trunks.  Pretty much all bounced back from the freeze.  Some faster than others, but almost all survived.

Hope this info helped

Edited by NBTX11
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JohnAndSancho

Welcome to the Land of Smoked Brisket and Whataburger. 

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