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When do I stop watering Sabals for winter


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This year I see lots of people are watering sabals every or every other day.  I adopted this practice and it seems to have benefited my newer sabals (Louisiana in particular is on its 5th pretty large frond of the summer).  I see this advice (though less often) for Trachys as well.  So my question is, for 7a areas, when do we stop the daily watering in preparation for winter?   I'm in MD with pretty hot and humid summers...good for sabals, maybe not as good for Trachys.  My sabals range in age from a sabal minor Cape Hatteras that put out its first palmate frond this summer to a sabal minor in its second year of putting out seeds, to Brazorias, Louisiana and Birmingham in their second or third years of palmate fronds.


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I'm surprised you have to water your Sabals at all in a Mid-Atlantic summer much less water daily given how much rain you usually get. Are you in an extreme drought? In any case, I suggest you start to cut back around Labor Day. Start with 2x per week, then to 1x per week. The driest time of year in your part of the country is fall into November when winter rains begin. First freeze is around 10/15, maybe later. Cease all watering by mid-Oct. Your Sabals won't need supplemental water after temperatures drop and their growth speed drops.

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Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
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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I wouldn't go out of your way to water in the winter.  Since it will be winter,  your palms will recognize this and go dormant, so they wont' need more water than what mother nature provides. 

One tip though, if there's a cold snap heading your way and you want to protect the roots of your palms- water the morning of (before the cold snap) so the water in the soil will absorb the heat from the sun during the day and hold this heat overnight. This is especially a good idea if your palms see some sunlight during the winter so that this can help. This is the only time I would water my plants in the winter in SC but I'm not sure if you will have the same results in Maryland since you guys have slightly longer cold snaps. 

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Thanks Meg and Smithgn,

We got a bit over 2 inches of rain in July in Gaithersburg MD area when we average just under 4.  Over an inch of this fell on 3 days. The dailyish waterings (I did not water on days after a significant rain or on days with a high under 80) were meant to keep the soil always wet (but not soggy) in the expectation that this would optimize growth of the sabal and best prepare it for winter.  I have not found any authoritative source on this exact point, (Aside from various posts in this forum about frequent watering of sabals, DAvid Francko page 75 suggests frequent shallow watering during establishment phase.  This was the second summer in the ground for 5 or my 6 sabals.  (Also I don't know how much water constitutes "shallow watering."  The new sabals got  about a gallon a day...the Louisiana got more because it grew much larger than the Birminghamm or the brazorias of the same age. )

I know palms "slow down" in winter and don' t need (and would likely suffer from) lots of watering.  Though again I have not found a good description of what a sabal or trachy does in the winter.  It seems that they will take up moisture in winter and I usually water once a month on a non-freezing day if we have not had much precipitation as I understand this helps prevent desiccation (Fancko page 86). (all the sabals get at least 5 hours of winter sun, but have some wind protection from fences and trees to the north and west.


Thanks again


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I've had palms for 20 years in the southeast. Palmetto needs to be watered daily. It makes all the difference in growth rate and recovery. Still, I would say no supplemental watering after mid-October where you are as soil temps have dropped.

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Well, I don’t entirely.. On warmer weeks of winter they still get a bi-weekly dose of water, at least. I probably water ~8 times during winter, if no precipitation is had. 

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