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Is this sabal going to make it? Advice needed.


Ben OK

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My part of Oklahoma (supposedly 7a) had it's 4th below 0F winter out of the last six years. I was sad to lose my two largest trachycarpus (covered but no heating), since they had survived -14F with the same wrapping in Feb 2021.

What was more surprising was what I found when I checked my two Birmingham sabals and my palmetto a week ago. I wanted to see if they were growing yet. They like more heat, so I usually don't expect much growth until we are well into spring. I didn't cover any of my sabals this year, partly due to time constraints, but also because of overconfidence. I have never lost a sabal due to cold, so I felt like there was no real risk this year either. 

Unfortunately, I found that my Birmingham that is the most exposed (southeast corner of the house) was not growing. It also seemed that the spear was mushy. I figured I was dumb to leave it uncovered, and now it was doomed. When I took another look today though, it looked like this:

 

PXL_20230419_161437157.jpg

Edited by Ben OK
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The middle still has nothing but rotten material in it, but it appears to have finally grown a little. As I said, I have never had a sabal take this kind of damage. So I ask any of you who have seen this before, will it likely survive? Or is this the last gasp before it dies? 

I was ready to dig it up and replace it, but now I may wait and see. Unless, of course, others of you here know that sabals don't recover from this type of damage.

What do you think?

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For comparison, here is another Birmingham about 10 meters away that has more protection from north wind:

PXL_20230419_161521937.jpg

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And a palmetto that is protected from the south, east, and mostly overhead as well:

 

 

PXL_20230419_161515994.jpg

 

Edited by Ben OK
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They need to get a frond out before out of the woods.  It's like running power off your battery without putting out the solar panel to recharge it.  Once the palm uses up stored energy it's done if a frond is not out.

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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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1 minute ago, Allen said:

They need to get a frond out before out of the woods.  It's like running power off your battery without putting out the solar panel to recharge it.  Once the palm uses up stored energy it's done if a frond is not out.

Thank you. I will try to keep the hole dry from spring rain, spray it with some fungicide, and see if it has enough stored energy to pull through.

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  • 7 months later...

Any updates? Also, some fertilizer could help on the energy part (but don't overdo it). Unlike dicot trees and conifers, you can even safely fertilize aloes, bamboo, palms and yuccas in winter, given that monocot trees have a different type of wood.

I'm just a neurodivergent Middle Tennessean guy that's obsessively interested in native plants (especially evergreen trees/shrubs) from spruces to palms.

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