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Z-7 Trunking Palms


GregVirginia7

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Just to offer a little encouragement to any newer Zone 7 cold hardy palm enthusiasts…there is hope for a bit of variety in our zone…

First…Needle Palm…planted in 2014…protection free in my yard anyway, little to no winter damage. The trunk is about 13” (16 oz. can for scale) cleaned it up for this post and was surprised myself at the trunk. Can’t recommend this palm enough. It has several trunks but this one presents itself right off the deck which makes it good…so is the beer:

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Next up…the Brazoria…little protection if any…have patience and you can get good results…the trunk is about 12” and it gets fatter every year. It’s a rough looking trunk but any trunk in Z-7 is a good trunk. Same can. Same scale…meaning it’s not a different can for every pic:

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Protection palm…the Chamaerops…planted in 2014…recovering well from a weird winter…needs winter protection but its trunking capabilities are impressive. There are two other smaller and more productive trunks to the left:

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Then there’s the too big to protect Sasquatch of the palm world…the Trachy…recovering as well from our mild to single digits back to mild winter again but I think it has added about 12” of trunk topping it off at about 10’…planted in 2014. Will watch it this winter…light up the crown and cover emerging spears with insulation if we get into teens or single digits:

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And if all else fails…find a nice piece of drift wood! But these palms are really good for Z-7.IMG_0171.thumb.jpeg.7d4314264fce33507114bb1af92778eb.jpeg

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That's not my experience here in Tennessee. People try Chinese windmill palms, and they constantly die even in the warmer parts of the state. Nonetheless, needle palms do indeed have trunks that can be shown if only you bother to prune them (they're just too shade-tolerant, like southern magnolias and great rhododendrons). I've had good experiences with dwarf palmettos; mine only lost half of its leaves to 24 hours failing to reach even 3 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of -2,  and it already showed a tiny bit of new growth the subsequent (very mild) January. If you want a trunk and don't feel like pruning needle palms, I'd recommend sticking to hybrids and/or subspecies of dwarf palmettos (e.g. Birmingham, Brazoria, Louisiana) that inherited its freeze resistance.

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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39 minutes ago, L.A.M. said:

That's not my experience here in Tennessee. People try Chinese windmill palms, and they constantly die even in the warmer parts of the state. 

By my temp chart in the last 21 years for established Trachy, 11 years minimal to no damage (10F+),  6 years major damage/possible death(5F or Below) , 4 years 50% + damage (6-10F)

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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),  18' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia odorata (1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -6F, -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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On 8/31/2023 at 10:51 AM, Allen said:

By my temp chart in the last 21 years for established Trachy, 11 years minimal to no damage (10F+),  6 years major damage/possible death(5F or Below) , 4 years 50% + damage (6-10F)

That's true. Many lasted a few years then got killed in January 2018, even as needle palms survived with no issue. It happened in Algood, Baxter, Hendersonville, Knoxville and Memphis; the only ones I knew of that were still alive in 2021 were in Chattanooga (but I'd be surprised if even those survived December 2022), which were growing alongside cabbage palmettos that also tend to die fast in the other suburbs/cities listed.

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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On 8/31/2023 at 11:51 AM, Allen said:

By my temp chart in the last 21 years for established Trachy, 11 years minimal to no damage (10F+),  6 years major damage/possible death(5F or Below) , 4 years 50% + damage (6-10F)

This is why T.fortunei is rated as a z8 palm.

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1 hour ago, SeanK said:

This is why T.fortunei is rated as a z8 palm.

We have a lot of trachys here Raleigh that are older than I am. And I'm 44. I didn't notice any losses after the winter of 2018 when we had a low of 4f either. So they definitely seem to do ok in our zone 7 climate. 

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Looking good Greg .

I bought a Brazoria about 4 years ago and have been planning to plant it for years . It would be so cool now if I had planted  it a few years ago . I WILL plant it next spring . At least I have repotted it into a bigger pots over the years  .  I know how to procrastinate lol .

Will

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5 hours ago, knikfar said:

We have a lot of trachys here Raleigh that are older than I am. And I'm 44. I didn't notice any losses after the winter of 2018 when we had a low of 4f either. So they definitely seem to do ok in our zone 7 climate. 

Ahh, but what did they look like after that winter? I saw two near me completely defoliated at 5° to 6° this past winter. I haven't been back that way in about 8 weeks. 

 

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21 minutes ago, SeanK said:

Ahh, but what did they look like after that winter? I saw two near me completely defoliated at 5° to 6° this past winter. I haven't been back that way in about 8 weeks. 

 

Here in Raleigh, I didn’t notice any damage at all. Closer to the coast, there was obvious damage. I wonder if any of that has to do with the soil difference? More clay vs mostly sand? But yeah, no or very little noticeable damage here. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/8/2023 at 2:09 PM, SeanK said:

This is why T.fortunei is rated as a z8 palm.

 

On 9/8/2023 at 3:54 PM, knikfar said:

We have a lot of trachys here Raleigh that are older than I am. And I'm 44. I didn't notice any losses after the winter of 2018 when we had a low of 4f either. So they definitely seem to do ok in our zone 7 climate. 

Raleigh is zone 8a. Hardiness zone goes by mean minimums averaged over many years. Having a rare single digit event every few winters while most are closer to 15 F (-9 C) is zone 8. Most winters, and the mean, are above 10 F (-12 C). A large variation can change the mean vs the median. If 9 winters had a low of 9 and one was a low of 19, 9/10 years slightly below 10 F, would still be zone 8 with the average being 10. 

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13 hours ago, Aceraceae said:

 

Raleigh is zone 8a. Hardiness zone goes by mean minimums averaged over many years. Having a rare single digit event every few winters while most are closer to 15 F (-9 C) is zone 8. Most winters, and the mean, are above 10 F (-12 C). A large variation can change the mean vs the median. If 9 winters had a low of 9 and one was a low of 19, 9/10 years slightly below 10 F, would still be zone 8 with the average being 10. 

Raleigh also doesn't get the freezing precipitation that we get along I85, from ATL to CLT. Being a bit farther east, it gets a little better cold blockage.

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On 11/2/2023 at 12:41 PM, SeanK said:

Raleigh also doesn't get the freezing precipitation that we get along I85, from ATL to CLT. Being a bit farther east, it gets a little better cold blockage.

We have a higher annual snowfall amount than Atlanta with about 6" each year. Charlotte averages 3.5" and Atlanta averages 1" - 2" per year. 

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On 11/1/2023 at 11:05 PM, Aceraceae said:

 

Raleigh is zone 8a. Hardiness zone goes by mean minimums averaged over many years. Having a rare single digit event every few winters while most are closer to 15 F (-9 C) is zone 8. Most winters, and the mean, are above 10 F (-12 C). A large variation can change the mean vs the median. If 9 winters had a low of 9 and one was a low of 19, 9/10 years slightly below 10 F, would still be zone 8 with the average being 10. 

I don't put a lot of faith in the zone definitions but the USDA still officially classifies Raleigh as a 7b. The first 10 years of the 2000s, Raleigh only had one single digit event. During the second 10 years, we had 4 single digit events. Lows of 7, 7, 9 and 4. My point is that if windmill palms can handle that many single digits in that short span of time, I'd definitely consider them a 7b palm. Maybe a warm 7b palm but still a 7b palm. 

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4 hours ago, knikfar said:

I don't put a lot of faith in the zone definitions but the USDA still officially classifies Raleigh as a 7b. The first 10 years of the 2000s, Raleigh only had one single digit event. During the second 10 years, we had 4 single digit events. Lows of 7, 7, 9 and 4. My point is that if windmill palms can handle that many single digits in that short span of time, I'd definitely consider them a 7b palm. Maybe a warm 7b palm but still a 7b palm. 

I concur with trachy in my 7b.  They actually grow into warm 6b here next to structure(s).  

Mid single digits will cause damage, but not defoliation in most cases on established trees. Here.

 

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22 hours ago, jwitt said:

I concur with trachy in my 7b.  They actually grow into warm 6b here next to structure(s).  

Mid single digits will cause damage, but not defoliation in most cases on established trees. Here.

 

Excellent point! Moisture level, or lack there of, can make a big difference in a palms hardiness. Just like Washingtonia Filifera, definitely a 7b palm in dry western areas but probably a warm 8a palm in the southeast. 

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3 hours ago, knikfar said:

Excellent point! Moisture level, or lack there of, can make a big difference in a palms hardiness. Just like Washingtonia Filifera, definitely a 7b palm in dry western areas but probably a warm 8a palm in the southeast. 

Good point. I was in ABQ about 20 years ago for 3 months. Actually stayed in Grants. 0°F overnight ant it always rose above freezing the next afternoon.

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