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Nice Discovery of a Large Rhapidophyllum in Middle Tennessee


Bigfish

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I was doing some work in Spring Hill, TN (a small town about 45 minutes south of Nashville, TN) last week and walked around the corner of a bank building and saw this good-sized Needle Palm right in front of me. When I asked the ladies in the bank how long it had been there, one replied that it was planted when the building was built sometime around 1996-1997. Another cool thing is how visible it is. It is right on Main Street, in the downtown area of Spring Hill. There aren't many palms that have been in the ground for 18-19 years in Middle TN, so I thought that this was a pretty significant discovery!

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Other than maybe needing a little fertilizer, it looks almost flawless after two pretty rough winters! Granted, the building protects it from the Northwest winds and gives it some extra protection from the cold as well (it is on the south side of the building). Whoever planted this palm initially apparently knew

enough about it to plant it there or just got lucky with good siting.

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It warms my heart to see palms thriving where they aren't usually seen. That's a beauty as well! I think palms located out of the normal range are more appreciated than where thousands are growing.

Los Angeles, CA and Myrtle Beach, SC.

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I've seen quite a few palms planted in Middle TN in the past few years, but they are usually pretty small or the wrong species (people try to leave a Butia odorata or Chamaerops humilis out unprotected in our winters sometimes). Sabal minor is still almost never seen planted here, which baffles me. It's nice to see Rhapidophyllum getting some love at least! The thing that struck me about this one is that it was planted in the late 1990s. I know of several Needle Palms growing in the Middle TN area that are as large or larger, but it is a very small handful. Now I can add another one to the list! What really hurts to see is when people buy the right palm (needle), but it's a blue pot palm and a cold winter damages it severely or kills it outright. Sometimes I think those blue pot palms do more harm than good for those of us that want to see cold hardy palms more widely used. Yes, it's good to see them available and being used in landscapes, but it would be nice to see some other nurseries produce them that don't push them so hard like they do in S. FL.

I'm starting a bunch of them from the northern edge of their growing range in GA and AL. I collected a few thousand seeds last year, and am going to start a Needle Palm Army! LOL.

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TN is such a beautiful place. I grew up in the Appalachian mountains and tried growing Sabal Palmetto and Trachycarphus Fortunei up there. The palmetto did better because the Trachycarpus rotted from all of the winter rains. I was only a teenager so I'm sure today they would survive under my care.

The blue pot palms always did well for me but I'm sure they push them hard with hormones and fertilizers to get big quick. They aren't acclimated to the cold winters either which makes them more tender. I'd protect the blue pot palms the first two winters to allow them to get established and acclimated.

I hope your seeds sprout!

Los Angeles, CA and Myrtle Beach, SC.

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Trachycarpus fortunei does not bodder the cold wet Dutch winters here! Only severe frost can damage them. So maybe in the Apalachian Mountains it was the combination of wet weather and sharp frost.

Alexander

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Yes, the cold hard freezes combined with rain make them susceptible to bacterial and fungal pathogens.

Los Angeles, CA and Myrtle Beach, SC.

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That's really cool someone gave that palm a shot there and it is doing so well.

Len

Vista, CA (Zone 10a)

Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."

-- Alfred Austin

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Great specimen thanks for posting !

Old Beach ,Hobart
Tasmania ,Australia. 42 " south
Cool Maritime climate

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  • 2 weeks later...

Frank! There is a massive Needle palm that went into the ground right beside Old Hickory Blvd. in Brentwood, TN. It was planted either late last summer. It has at least 2ft of trunk on it! It pulled through the winter with maybe 20% frond burn, and looks great now! It Is on old hickory blvd. in Brentwood about a quarter mile past where it narrows to two lanes. Check it out sometime!

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I've seen that one a few times. It's in a very exposed location, but looks OK considering the winter we had. I haven't posted it because it's only been through one winter so far. It's a nice-looking palm though!

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  • 4 months later...

Yes! I know the guy who planted it. He had another one that he planted at his house in the middle of last winter, and it survived.  These two needles were from the same crop. I hope to be acquiring some to sell for a pretty good price!

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