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Are there any other Zone 5a palm growers out there?


SALOttawa
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I live in Ottawa, Canada. I have been growing palms for about seven years in pots. This year I am trying my first palm planted in the ground and overwintering it outdoors (with protection, of course). It is a washingtonia robusta. If it survives the winter, I will be planting two or three more in the spring. I also want to try a couple of Trachycarpus Fortunei. I am also trying to overwinter some musa basjoo and a dracanea by covering them with mulch. I also have a yucca which has been outside for three years now with no protection. If you have experience with any of these in zone 5a, or less, I would love to hear your experiences. If you want to check out my yard on YouTube, search Constance Bay Palms.

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I'll I can say is get pop up greenhouses and be prepared to heat them when needed ....Trachys will take 10 degrees but that's not with frozen soil..and continuously subjected to freeze after freeze ...just my 2 cents.

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Will also contribute my 2 cents here. Probably the hardiest palms in the North are Sabal minors, Raphidophyllum hysterix (Needle palms), and Trachycarpus fortunei (Japanese windmill palms). I don't like Needle palms so they will just not grow for me even if I were sever zones warmer. Sabal minor 'Louisiana' is one of my favorite S. minors as it is a robust grower and cold tolerant.  My favorite trunking palm is Trrachycarpus fortunei (Japanese windmills).  In the Mid Atlantic, I would say they are hardy to 5 F (higher sun angle, longer days help),  but agree with Hutch, they will not tolerate frozen soils for weeks on end.  I didn't 't protect my Trachy at all this winter, it's on the south side of the house and it's been ridiculously warm so far. Trachys are so easily from seed, that I have two dozen in reserve in case there IS some freakish arctic vortex. Happy New Year!

This pic was taken after 1/4 inch of snow recently, but otherwise, it's been very mild.

 

149B328C-6019-46F1-8C2B-2613F05D0FF7.jpeg

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Did you pick W. robusta because of James Palms YouTube success in the Toronto suburbs by any chance? 

Ottawa is significantly colder than the lower Great Lakes microclimate and so they may need serious heating more than just a good box and christmas lights. 

It's surprising how well they do in toronto, and the big Sabal Palmetto tree, given the chronically cold and wet soil, but Washingtonia are the fastest growing, 

at least of the hardy palms, and are tough enough to come back from damage. 

Remember that cold hardy usually refers to zone ~7b thru 10a, and that 5 and 6 are deep lost cause territory without significant heating measures, including 

the inevitable deep ground frost encountered there. 

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Hey i'm from Mtl and im trying for the first time trachy fortunei ingroud and so far so good   i even have a seedling washingtonia Still fully green.
I think my box is working perfectly cant wait to march to come and take the box down. 
 

I was inspired by james palm on youtube.

Top picture in the box is as today january 1st 2022 :D 

would you share a pic of yours?

cheers

IMG_2399.jpg

palm wintering 1.jpg

Edited by Latinmtl67
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Hey! Thank you all for responding! We haven’t had any super cold weather yet, but I think I am prepared.

If you would like to see my setup, check Constance Bay Palms Zone 5a on YouTube. I did learn a lot for James Palms, but the Green Dragan is truly inspiring. This is my first year over wintering my washy. If you check out my videos, I have the Christmas lights for the tree, plus some heating plumbing wire to keep the ground from freezing. I have already ordered two more washies for the spring as well as some more trashiest, and a butia capita. I have about fifty 9 month old washies at home that I grew from seed as well as about seven trachies. I also have a number of palms, bananas, pineapples and a bird of paradise that can’t handle the cold so I bring them in for the winter. I am trying two musa basjoo outside as well as a dracanea with only mulch as protection. I just got a new three foot bird of paradise today as a rescue. You can see them all on my videos on YouTube. Hopefully I can find more people doing this in zone 5 so that we can share successes and methods that  work. Thanks again for your responses. Happy New Year!

I have about six more videos as well with more to come.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
3 hours ago, Latinmtl67 said:

Wow great video!!  Love your mexican fan palm :P Im jealous hahah

I think your Trachycarpus is doing great! What is your box covered with? What zone is it that you live in?

Edited by SALOttawa
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Hey, i live in Montreal zone 5.  Here is a little update of the box as of today January  16th.   its -15 right now.
Think it looks good so far. 2 more months and i'll take the box down.  Its my first year trying it :D so far im happy hehe.
Realize my washi was getting dry, i tried to poor some water :rolleyes: just a little but mostly went everywhere but on it lol. 
hope it wont affect my palm.

My box is made of R5 foam just as Jamespalm videos hehe.

I have a C9 plug to a thermocube and another C9 pluf on a smart switch  just in case the thermocube isnt enough.
1 have 2 smart temperature and humidity sensor
one on the crown and the other one on the ground nearby.

Excuse the weeds everywhere lol


Voila :D
 palm1.thumb.jpg.371eb311fbc67831c7949fbfb866f96d.jpgpalm.thumb.png.8b4b797e9079708edc5025ba144135a3.pngpalm3.thumb.jpg.73c05a2cf37076f67ecbf8d34ff8570f.jpg

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Nice! Zone 5 a or b? If you grow a washy, I would go with a full 8’ box. You are probably ok with a small box for a trachy. They grow really slowly and are super expensive to buy of any size! With my box, I have two roofs. One is inside and I will raise it every year until I have to extend the box. How old is your large trachy? I have a 3 year old which is a bit smaller, I think. I will be planting it this year.

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It looks like we have finally dropped the extreme cold. Now we are just going to have regular cold - above -20 Celcius :)

 

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  • 8 months later...

Alex here also in MTL, trachycarpus, needles and minors here. Industrial grade bubble wrap, thermo cube and c9. 3 years strong.20221008_162414.thumb.jpg.6f6e72c0ce10be4350c7e4aefb3bbe2a.jpg

20220724_200251.jpg

20220724_200307.jpg

20221008_162400.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

My neighbour in my hometown (zone 8a/8b) had two big trachycarpus and every winter she would cover them. Yet they died. I guess she did not use any heating. Still amazing that you manage to keep them alive in zone 5!!

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On 10/29/2022 at 9:16 PM, ego said:

My neighbour in my hometown (zone 8a/8b) had two big trachycarpus and every winter she would cover them. Yet they died. I guess she did not use any heating. Still amazing that you manage to keep them alive in zone 5!!

Perhaps they died because the got covered! Anyway your neighbor can try again with the Bulgaria strain, which should be the cold hardiest Trachy. Btw which region does your home town belong to? Trachies can grow in inland  Croatia (not only in coastal region Dalmatia), Serbia and Bulgaria. Your story sounds a bit confusing.

Edited by Phoenikakias
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18 minutes ago, Phoenikakias said:

Perhaps they died because the got covered! Anyway your neighbor can try again with the Bulgaria strain, which should be the cold hardiest Trachy. Btw which region does your home town belong to? Trachies can grow in inland  Croatia (not only in coastal region Dalmatia), Serbia and Bulgaria. Your story sounds a bit confusing.

Karditsa. I remember she used to erect structures around them made of a wooden skeleton and then plastic sheets. If I remember correctly they died during that awful winter when one night it reached -21C in my hometown. I was in Athens then. I went back a few days later and I remember seeing -14C. Up to this day it's the coldest I have experienced. But yeah, perhaps the trachycarpus died because of other factors too? I can't tell. They were old tall trees BTW. 

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I’ve had success with my Trachy here in costal maine zone 6b. Sometimes we can dip to 6a just depends on the winter. Coldest I’ve recorded was -5.8 Fahrenheit. I create a micro climate around the palm leaving the southern side open mostly the whole Winter.  I’ve found moisture to be the issue not the cold temps, so keeping it off the palm has shown little to no damage to fronds. 
first picture was December 2019 after planting in March 2019. Second is last winter in January 2022.

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Edited by Brandon James
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