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Is it possible to grow a Sabal Palmetto in zone 7b? I have seen a few here but I have no clue if they are protected. I was thinking I could protect one (if I get one) for the first two years to let it get established and then leave it unprotected for the rest of the winters after. What do you think?

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I would not recommend planting a Sabal palmetto in Zone 7b unless you're okay with protecting it every year. I suppose it is possible to grow one depending on where you're located but it would only take one colder than normal winter to kill it.

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A lot may have to do with your over all climate rather than just the zone designation.

Cheers, Barrie.

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2 hours ago, Las Palmas Norte said:

A lot may have to do with your over all climate rather than just the zone designation.

Cheers, Barrie.

I am in a Humid Subtropical climate, I have a few pindos, a needle Palm, and a Mediterranean Fan Palm that do well here.

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8 minutes ago, PalmTreeDude said:

I am in a Humid Subtropical climate, I have a few pindos, a needle Palm, and a Mediterranean Fan Palm that do well here.

Could you be more specific on your location, i.e., SE Tenn or coastal NC so we can give you reasonably accurate info? I come from northern VA, which is 7a/7b. Some people said we were humid subtropical based on our summers. But no S. palmetto could survive winters there without protection.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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1 hour ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Could you be more specific on your location, i.e., SE Tenn or coastal NC so we can give you reasonably accurate info? I come from northern VA, which is 7a/7b. Some people said we were humid subtropical based on our summers. But no S. palmetto could survive winters there without protection.

I am in South Eastern VA. I have other thriving palms, but no Sabal Palmettos.

PalmTreeDude

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I read somewhere that there were a few S. palmettos in Norfolk or VA Beach right on the coast. Don't know if that is true or whether they still survive. They might hang on as long as their growing points remain below ground and the ground doesn't freeze. But once they have more than a few feet of trunk, they are at risk. Sabal minor is hardier and keeps a subterranean trunk. Fortunately, VA's sweltering summers help it recover.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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58 minutes ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I read somewhere that there were a few S. palmettos in Norfolk or VA Beach right on the coast. Don't know if that is true or whether they still survive. They might hang on as long as their growing points remain below ground and the ground doesn't freeze. But once they have more than a few feet of trunk, they are at risk. Sabal minor is hardier and keeps a subterranean trunk. Fortunately, VA's sweltering summers help it recover.

According to Wikipedia there are some as far north as southern Delaware. 

Westchase | 9b,  St. Petersburg | 9b,  Laurel | 10a

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I've seen a few Sabals in Virginia beach. You can grow them as long as you protect them during cold snaps. They're hardier than Butias. 

Los Angeles, CA and Myrtle Beach, SC.

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8 hours ago, Brad Mondel said:

I've seen a few Sabals in Virginia beach. You can grow them as long as you protect them during cold snaps. They're hardier than Butias. 

+1. If butia is surviving then you can grow a sabal palmetto without issue. However if butia survives in your area you must be close to 8a as they aren't a zone 7 palm at all. 

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  • 5 months later...

They certainly are capable of growing in SE Virginia, but seeing that you spend some time in FL, make sure you get seeds and/or plants from closer to VA.  Somewhere like NC.  Sabals are extremely variable.  If you get plants or seeds from Florida, they likely aren't a variety that tolerates cold as well.

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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On 6/5/2016, 1:46:44, PalmTreeDude said:

Is it possible to grow a Sabal Palmetto in zone 7b? I have seen a few here but I have no clue if they are protected. I was thinking I could protect one (if I get one) for the first two years to let it get established and then leave it unprotected for the rest of the winters after. What do you think?

Yes it is possible, but all the sabal palmettos in my town zone 7b North Carolina died about 3 years ago with a bad winter. All were well established for many years.  If you protect them, then you won't have to look out your window in the winter every few mimutes and worry :)

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On 6/5/2016, 9:34:42, RedRabbit said:

According to Wikipedia there are some as far north as southern Delaware. 

I wonder where they are?  Do you have a link to that article?   I'd love to read it as it's factually incorrect.   I've been all over southern DE and I've yet to see any sabals.  The o my place you'll see a few palms are in fat souteast DE along the coast and those are always windmills.  I've seen a few Sabal minorntoo in those areas that seem to do fine.  Never any palmetto though.  Their winters are substantially colder than VA Beach.   

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18 minutes ago, DCA_Palm_Fan said:

I wonder where they are?  Do you have a link to that article?   I'd love to read it as it's factually incorrect.   I've been all over southern DE and I've yet to see any sabals.  The o my place you'll see a few palms are in fat souteast DE along the coast and those are always windmills.  I've seen a few Sabal minorntoo in those areas that seem to do fine.  Never any palmetto though.  Their winters are substantially colder than VA Beach.   

I read it on Wikipedia, but it looks like it has been edited out since so I guess you're not the only one who knows it isn't legit. I haven't been to DE in about 15yrs and fwiw I don't recall seeing any then either. 

Edited by RedRabbit

Westchase | 9b,  St. Petersburg | 9b,  Laurel | 10a

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I think the natural distribution of Serenoa repens reflects winter cold fairly strongly, with some allowance for fire ecology.  It's almost always a plant of frequently-burned habitats, which become less prevalent to the north.  It's the sort of plant that could be worth trying in a very sheltered location, up against a sunny, warm foundation out of the wind.  Annual loss of leaves isn't such a big deal, but growing points might need protection.  In the wild, carpets of saw palmetto can be maintained by nearly-annual fires.

Fla. climate center: 100-119 days>85 F
USDA 1990 hardiness zone 9B
Current USDA hardiness zone 10a
4 km inland from Indian River; 27º N (equivalent to Brisbane)

Central Orlando's urban heat island may be warmer than us

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On 6/6/2016, 7:43:17, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

+1. If butia is surviving then you can grow a sabal palmetto without issue. However if butia survives in your area you must be close to 8a as they aren't a zone 7 palm at all. 

I'm for sure on the 7a/7b boarder, one of my Butias is a more silver color while the other is more green, the silver barely took any damage and did not have bad transplant shock at all, it even has a smaller "sucker" growing at its base. The green one went into transplant shock about a week after being planted, and it was reduced to just the spear, and adding to that it had a weird fungal infection or something that was fixed with hydrogen peroxide, it was completely destroyed after being in ground for 7 months, or so I thought, this spring it had a HUGE growth spurt and now it has a lot of fronds and looks like it never was near to death before. 

PalmTreeDude

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Here is what the green damaged one looked like three months ago, when it was still showing it was damaged, I'll get an updated picture later, now it has more fronds and looks awesome. 

 

IMG_1821.JPG

PalmTreeDude

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21 hours ago, PalmTreeDude said:

Here is what the green damaged one looked like three months ago, when it was still showing it was damaged, I'll get an updated picture later, now it has more fronds and looks awesome. 

 

IMG_1821.JPG

Doesn't look too terrible to me.  I see a lot of green still.   Where in va are you again?   

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it is definitely possible to grow them in 7b, but be aware of siting, wind blocks and the establishment period. I find that the first couple years they need to have a close eye kept on them, and if they're field dug then the first season they need lots of supplemental water to get their roots established. If they're not provided enough moisture and don't establish well, they will have a hard time pulling through the first couple of winters. I know some S.Palmetto that have been growing around Atlanta zone 7b border 8a on updated maps for many years without any protection other than optimal siting. I'll post around link to a YouTube video I have filmed which contains S.palmetto in the area. The palmettos in this video are right on the south facing wall of a hotel, located close to the multiple story building which I am sure helps and shelters them so they make it through some tough winters without much stress. Our very warm and humid summers really help them take off and all of them in the video have produced seed.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3pocSivYNDg

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One other thing I will add to this here is that downtown DC is a solid 7B. At times 8A in microclimates.  That said, Sabals Palmetto has been tried there, and there is a 100% failure rate. I have seen it.  Take that for what its worth.   S. Minor is a different story.  They will survive with the right siting.  As I have mentioned on these forums before, I planted one in an L shaped corner of my old house in Old Town Alexandria, VA, and it faced south and east. That house, the snow when it did fall, would always melt away about 4 feet out from that side of the house, very rapidly. It never lasted more than a couple days even when it was very deep.  The ground never really froze either.   That was 2010. It is still there to my knowledge as of a year ago and has bloomed.  S. Minor with the right siting can and does survive and even does well there.   I would not classify DC as necessarily a colder 7B really either as it seems to teeter on and flirt with 8A in spots, especially near downtown and the Tidal Potomac river. 

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There are a few strains or named varieties of S. palmetto that should do well in SE VA.  'Tifton Hardy' and 'Mt. Holly' are two hardier ones.  Palmettos native to Bald Head Island, NC have been reported to be quite hardy as well.

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There are a few scattered sabal palmettos on the north side of Greenville, SC.  This was solid zone 7B on the old USDA map, near the 7B/8A border on the new map.

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.8940117,-82.4383417,3a,75y,270h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPxL8cSgII1T7fdUPvSgF-g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

I can remember seeing these palms many years ago in college.  I can't say they are thriving (having shown minimal growth) but they certainly aren't dead.

Steve

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On 12/21/2016, 6:48:59, Turtlesteve said:

There are a few scattered sabal palmettos on the north side of Greenville, SC.  This was solid zone 7B on the old USDA map, near the 7B/8A border on the new map.

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.8940117,-82.4383417,3a,75y,270h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPxL8cSgII1T7fdUPvSgF-g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

I can remember seeing these palms many years ago in college.  I can't say they are thriving (having shown minimal growth) but they certainly aren't dead.

Steve

Doesn't look that bad, especially for being out in the open like that!

PalmTreeDude

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FYI the palm pictured likely saw lows at or below 10F for two winters in a row (2014, 2015).  The most analogous airport data is probably Greer, SC which recorded January lows of 5F in 2014 and 9F in 2015.

Steve

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The photo from that google street view is dated august 2012.  I wonder if that is still there and if it is what it looks like now?  Maybe someone that lives near there can snap a photo of it currently.   I'm still a little surprised to see them that far inland, even though it is considerably south of VA Beach.  It makes sense though that if there are some surviving there, there should be a lot thriving in Va Beach area, and that is what I witnessed when in Va Beach over the holidays.  I saw hundreds of S. Palmetto while there and that was only in the area I was in. I did not get to travel the entire down town ocean area area (about 10-15 blocks wide or so for 10 or so miles north/ south)  so what I saw was just in the area where I was.  It was the first time I had been to Va Beach proper (the beach) in 3 years and there are even substantially more now than before, and there were a lot before.   Another thing I noticed more this time is that windmills are becoming extremely popular. They are everywhere just like sabals and some are getting very tall. I saw quite a few (10-12) in passing that were at least 20 feet tall, and many many dozens that were 5-10 feet plus, and TONS of smaller ones all over.  There were also a LOT of  large and even very tall butias as well and most looked very good. 

Of all of the hundreds of sabals I saw,  I saw about a dozen dead ones.    About 25% of all that I saw looked terrible but alive.  About 75% looked pretty good, and a good portion of those looked awesome like you would see in charleston or further south.   Many had flowered and were loaded with seeds.  Everywhere yous saw healthy ones they had bloomed and gone to seed.  I also noticed lots of volunteers in random places.  Some looked several years old even.    It appears to me that many of these trees are lasting for many years on end and becoming established in Va Beach and even inland.  They dont appear to be just annual plantings by hotels anymore at all in the ocean front communities.  They are now established all over including at residences. 

Every year I also visit smithfield VA.  It is a small, rural historic town way far west of VA Beach along the James and Pagan rivers in Isle of Wight county. That would be similar to what Dulles Airport (iad) is to downtown DC.   There, there is a small is ( 5 acres) windmill farm, with dozens and dozens of trees, ranging in size from 4-5 feet, on up to 20 feet or so.   I am not sure if it is a growing site or a holding site but it has been there for a decade now.  In the town itself there are a fair number of residences with windmills and butias on their properity and even a few with Sabal Palmetto.  There is one down the street from the family home we stay at off of Smithfield Blvd, and they have had their two in ground for at least 7 years.  They are now about 15-17 feet tall and are well above the fenceline and easily seen from the street.  They have grown a lot, and look great.  

I do have some photos of those, and from Va Beach, but perhaps I should start another thread for that since Va Beach is a solid zone 8. 

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I drove by the Greenville, SC palmetto palm twice last week - I see this one regularly as I have family that live nearby.  Sorry I didn't get a photo - but will try and snap one next time I'm there.  It looks about the same as the street view photos, or slightly better, and no cold damage at all so far for the year.  This is the most inland palmetto I'm personally aware of, but I know I've seen one or two more in Greenville (can't remember the locations). 

Steve

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There are palmettos in Chattanooga and Memphis as well.  Memphis is barely in zone 8a, according to the latest USDA hardiness zone map (and the only portion of Tennessee that is zone 8).  

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2 hours ago, Bigfish said:

There are palmettos in Chattanooga and Memphis as well.  Memphis is barely in zone 8a, according to the latest USDA hardiness zone map (and the only portion of Tennessee that is zone 8).  

Memphis I can see, but Chattanooga surprises me - they'd get substantially colder than regions mentioned so far (google says 7a) - any more info?

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On 12/23/2016, 7:52:45, Turtlesteve said:

FYI the palm pictured likely saw lows at or below 10F for two winters in a row (2014, 2015).  The most analogous airport data is probably Greer, SC which recorded January lows of 5F in 2014 and 9F in 2015.

Steve

The palmettos in the video I posted in Atlanta also experienced around 6 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter here in 2014. Temps that low here are rare, but it is a reminder that we can have those rough cold snaps. They've been planted in that spot for around a decade now.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/13/2016, 4:00:09, GeorgiaPalms said:

...S.Palmetto that have been growing around Atlanta zone 7b border 8a on updated maps for many years without any protection other than optimal siting. I'll post around link to a YouTube video I have filmed which contains S.palmetto in the area. The palmettos in this video are right on the south facing wall of a hotel...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3pocSivYNDg

Thanks for the video! In the mid-late 1970's, I lived in Montgomery AL (z 8b?), and I remember some new palm trees at a shopping area on the S side of town. I learned they were Sabal palmetto, but they looked shaggy and maybe didn't like the 10-15F low one of those really cold winters (it actually snowed 2x). They were removed by the time we moved in 1979.

Does anyone know if S. palmetto now makes it in Mtgy, given the Atlanta video and since Mtgy is warmer?

Side note: I'm unsure it's more winter-hardy than S. palmetto, but Spanish Moss was common in Mtgy, especially near the river and low spots.

Edited by Desert DAC
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On 1/15/2017, 6:18:09, Desert DAC said:
On 1/15/2017, 6:18:09, Desert DAC said:

Thanks for the video! In the mid-late 1970's, I lived in Montgomery AL (z 8b?), and I remember some new palm trees at a shopping area on the S side of town. I learned they were Sabal palmetto, but they looked shaggy and maybe didn't like the 10-15F low one of those really cold winters (it actually snowed 2x). They were removed by the time we moved in 1979.

Does anyone know if S. palmetto now makes it in Mtgy, given the Atlanta video and since Mtgy is warmer?

Side note: I'm unsure it's more winter-hardy than S. palmetto, but Spanish Moss was common in Mtgy, especially near the river and low spots.

Thanks for the video! In the mid-late 1970's, I lived in Montgomery AL (z 8b?), and I remember some new palm trees at a shopping area on the S side of town. I learned they were Sabal palmetto, but they looked shaggy and maybe didn't like the 10-15F low one of those really cold winters (it actually snowed 2x). They were removed by the time we moved in 1979.

Does anyone know if S. palmetto now makes it in Mtgy, given the Atlanta video and since Mtgy is warmer?

Side note: I'm unsure it's more winter-hardy than S. palmetto, but Spanish Moss was common in Mtgy, especially near the river and low spots.

I didn't see any Sabal Palmetto there in 2004.  The first palms I noticed that looked decent on my way back to Florida were in Dothan, AL.  @nitsua0895 might be able to provide a guiding light.

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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On 1/15/2017, 5:18:09, Desert DAC said:

Thanks for the video! In the mid-late 1970's, I lived in Montgomery AL (z 8b?), and I remember some new palm trees at a shopping area on the S side of town. I learned they were Sabal palmetto, but they looked shaggy and maybe didn't like the 10-15F low one of those really cold winters (it actually snowed 2x). They were removed by the time we moved in 1979.

Does anyone know if S. palmetto now makes it in Mtgy, given the Atlanta video and since Mtgy is warmer?

Side note: I'm unsure it's more winter-hardy than S. palmetto, but Spanish Moss was common in Mtgy, especially near the river and low spots.

In my opinion, Sabal Palmettos are bulletproof in Montgomery. I would estimate that there are 20-30 mature ones planted around the city at this point. I've noticed that S. Palmettos planted under canopy are massive and look like the ones growing wild in Florida but the ones planted in exposed locations suffer a small amount of damage when we have temps below 15F every few winters and don't look quite as good overall.

And I've personally never seen the cold kill a Butia Odorata here either. We had a low of 15F in 2010 with a couple days of below freezing highs and there was one planted in a new neighborhood(without any large trees for protection) that suffered about 50% damage but it has recovered at this point.

I'm going to attach a few photos of the most impressive palms I've seen in Montgomery. Whenever I go somewhere I'm always on the lookout for a new one :D They certainly stand out amongst all the leafless deciduous trees in the middle of January. 

 

 

IMG_0124.JPG

IMG_2759.PNG

IMG_2760.PNG

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On 1/3/2017, 10:18:54, Turtlesteve said:

Memphis I can see, but Chattanooga surprises me - they'd get substantially colder than regions mentioned so far (google says 7a) - any more info?

A friend in the Southeast Palm Society has a large one in the front yard of his former house, up against the front of the house.  I am pretty sure that he protects it some though.  He also planted several at his place of work.  There's a nice Sabal 'Birmingham' in Chattanooga, and there used to be a palmetto at a gas station, but it perished in the polar vortex a couple years ago.  Chattanooga is zone 7b, with pockets of 7a.  

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On 12/29/2016, 8:12:21, Turtlesteve said:

I drove by the Greenville, SC palmetto palm twice last week - I see this one regularly as I have family that live nearby.  Sorry I didn't get a photo - but will try and snap one next time I'm there.  It looks about the same as the street view photos, or slightly better, and no cold damage at all so far for the year.  This is the most inland palmetto I'm personally aware of, but I know I've seen one or two more in Greenville (can't remember the locations). 

Steve

Any new photos / updates on those palms after this latest storms and freeze?   Just wondering.  Hope they all fared well! 

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Not yet..  I'll be up there in the next week or two & will get a couple photos.

6 hours ago, DCA_Palm_Fan said:

Any new photos / updates on those palms after this latest storms and freeze?   Just wondering.  Hope they all fared well! 

 

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Here's some palms near my house in Greenville, S.C. We are rated as a zone 8a borderline 7b, mostly Trachycarpus but there's a few palmettos around  

 

IMG_3222.thumb.PNG.d3482ee7b357a5a88dfcbIMG_3223.thumb.PNG.e0a61dfa114b9f8f12b89IMG_3224.thumb.PNG.12825b4b7246c89f7f230

And here's some at the Clemson botanical garden and Greenville tech: 

IMG_2457.thumb.JPG.e05499fe1fa1caaad7697IMG_2868.thumb.JPG.b1ee56b5011b9e43226cdIMG_2871.thumb.JPG.a9a605954c18cf4e97302IMG_2878.thumb.JPG.60c7acc2b7e9023ded299IMG_2881.thumb.JPG.6d9351c0215e8e14b365bIMG_2886.thumb.JPG.0914f51b5699e2815b342IMG_2889.thumb.JPG.ed4c7f76fd12970daea5aIMG_2891.thumb.JPG.591db9d13e6bfcc950137IMG_2892.thumb.JPG.cc0233c20d5075af0b019

IMG_3225.PNG

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Los Angeles, CA and Myrtle Beach, SC.

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On 1/16/2017, 10:21:47, nitsua0895 said:

In my opinion, Sabal Palmettos are bulletproof in Montgomery. I would estimate that there are 20-30 mature ones planted around the city at this point. I've noticed that S. Palmettos planted under canopy are massive and look like the ones growing wild in Florida but the ones planted in exposed locations suffer a small amount of damage when we have temps below 15F every few winters and don't look quite as good overall.

And I've personally never seen the cold kill a Butia Odorata here either. We had a low of 15F in 2010 with a couple days of below freezing highs and there was one planted in a new neighborhood(without any large trees for protection) that suffered about 50% damage but it has recovered at this point.

I'm going to attach a few photos of the most impressive palms I've seen in Montgomery. Whenever I go somewhere I'm always on the lookout for a new one :D They certainly stand out amongst all the leafless deciduous trees in the middle of January. 

Thanks for those pics in Mtgy, and the cabbage palms there remind me of the Phoenix dactylifera in El Paso or Las Cruces (very few)...they look healthy, just shorter than in another zone warmer in winter. But impressive, and if those in Atlanta in other posts look decent, I would expect S. palmetto to look better in Mtgy.

Are they not planted in Mtgy because some think that look is wrong for there? I read recently how Mobile AL is doing what LA in So Cal is...removing palms since "they don't belong there" and replacing with oaks. I can see planting more local native trees in new landscapes, but it seems odd to say palms used in either area are anything but thriving and add character. I.E. neighborhoods in South Pasadena long imprinted on me...Washingtonia robusta lined both parkways, underplanted with jacarandas. 

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