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How far north...Mule palm


sashaeffer
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I just visited P&L Palms in Hampstead.  They have several mules from 30 gallon, to monnters with 8 feet of trunk.  The owner told me they have been planted in the open since the previous season unprotected in their outdoor grove.  Here are a couple and a nice Pindo they have. I might have purchased one.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I’ve had one in the ground in Dallas now for maybe four years. Two of the winters had lows around 23F/-5C without damage. In February 2021 however, we had almost 200 hours mostly below freezing with just a few hours in the middle at 33F/1C and an absolute low of 2F/-17C in my yard. I protectected with multiple layers of frost cloth with a seed heating mat wrapped around the trunk. I was surprised it lived. In December we had a low of 12F/-11C and a high of 26F/-4C. I only wrapped with frost cloth. All the fronds are now dead but no spear pull. 
 

I think it would be pretty reliable in a z8b without a lot of variance in extreme minimums and no days completely below freezing. Otherwise with a lot of protection you could make it survive lower zones, but you’d need some sort of heat to keep the fronds green. 
 

Sadly for us in Dallas, we’ve had a recent zone 9b winter and many z9a and z8b winters for the last two decades but also some z8a and z7a! (It got to -2F/-18.9C) at our big airport in 2021 which is 6b! We’d be very palmy if it weren’t for that every decade big freeze we get. 

Edited by vcrosstx
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8 hours ago, vcrosstx said:

I’ve had one in the ground in Dallas now for maybe four years. Two of the winters had lows around 23F/-5C without damage. In February 2021 however, we had almost 200 hours mostly below freezing with just a few hours in the middle at 33F/1C and an absolute low of 2F/-17C in my yard. I protectected with multiple layers of frost cloth with a seed heating mat wrapped around the trunk. I was surprised it lived. In December we had a low of 12F/-11C and a high of 26F/-4C. I only wrapped with frost cloth. All the fronds are now dead but no spear pull. 
 

I think it would be pretty reliable in a z8b without a lot of variance in extreme minimums and no days completely below freezing. Otherwise with a lot of protection you could make it survive lower zones, but you’d need some sort of heat to keep the fronds green. 
 

Sadly for us in Dallas, we’ve had a recent zone 9b winter and many z9a and z8b winters for the last two decades but also some z8a and z7a! (It got to -2F/-18.9C) at our big airport in 2021 which is 6b! We’d be very palmy if it weren’t for that every decade big freeze we get. 

I don't have a mule palm I wish I had once since they look better than Queens in my opinion.  Anyway I decided to go with Queens here in San Antonio.  I know I'm pushing it.  Yesterday I've bought my second Queen so I'm not counting it when I say my other Queen that was planted back in May lost all its fronds last December.  I only wrapped it with a thin bedsheet and a trash can over it but no other heat sources were added . Next time whenever it gets that cold again the trash can might not fit. I'm going to buy some frost cloth and heating tape. Will that prevent the fronds from burning or what other methods are recommended? 

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If I lived in San Antonio I would gamble with a Queen Palm. Historically, you may go a decade or longer without a threatening freeze there. 

But mainly, because of the cost. You can get one from Lowes when on sale that's 8 ft tall for like 50 bucks. A mule will cost 80 to 100 dollars per foot of height.

 

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On 2/10/2023 at 8:00 AM, MarcusH said:

I don't have a mule palm I wish I had once since they look better than Queens in my opinion.  Anyway I decided to go with Queens here in San Antonio.  I know I'm pushing it.  Yesterday I've bought my second Queen so I'm not counting it when I say my other Queen that was planted back in May lost all its fronds last December.  I only wrapped it with a thin bedsheet and a trash can over it but no other heat sources were added . Next time whenever it gets that cold again the trash can might not fit. I'm going to buy some frost cloth and heating tape. Will that prevent the fronds from burning or what other methods are recommended? 

I’ve actually gotten queens through a few winters here but even with protection the odd winter kills them dead. They are cheap but the mules have been longer term so I won’t bother again. Still no spear pull on my mule and think it made it with no supplemental heat. Crossing fingers. 

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On 2/10/2023 at 8:00 AM, MarcusH said:

I don't have a mule palm I wish I had once since they look better than Queens in my opinion.  Anyway I decided to go with Queens here in San Antonio.  I know I'm pushing it.  Yesterday I've bought my second Queen so I'm not counting it when I say my other Queen that was planted back in May lost all its fronds last December.  I only wrapped it with a thin bedsheet and a trash can over it but no other heat sources were added . Next time whenever it gets that cold again the trash can might not fit. I'm going to buy some frost cloth and heating tape. Will that prevent the fronds from burning or what other methods are recommended? 

Even mature queens north of Highway 59/I69 will be risky.  North Padre Island had below freezing lows of 28-20-23 during the February 2021 freeze.  All queens, including many over 25 years old were killed.  The Island had lows of 31-26-26-31 during the December 2022 freeze.  The majority of the replacement queens, foxtails and pygmy palms where killed off in this event.  As at result, the Island's leading palm installer has gone to recommending sabals, pindos, Sylvesters, washingtons, CIDP to property owners here.  Better to spend $250 for a small mule rather than a $250 with the accompanying survival concern for two larger queens that will likely meet their demise within a few years.

Edited by WisTex
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4 hours ago, WisTex said:

Even mature queens north of Highway 59/I69 will be risky.  North Padre Island had below freezing lows of 28-20-23 during the February 2021 freeze.  All queens, including many over 25 years old were killed.  The Island had lows of 31-26-26-31 during the December 2022 freeze.  The majority of the replacement queens, foxtails and pygmy palms where killed off in this event.  As at result, the Island's leading palm installer has gone to recommending sabals, pindos, Sylvesters, washingtons, CIDP to property owners here.  Better to spend $250 for a small mule rather than a $250 with the accompanying survival concern for two larger queens that will likely meet their demise within a few years.

No risk no fun right but let's not forget that Feb 2021 event was a unique storm that only happens once in a century.  I should be dead by then. Hey if I get 20 to 30 years out of it I'm more than happy.  We has queens in SA that were at least 20 years old prior to Feb 21 . I think they're worth growing at places where owners take care of it. Not for commercial use .  In fact some of them surivived in Houston.  

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5 hours ago, WisTex said:

Even mature queens north of Highway 59/I69 will be risky.  North Padre Island had below freezing lows of 28-20-23 during the February 2021 freeze.  All queens, including many over 25 years old were killed.  The Island had lows of 31-26-26-31 during the December 2022 freeze.  The majority of the replacement queens, foxtails and pygmy palms where killed off in this event.  As at result, the Island's leading palm installer has gone to recommending sabals, pindos, Sylvesters, washingtons, CIDP to property owners here.  Better to spend $250 for a small mule rather than a $250 with the accompanying survival concern for two larger queens that will likely meet their demise within a few years.

I don't know what killed the queens at such a "warm temperature ".  My juvenile that I planted last May facing the NW side was exposed to lows of 16,21,24,28F.  A bucket and thin layer of sheets around the trunk . No burlap no christmas lights whatsoever.  Recovering well. You have to take care of vulnerable palms in a colder climate . Queens do well if you're willing to keep them survive as an enthusiasts in chz 8b like where I am. Most winters are 9b in San Antonio.  Deep watering and heavy mulching.  

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Any updates on the NC Mule? 

Los Angeles, CA and Myrtle Beach, SC.

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