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Lessons from the cold - post yours


Allen

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Here is a few lessons I have taken away over the years

- Have a plan/supplies to protect prize palms well in advance - don't wait till too late

- Never trust the weather forecast on arctic cold - it can drop (It did in 2018 too).  Mine dropped 8F lower than forecast on the same night in 2018 and multiple degrees this year

- Have a generator for backup if heating palms

- Use a wifi thermometer to test your setups and see that they are not getting too cold/hot

- Don't trust C9 bulbs unless you know exactly how to use them - I know of about 5 cases of this just this year.  They can be used BUT just in a certain way

- Never think the palm is safe until growing well in spring

- Copper fungicide to the rescue always when temps warm over 60F and monthly till spring

- Don't under protect and kill a prize palm in a once in a 25 year storm because you're too lazy to spend 15 minutes (Birmingham possibly)

- These S. minors and needles are tough customers!!!

- Protect palms before it's too late (ie before palms ice over or something).  Protect on a pretty day well in advance

- Don't wrap palms directly with plastic.  Again only use if you know exactly what you are doing

- If you hear the terms "Arctic cold", "Polar Vortex" or similar - pay attention

- Zones are great reference but it's the low temps and duration that counts

 

 

 

Edited by Allen
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YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@tntropics - 60+ In-ground 7A palms - (Sabal) minor(7 large + 27 seedling size, 3 dwarf),  brazoria(1) , birmingham(4), etonia (1) louisiana(5), palmetto (1), riverside (1),  (Trachycarpus) fortunei(7), wagnerianus(1),  Rhapidophyllum hystrix(7),  15' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia capitata(1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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Hope your Birmingham pulls through. Your yard is beautiful in the warm months so I am sure it was a gut punch. In my cold zone 6b the only thing I would add to your list is location is key. Anything zone pushing should be near a foundation and blocked form North and West winds. 

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I’d add snow can be your friend for insulation. I know this is a tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica) and not a palm, but it’s quite a good example. There was snow covering the fronds away from the house, which are still nice and green for the most part. The fronds closest to the house had no snow and are clearly burned. I think the fronds on the fern are generally good to -5C, I hit -9.4C for a brief time at my house those year. 
0FA1009E-6537-4877-AEEA-79FAECEE8637.thumb.jpeg.599240917140c70161d6f64b1ecaaf6f.jpeg

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Zone 8b, Csb (Warm-summer Mediterranean climate). 1,940 annual sunshine hours 
Annual lows-> 19/20: -5.0C, 20/21: -5.5C, 21/22: -8.3C, 22/23: -9.4C, 23/24: 1.1C (so far!)

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My personal lessons have been:

1. I should not own so many palms that need protection. The more you have to protect, the less time and effort you can put into protecting each one. If I had only one or two palms that needed protection, I would have time to protect them more elaborately. I have met lots of generous palm growers over the years who have shared lots of seeds and seedlings with me. So, although I didn't intend to have so many palms that need protection, I now have more than I need.

2. Re-evaluate your climate if necessary. I started growing palms around 2008. The 1990s and 2000s were a time of generally mild winters, early springs, and warm to hot summers here. All of the talk in the world has been of a warming climate as well. All of these factors probably had my expectations out of alignment with reality. I have now experienced below 0F temperatures four of the last six winters. Summers have been milder more often than not for the last 5 to ten years as well. So it is probably time to accept that needles and sabal minor are the only palms I can reliably grow. If I want something beyond those two species, I can refer to lesson 1 above.

3. Enjoy growing more than just tropicals. I have really come to enjoy growing trees and plants for food over the last 5 years or so. Grapes, apples, figs, pawpaws, jujubes, persimmons, mulberries, and chestnuts now grow on my property. I am learning to love growing all of those as much as my palms. So while I wait for my palms to grow into something decent again, I can enjoy the rest of my garden.

 

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I have found over the years the best method for protection of marginal smaller plants is to build a pvc tent with 6 mil greenhouse film. Construct your pvc structure early in the season, add greenhouse film when you see temps will be dropping, preferably several days ahead to begin building heat, use pvc clips to secure film in place.  You can add a heat lamp or two if needed. When cold blast is over open up tent for airflow or remove. This is easy to do and I have found works better than anything I have tried in the past. I recently had 3 consecutive days of freezing temps range was around 20-31f.  No damage on any of my marginal palms/ cycads.E856F254-13DF-47C5-9605-894041EA84F4.thumb.jpeg.e6c76fbff337f0fb0fb95c1385c6a2ea.jpeg88A84975-2D36-4FAA-B3E2-1564563D0C26.thumb.jpeg.57d54c19ffea0752de7bb42626e14d6c.jpeg805D5313-60E6-49E4-A467-F76C6D647D36.thumb.jpeg.df57a556f10014577b704394d04ec98d.jpeg

5B06A342-32CF-4E4D-A242-E61F67C01A4C.jpeg

 

Edited by Gallop
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Paul Gallop

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I wanted to add the 2nd to last pic reflects the film after I had removed it,  clips are not in place. When clips are in place the film comes tight.

Edited by Gallop

Paul Gallop

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3 hours ago, Allen said:

- Never trust the weather forecast on arctic cold - it can drop (It did in 2018 too).  Mine dropped 8F lower than forecast on the same night in 2018 and multiple degrees this year

- If you hear the terms "Arctic cold", "Polar Vortex" or similar - pay attention

 

Always assume that the initial forecast is wrong.  In both the Feb 21 forecast, and the Dec 22 forecast, the initial forecasts were wrong.  It ended up being colder.  For example, several days out they were calling for lows of 27 degrees.  We ended up having a low of 16.  As it got closer and closer the forecasted lows dropped lower and lower. 

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I started on my palm journey in 1982. No internet and very limited resources for cold hardy growers. Even "proven" hardy palms can succumb under the the worst conditions or become badly damaged. Never be fearful of experimentation but acknowledge limitations. Many factors make a successful exotic garden and they're not all in text books and garden forums. Don't be envious of others success, create your own and take pride. Never let yourself become a lazy palm grower. Most importantly, enjoy what you do as it can be a lifetime passion.

Happy New Year.

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I joined as a teen in the late 70s and The Palm Society was a great teacher in my early years of experimenting with.

I would never have imagined the palmitazation that has occured, or the sheer availability at common box stores. For example, 

last year i found 3 gal Butias for sale at Lowes. You'd never have seen that even twenty years ago!

My rule is to try the ones that I can afford, can cover with heavy blankeys and secure with rope from (usually) high winds, and pray like a mofo!

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1. Be honest about your climate.

2. Learn both passive and active protection methods. 

3. Plan 90% of your yard to match your zone. As you get older, you lose interest in protecting plants.

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1 hour ago, SeanK said:

1. Be honest about your climate.

2. Learn both passive and active protection methods. 

3. Plan 90% of your yard to match your zone. As you get older, you lose interest in protecting plants.

agree with #3 And I'm only 46. I kind of hope my beccariophoenix dont make it through this time..... Im tired of looking at brown palm fronds.

I would say plant palms that you can get away with protecting only the bud and trunk and that will recover a nice, green canopy in a few years after a freak event. At some point, if you are lucky, the palm will be too big to completely cover.

And, oh yeah, I'm gonna kill off like half of my gingers and bananas on purpose. I am exhausted from cutting and hauling off the dead stuff. I cant keep doing this every year. Ill keep some and keep my palms. Then I'm gonna fill in with azaleas, gardenias, dwarf crepe myrtles, loquats, pittosporums..... stuff I dont have to deal with after every winter but dont make the yard look less tropical.

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Lessons that I have learned over the years. Plant the largest specimen you have! If it’s a seedling don’t plant it unless well established roots and adult leaves are present. Fertilizer regimen is a must during the growing season for stronger roots/growth. Add layers of frost cloth and tarp for your prized plants. Monitor the weather as the forecasts change on a dime. The hardest of the bunch will always make it. I’ve had Trachies croak on me for no reason and I’m a solid 8b zone. 

I’ve lost a lot of plants over the years. A lot of it due to a lack of knowledge and experimentation but the lessons learned from this is priceless. Glad to have PalmTalk and its members also  to fall back on and read their experiences.
 

Unfortunately it’s an expensive hobby especially here on the west coast of Canada. Almost 95% of my palms  are seed grown. Lack of availability, importation costs and nasty winters has caused me to diversify my collection to hardy fruit trees now also. Hoping for better weather going forward for all of us!

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My most important lesson is don't be afraid to defoliate a palm if temps could be fatal.  It's much easier to protect a stump than a full crown and if it's that cold it will probably lose all it's leaves anyway.  This obviously applies more to tropical/subtropical stuff not the needles and minors.

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Make sure your structure is wind resistant!!!! My banana box, which was just plastic and pvc pipes, was destroyed the other day on a very windy and cold day, and all I could do until night time was leave the plastic over to protect it from wind chill, but it's still alive! after entering the low teens over night!

Edited by ZPalms
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1 hour ago, Keys6505 said:

My most important lesson is don't be afraid to defoliate a palm if temps could be fatal.  It's much easier to protect a stump than a full crown and if it's that cold it will probably lose all it's leaves anyway.  This obviously applies more to tropical/subtropical stuff not the needles and minors.

You may well be right on this one. I have pulled green fronds through some of these cold events before, but they often result in spear pull and total defoliation anyway. As I was basically defoliating my trachys yesterday (in the aftermath), it was apparent that they will now be much easier to protect if we get another cold blast this winter. 

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I'm going to reiterate the fact that zone pushing will be bite you in the ass sooner or later.  Either you're going to get hit with something you didn't see coming,  your protection method fails for whatever reason and most importantly it becomes too much work.  How many people have we seen on the forum that show up and they are going to beat the odds, and two or three years later they are MIA.  If you plan on protecting keep it to a reasonable number of palms.  Most of my palms and plants are reliable in my zone, I only have a few that are borderline and no real zone pushes.  My profile says 8B but most plantsmen in my area say we are now zone 9A.  I don't grow anything that is rated above 9A.  I don't want small wimpy plants that are barely surviving, I want impressive specimens.

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2 hours ago, Tropicdoc said:

So much wisdom being spoken on this thread

Some of which is your own.

Edited by Las Palmas Norte
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Trachycarpus forests can be very beautiful.  Look around for photos of Ticino - you can create an incredible exotic garden with these as a backbone, which are fuss-free in many climates (I know for some on here they may still require protection).

I'd reiterate what others have said about avoiding too many plants that are borderline.  It's not fun having to protect things.  A hardiness zone designation is based on an average minimum temperature, but most places' record temperatures can be a zone or two lower, and those conditions can come back.  So for me I tend to grow things which "can take" a zone lower than mine.

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Manchester, Lancashire, England

53.4ºN, 2.2ºW, 65m AMSL

Köppen climate Cfb | USDA hardiness zone 9a

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I live in a CHZ 8b I would choose palms for zone 8a because it looks like those artic cold fronts become more frequent in the southern part of the U.S. . Climate is so unpredictable but that shouldn't encourage anyone who wants to zone push a palm.  My most vulnerable palm is a Queen palm.  It's a juvenile it's easy to protect and looks like it's going to make it. Bedsheets and a bucket that's all it got for protection and it got down to 16F but the question is how long can I keep it? When comes the time where it gets too large for protection?  I have two California fan palms (5 palms in total mexican fan , sago, pygmy,  queen and 2 california fan )they're perfect for our climate whatever doesn't make it I would replace them with California fan palms . Zone pushing isn't smart , there's always that risk to lose one of your palms you care about so much.  But for most of us it's a hobby and it's ok to go the extra mile to keep it alive just give you my two cents.  I deep watered my palms and added an extra layer of mulch around the base to insulte the roots so the water can reach the fronds. I still lost my fronds but everything else , the spear and trunk are good looking on the queen and mexican fan.  Filifera only has minor frond damage. 

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3 minutes ago, MarcusH said:

I live in a CHZ 8b I would choose palms for zone 8a because it looks like those artic cold fronts become more frequent in the southern part of the U.S. . Climate is so unpredictable but that shouldn't encourage anyone who wants to zone push a palm.  My most vulnerable palm is a Queen palm.  It's a juvenile it's easy to protect and looks like it's going to make it. Bedsheets and a bucket that's all it got for protection and it got down to 16F but the question is how long can I keep it? When comes the time where it gets too large for protection?  I have two California fan palms (5 palms in total mexican fan , sago, pygmy,  queen and 2 california fan )they're perfect for our climate whatever doesn't make it I would replace them with California fan palms . Zone pushing isn't smart , there's always that risk to lose one of your palms you care about so much.  But for most of us it's a hobby and it's ok to go the extra mile to keep it alive just give you my two cents.  I deep watered my palms and added an extra layer of mulch around the base to insulate the roots so the water can reach the fronds. I still lost my fronds but everything else , the spear and trunk are good looking on the queen and mexican fan.  Filifera only has minor frond damage. 

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On 1/1/2023 at 9:01 PM, Allen said:

- Don't trust C9 bulbs unless you know exactly how to use them - I know of about 5 cases of this just this year.  They can be used BUT just in a certain way

What do you mean with that? Using C9s for my Washingtonias that are Boxed up. So far things seem OK and kept them between 34F and 48F when we had the Polar Vortex move through.

Opened the Box up to make sure everything is looking ok and gave them another treatment of Cooper fungicide a day before I closed them back off.

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27 minutes ago, bgifford said:

What do you mean with that? Using C9s for my Washingtonias that are Boxed up. So far things seem OK and kept them between 34F and 48F when we had the Polar Vortex move through.

Opened the Box up to make sure everything is looking ok and gave them another treatment of Cooper fungicide a day before I closed them back off.

That is the correct way to use them.  Basically in a open air type enclosure where they are just supplying heat for a larger area and on a thermocube where the bulbs don't touch spear or get wrapped on the palm.   I don't want to get into a discussion about this on this thread.  Make a new thread if you want to discuss and you will see lots of examples of fried palms.  But for instance If you wrap the palm directly with C9 and put a blanket over or similar in mummy style without a thermocube you will fry your palm to bits. 

Read some comments in this thread especially toward end

 

Edited by Allen

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@tntropics - 60+ In-ground 7A palms - (Sabal) minor(7 large + 27 seedling size, 3 dwarf),  brazoria(1) , birmingham(4), etonia (1) louisiana(5), palmetto (1), riverside (1),  (Trachycarpus) fortunei(7), wagnerianus(1),  Rhapidophyllum hystrix(7),  15' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia capitata(1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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On 1/2/2023 at 1:13 PM, teddytn said:

Plant more minors, Louisianas, and needle palms 

Don't forget Birmingham,  Brazoriensis, Riverside, and the others we talk about all the dang time... but your thesis is exactly what you and I have been bantering back and forth for now what, well over a year?  The Minors themselves, there are so many types you could fill a yard and have them all be different.  I have two palms I will protect with some sort of heating cables, and blankets going forward, but that is it.  I'll have hundreds ultimately so I can't protect them all.  You're spot on though brother..
 

On 1/1/2023 at 8:01 PM, Allen said:

Here is a few lessons I have taken away over the years

- Have a plan/supplies to protect prize palms well in advance - don't wait till too late

- Never trust the weather forecast on arctic cold - it can drop (It did in 2018 too).  Mine dropped 8F lower than forecast on the same night in 2018 and multiple degrees this year

- Have a generator for backup if heating palms

- Use a wifi thermometer to test your setups and see that they are not getting too cold/hot

- Don't trust C9 bulbs unless you know exactly how to use them - I know of about 5 cases of this just this year.  They can be used BUT just in a certain way

- Never think the palm is safe until growing well in spring

- Copper fungicide to the rescue always when temps warm over 60F and monthly till spring

- Don't under protect and kill a prize palm in a once in a 25 year storm because you're too lazy to spend 15 minutes (Birmingham possibly)

- These S. minors and needles are tough customers!!!

- Protect palms before it's too late (ie before palms ice over or something).  Protect on a pretty day well in advance

- Don't wrap palms directly with plastic.  Again only use if you know exactly what you are doing

- If you hear the terms "Arctic cold", "Polar Vortex" or similar - pay attention

- Zones are great reference but it's the low temps and duration that counts

 

 

 

One thing I can take from this is don't wrap them directly with plastic.... I have done this two years in a row and I think it's been a problem more than it has helped.  Anyone care to explain the technical problem with doing this for me?

Also on the C9s.. I was able to put them with the clips on the petioles of my Butia x Jubea and got no burn, so it's a matter of how you place them, but certainly can see how it can be done wrong, for sure....

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9 minutes ago, tlow said:

One thing I can take from this is don't wrap them directly with plastic.... I have done this two years in a row and I think it's been a problem more than it has helped.  Anyone care to explain the technical problem with doing this for me?

Plastic touching fronds transmits cold and makes the cold worse, in sun it will suffocate/burn palm, long term it doesn't breathe and holds moisture and causes problems.  It has little insulating effect.  Almost always use frost cloth where you would use plastic.  @Gallop greenhouse style above is ok to use for a short term because he has a large air space around plants and provides some protection.  It might be ok to waterproof some some spots and waterproof a blanket or something short term.  A plastic bag mummy wrapped for instance over a tied up palm will severely damage/kill a palm 

Edited by Allen
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YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@tntropics - 60+ In-ground 7A palms - (Sabal) minor(7 large + 27 seedling size, 3 dwarf),  brazoria(1) , birmingham(4), etonia (1) louisiana(5), palmetto (1), riverside (1),  (Trachycarpus) fortunei(7), wagnerianus(1),  Rhapidophyllum hystrix(7),  15' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia capitata(1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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11 minutes ago, Allen said:

Plastic touching fronds transmits cold and makes the cold worse, in sun it will suffocate/burn palm, long term it doesn't breathe and holds moisture and causes problems.  It has little insulating effect.  Almost always use frost cloth where you would use plastic.  @Gallop greenhouse style above is ok to use for a short term because he has a large air space around plants and provides some protection.  It might be ok to waterproof some some spots and waterproof a blanket or something short term.  A plastic bag mummy wrapped for instance over a tied up palm will severely damage/kill a palm 

Yup, and well this was the last year I am protecting anything anymore (besides my few hybrids)... so i'm done with all of this crap.  I have a few frost cloths, and might invest in a few heat cables to wrap the hybrids but that's about it, so this method won't be used again... for good reason lol..

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Subscribe to my YouTube here  to follow along my Sabal obsession....  Quite possibly one of the biggest Sabal plantings in the US.

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/sabalking.texas

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Not all gardenias are created equal.

20230103_142447.thumb.jpg.5edf207f37ffec50d2eadd5871a1e462.jpg

G. jasminoides 'Veitchii' up against the house blasted by the Xmas freeze. (Rhapis was covered by a sheet.)

Unnamed variety (probably 'August Beauty') 40' away and more exposed doing just fine.

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Protecting Cycas debaoensis with double layers (sheet and canvas dropcloth) is inadequate in the low twenties. It will never look like anything if it has to start from zero each spring. Compost pile!

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At least it blends with the pinestraw.

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All good tips. 

Protection! Protection! Protection!

I use heating cable (easy and RELIABLE) + blankets.

And I have a backup generator ready.

I think copper treatments after the palm has frostbites, have very limited effect to none.

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2 hours ago, Allen said:

Plastic touching fronds transmits cold and makes the cold worse, in sun it will suffocate/burn palm, long term it doesn't breathe and holds moisture and causes problems.  It has little insulating effect.  Almost always use frost cloth where you would use plastic.  @Gallop greenhouse style above is ok to use for a short term because he has a large air space around plants and provides some protection.  It might be ok to waterproof some some spots and waterproof a blanket or something short term.  A plastic bag mummy wrapped for instance over a tied up palm will severely damage/kill a palm 

Plastic can add some value in certain situations.  Like you said, plastic touching fronds makes the cold worse.  But species like Chamaerops humilis 'argentea' or Brahea armata can benefit from being protected with plastic overtop of some cloth in freezing rain events to keep the moisture off the palm.

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Jon Sunder

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I've also learned a lot that has been said here before but the problem is you may forget a bit about it with the usual winter being kind to you. At least you start to get foolish or lazy and when the arctic air comes be it every 5, 10, 15 or even 30 years and you're not prepared it will give you a reality check.
But on a positive note: If you're experimenting a lot, a cold blast will teach you a lot. And in my case it has often surprised me because you might lose some plants you thought were bulletproof but some that are not supposed to be as hardy pull through. Even if the cold spells set you back you learn a lot and it's very exciting. In my area palms are not that common or at least haven't been as long as in the Southern US for example. Trachys have been around at least by the 1960s but it's not like they were a common garden plant. You also wouldn't get them in every building supplies store etc... . I'm still pretty young and I started planting palms around 15 years ago and a lot has changed since then. Now Trachy pop up all over my city in private gardens and as the supply is getting better, people are trying more and more exotic plants and especially palms. A lot hasn't been tried here yet or not enough. Then there is my special microclimate I have not much reference to, because more experienced palm growers here live in a slightly different climate. And it's always important to try for yourself. I'm growing stuff long term people told me I couldn't grow. A change in climate is also very noticeable which is a bit of a challenge because the weather seems to get rather unpredictable and out of order but its tendency is towards warmer and drier. I already notice huge differences now compared to from when I started 15 years ago. So while I'm experimenting and zone pushing my climate, the climate is also changeing in a rapid pace. So what I learned besides everything that has been said before is that I've learned that it's fun to learn.

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Yes it's me Hortulanus 😂

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16 hours ago, smatofu said:

All good tips. 

Protection! Protection! Protection!

I use heating cable (easy and RELIABLE) + blankets.

And I have a backup generator ready.

I think copper treatments after the palm has frostbites, have very limited effect to none.

Can you feel that your heat cables are warm when they are on? I can’t and wonder if they are working. At least with Christmas lights I have a visual confirmation. 

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9 minutes ago, Tropicdoc said:

Can you feel that your heat cables are warm when they are on? I can’t and wonder if they are working. At least with Christmas lights I have a visual confirmation. 

Yes they should be warm to the touch. 

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1 hour ago, Tropicdoc said:

Can you feel that your heat cables are warm when they are on? I can’t and wonder if they are working. At least with Christmas lights I have a visual confirmation. 

The cables are warm, not hot, so it is difficult to judge with hand when it is cold outside.

The way I recognize if they are working: if the cable is on, it is soft/flexible; when it is off/cold, it is stiff.

(You could also tape any cheap outdoor thermometer to the cable and you will easily see when it is working.

The best: put a wireless thermometer on the palm under the blanket/cover.)

 

I see at least 2 problems with Christmas lights:

- I cannot cover them with a blanket,

- Too many electrical connections can lead to GFCI breaker tripping.

Edited by smatofu
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How long dose it take for visible cold damage to stop showing up, like what is burnt after a week will no longer continue? I also have a mule that

I tented and whose fronds are a dull olive-ish green.  Will it green up or get worse? 

 

 

 

 

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Great tips!

We went down to 3F during Uri.  All my palms were protected without the aid of a heating source and using various methods. Despite not losing a single palm that was protected, I got a good idea of what methods were more effective not. I won't rehash these lessons as they are mostly mentioned in this thread already! 

I have a large yard with many palms (and other plants!) to protect. I cannot 'quickly' protect my plants and simply take off all the protection the next day. When I protect, I need to start the process days in advance and its often not worth removing protection right away (which would be ideal). In fact, I often leave protection until I am 80%+ sure the danger of another severe cold event is over that winter. 

Some things I picked up on this round and will do better next time:
- Check protection integrity (eg., frost cloth & bucket)
Most of my protected palms suffered because moisture got into the protection that caused fungal infections. This could be from rain (in days after) or melting snow/ice. Check for holes and patch them up (clamps for cloth or duct tape for buckets, etc...) I also found that the way you fold the frost cloth can funnel water inside so be mindful of that!

- Prioritize protecting the bud area
Protection material may be scarce and time limited. I am often tempted to retain all the leaves on larger palms but this takes time and resources. Great if you have it, but in my situation its often better to cut the leaves off (they will brown anyway) as it will allow you often to make an enclosed area to the ground. This will help retain heat! If you are able to bind up the leaves to minimize damage to leaves, don't forget to use most protection material for the bud area.  

- Make a prioritization list
This is really helpful to have in advance. I have list organized by time zone where I list plants I need to protect. For example, if predictions are between 20-25F (9a), I have a list of palms that I should protect. This may be palms that are normally fine at these temperatures but they are very valuable and/or recently planted. For example, I may have my JxS on that list even though it should be able to handle the low 20's. I also take into account that weather predictions may have an error range. 
Having such a list is VERY helpful as it allows you to prioritize the most valuable palms and it gives you an order to work through the garden from the most valuable/sensitive to the toughest. Once you have checked things off the list, you can also rest more easily instead of waking in the middle of the night screaming you forgot a palm! 


 

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I can echo many of these. My lessons:

1. You’ll be surprised. Had established trachy and European fan spear pull at 10 degrees, will probably give up on them. IMHO two of the less attractive palms so why bother if not hardy. Small Sylvester did very well with minimal protection.

2. Sabal minor and needle are very, very, very tough. Did have a bit of frond tip burn on my 20ft Florida sabal.

3. beware “overprotecting”. I think I over wrapped and overheated a couple of my palms which ended up “dehydrating” them. They were very sweaty and wilty when I unwrapped. If possible I think building/heating a shelter around the palm rather than wrapping and touching with any type of light or material is preferable, though not always practical 

4. Strong wind will blow your protection apart a lot easier than you think. From here on marginal trees are going only in wind sheltered areas 

5. Be OK with experimenting.  look at losses as an opportunity to find something else cool that might make it

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On 1/3/2023 at 2:46 PM, Manalto said:

Protecting Cycas debaoensis with double layers (sheet and canvas dropcloth) is inadequate in the low twenties. It will never look like anything if it has to start from zero each spring. Compost pile!

My debaoensis is an obligate container plant in zone8, but a tent and heat source could keep your plant green throughout the winter. 

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1. My subtract 10 degrees from the forecast rule stands.

2. The sabal genus is the best bet for us not living in Florida, California, or Arizona.

3. Landscape with plants that are rated for at least a half zone colder than your yard.

4. Do not remove canopy trees from your yard.

5. Any cover is better than no cover.

6. Learn from others experiences.

7. Sabal minor is an awesome palm. 

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