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Can large T. Fortunei survive -5F/-20C with basic cover


Palmlex
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:D 

Palmlex,

additional important factor,

growing palms in cold climate is a lot of work which, at the end, you may not want to do.

It is better to learn it on a $200 palm than on  $2,000 palm.

 

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On 1/11/2022 at 10:08 AM, Palmlex said:

Hello :),

I'm kind of tired of waiting years and years for my small palms to get to a decent size so I was planing to purchase a couple of large Trachycarpus Fortunei this spring, around 6ft tall. I know they should be fine short term, but I wouldn't want them to die after a cold blast that could get down to -5F/-20C for a few hours. Usually when that happens, temperatures stay more or less below freezing for the better part of the week, but not nearly as cold as -5F. These cold blasts should only happen once every 5+ years, but I don't wanna spend a lot of money on mature palms if they have no chance of surviving.

Does any of you have any experience with them in this kind of weather and do you think they could survive it if I wrap them with several layers of frost cloth and then maybe bubble wrap them?

If not, are there any covering methods I could use that don't involve string lights, since they'd be rather far from the house?

Thanks.

I can't speak to how well the palms would do long term for you. I also won't try to give you lots of data from other locations, because I can only speak for what I have seen personally.

I have two trachycarpus wagnerianus that are roughly 2ft and 4ft tall respectively. We hit -14F last winter, including multiple days without temperatures rising above freezing. On the coldest day our high temperature was only +2F. 

I did exactly what you are talking about. I wrapped my trachycarpus in frost cloth then wrapped tarps over the cloth to keep moisture off. I used the frost cloth just to keep condensation from freezing on the leaves under the tarp cover. Both of the palms survived, without too much problem. Both grew out of their damage pretty quickly. By the end of the summer they looked pretty normal again.

I don't claim the results will happen for everyone, but my trachycarpus definitely survived one round of -14F and extended freezing temperatures with no added heat. They had previously survived -2F without added heat before as well.

Edited by Ben OK
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11 minutes ago, Ben OK said:

I can't speak to how well the palms would do long term for you. I also won't try to give you lots of data from other locations, because I can only speak for what I have seen personally.

I have two trachycarpus wagnerianus that are roughly 2ft and 4ft tall respectively. We hit -14F last winter, including multiple days without temperatures rising above freezing. On the coldest day our high temperature was only +2F. 

I did exactly what you are talking about. I wrapped my trachycarpus in frost cloth then wrapped tarps over the cloth to keep moisture off. I used the frost cloth just to keep condensation from freezing on the leaves under the tarp cover. Both of the palms survived, without too much problem. Both grew out of their damage pretty quickly. By the end of the summer they looked pretty normal again.

I don't claim the results will happen for everyone, but my trachycarpus definitely survived one round of -14F and extended freezing temperatures with no added heat. They had previously survived -2F without added heat before as well.

Wow, those are some great results. Thanks for sharing.

I'm assuming they were completely defoliated after those temperatures, right? I'm not expecting to reach below or around 0F temperatures more often that 2-3 times per decade, so if they get defoliated 20% of the winters, I'm hoping they can recover.

Edit after seeing the photos: Wow, the second one didn't even get completely defoliated. Their height definitely helped though. They might not have been so lucky if they were taller.

Edited by Palmlex
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1 minute ago, Palmlex said:

Wow, those are some great results. Thanks for sharing.

I'm assuming they were completely defoliated after those temperatures, right? I'm not expecting to reach below or around 0F temperatures more often that 2-3 times per decade, so if they get defoliated 20% of the winters, I'm hoping they can recover.

They ended up losing just about everything except their emerging spears. We hit temperatures about 10F just this week with rain preceeding the freeze. So they are acutally covered right now. I try to cover them if we are expecting temps below 20F with rain or sleet. I can get pics after I uncover them this afternoon so you can see how many leaves they grew after the freeze. They might look a little beat up from having their fronds tied up though.

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2 minutes ago, Ben OK said:

They ended up losing just about everything except their emerging spears. We hit temperatures about 10F just this week with rain preceeding the freeze. So they are acutally covered right now. I try to cover them if we are expecting temps below 20F with rain or sleet. I can get pics after I uncover them this afternoon so you can see how many leaves they grew after the freeze. They might look a little beat up from having their fronds tied up though.

I'm expecting them to be fine after 10F, but some protection against ice is not a bad idea. 

Sure, if you wanna share some pics, they're more than welcome.  I'm also curious how thick their protection is. I've seen some Trachys with around 5 layers of frost cloth on them and I'm wondering if that amount is too much, too little or just right when not using heat. :D

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Here they were earlier today after being wrapped up for a couple of days. Looks like the smaller one grew out 9 fronds and the larger grew 12 after the -14F event about a year ago.

20220121_140041_HDR~2.jpg

20220121_140055~2.jpg

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14 minutes ago, Ben OK said:

Here they were earlier today after being wrapped up for a couple of days. Looks like the smaller one grew out 9 fronds and the larger grew 12 after the -14F event about a year ago.

20220121_140041_HDR~2.jpg

20220121_140055~2.jpg

They look nice. You can't even tell they got defoliated.

Did you only wrap them with one layer of frost cloth when it got to -14F? That would seem pretty incredible to me.

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I have a few old blankets and other things around that I can wrap things with. I wrapped so many things last year that I do not think I had enough materials to use multiple layers. Honestly I can't say for certain that I didn't use multiple layers since I didn't make notes about what I did. I do not remember doing anything different than usual though. I just wrapped them up and prayed they would survive. Surprisingly, I didn't lose much at all. I lost a small trunking washingtonia hybrid and a small needle palm. My azeleas were damaged along with an aucuba japonica as well. It was an ugly storm and it set a lot of my plants back. It didn't kill many though.

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Thanks for the info. Being able to overwinter a Washingtonia without using power is what I really want to achieve and this winter's been pretty mild so far, so it might actually make it through its first winter in zone 7 with only passive protection.

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