Posted 2014-03-11 8:36 PM (#430813 - in reply to #430738) Subject: RE: Spring is springing?
Location: Kansas City, MO
Best wishes to you and your palm- I became quite fond of those beautiful trees about 40 years ago when the Navy determined that my family would live in Honolulu while I was riding one of our country's finest submarines around the Pacific.
What kind of palm can you get to thrive in latitudes such as ours? I'm in Kansas City- not much north of you- and I'd love to see one of those beauties when I look out the kitchen window.
Posted 2014-03-12 9:00 AM (#430880 - in reply to #430738) Subject: Re: Spring is springing?
Location: USA - KY
My palm tree is a Chinese Windmill Palm. They grow well in the higher altitudes of Asia, and therefore can withstand harsher climates and cooler temperatures. They can also withstand very hot temperatures and very high humidity if they have to, along with high winds and prolonged drought. They do best planted in direct sunlight, but can tolerate some shade during the day as well. They don't "hibernate" as such, unlike our native trees, so they might need protection during the cooler months depending on where you live as they will attempt to keep on growing throughout the winter. They are not the prettiest of palm trees, but they are likely one of the toughest. They aren't inexpensive, but not that pricey compared to other trees that might not have that "tropical charm". They are supposed to be somewhat slower-growing in some parts of the country, but ours has shot up from having an 18" trunk to a 72" trunk in five years. We planted our tree in fairly decent soil, but not that great. We just made sure that the soil provided really good drainage, and we added some sand to the soil too. We planted ours in the hottest, most protected area of our back yard...maybe a little too close to the house as now the fronds have grown large enough to touch the house during the height of summer. We watered our palm tree a bit when it was young, but not since. We give it a little palm tree fertilizer once or twice a year, if that.
I used to see Chinese Windmill Palms growing in public, outdoor spaces (such as traffic islands) when I lived in Vancouver. They stayed put in the winter, and would survive even though they were often covered in snow. Most references state that they can survive temperatures as low as 10 to 15 degrees F. without any protection, for a week or two. But they will survive even colder temperatures for a prolonged period of time, if you provided them with protection.
If you look at the photo, you can see my palm tree's little, dead twin just to the right. It lived through three winters, only to finally succumb when we did not realise that mid-winter rain water found a way under the protective wrapping that we had applied in the fall. The water later froze solid, killing the growing-tip at the base of the fronds, which seems to be the most damage-sensitive part of the tree.
When the trees were young and short, we would pile the mulch up high around the trunks in the late fall. We threw together a cheapy, wooden frame over the trees, and then we'd cover that with a painter's, canvas drop cloth, which we would then cover with a thick, plastic tarp. We'd wrap the trunks with Christmas tree lights which would stay on day and night whenever the temperatures got below 20 degrees F, which wasn't that often around here. We also had a cheapy, very warm, flood light stuck in the ground inside of the canvas tarp, which we could also use when the temperatures got below 10 degrees F. for more than a day or two.
As the trees grew, they became too large for our cheapy, wooden frame, so we had to adjust. We still pile up the mulch around the remaining tree's trunk, then wrap the trunk with the canvas drop cloth, over which we wrap the Christmas lights. We trim off all of the fronds necessary to allow us to cover the top growing-tip with a cap of thick, clear plastic wrap which keeps the water from getting inside and freezing. When it gets really cold, we wrap the trunk with even more layers: a layer of large-scale, bubble wrap, followed by another layer of canvas drop cloth. The small flood light now sits up close to the growing-tip, so that we can turn it on whenever it becomes very cold. On warmer, sunny days, we unwrap the tree a bit so it can get a bit of sun and fresh air. LOL Photosynthesis, ya know.
Any fronds that were on the tree in the fall eventually turn brown as the winter progresses. In the spring, we remove all of the protective layers and lights from the tree, and we usually discover some brand new, small, green fronds starting to already emerge from the growing-tip. We just remove any brown, unsightly fronds, and before you know it, the tree will grow a new set of fronds.
It's not as much work as it might sound, and the results are worth it. Maybe we're being too fussy. I've just become too fond of my palm tree to not fuss over it a bit in the fall. I know of a fellow in the mountains of Tennessee who has a Chinese Windmill Palm and all he does to protect it in the winter is to wrap it with the Christmas lights. It's about ten feet tall now. The good news is, you can totally ignore the tree once it gets warm, other than trimming the lower hanging fronds if you're fussy about how it looks. They are a no-care-necessary tree during the warm weather.
Our tree grew seed pods last year. That was a sight! Several, long projections grew out from the trunk in no time at all, and these then became covered in huge, yellow pods which gradually opened to expose tiny seeds by the thousands. These projections dropped off after a couple of weeks or so and all evidence of this episode disappeared. Creepy.
Posted 2014-03-12 11:18 AM (#430897 - in reply to #430738) Subject: Re: Spring is springing?
I've got several palm trees, not sure what kind but they are "small" type that don't get over 10' tall. They get those seed cluster things and drop seeds. I've had half a dozen little palm trees grow up at random places around my house over the years. They start out looking like a really sturdy single blade of grass.
Posted 2014-03-12 12:55 PM (#430909 - in reply to #430897) Subject: Re: Spring is springing?
Location: Parts Unknown
Last week I had 2 feet of snow in the yard. Now it is sunny and beautiful and I want to garden !
Last fall I dug the parking strip out at the street to a depth of 4' and ran all the soil through a screen.
It was terrible, nasty rock. Hauled off the rock and brought in 2 loads of really nice topsoil I acquired
via beer wrench from the nearby high school football field rebuild project.
Yesterday I got out a hoe and smoothed out the mountainous mess I left when the snow began falling
last year and made it all purty, but when I went to try and move my shrubs back into the newly rebuilt
beds .... uh oh ! The ground is still frozen solid about 6" down !
Guess I gotta wait for spring to fully "spring" !
No palm trees here though. Washington Palms will survive in the temperate Seattle weather, but our
altitude and harsh cold will kill off any palms I am aware of. But that why God made pine trees ! Not
quite the same, but a close 2nd for beautiful and the association with warm summer memories. Wish
I could grow redwoods here too. Sequoias will do fine, but redwoods can't take the extreme cold. So,
Ponderosa and Sugar Pines it is !
Posted 2014-03-13 12:27 PM (#431035 - in reply to #430909) Subject: Re: Spring is springing?
Location: NY & VT
Like those palm trees! but why not just get it over with and move to Florida? That's what I'm going to do (at least in the winter!!)
I know a guy in VT who has one of those big 7' high plastic palm trees with white lights on it, on his deck. We drive by it every time we go up, and there it is, always lit up at night standing in 2' of snow. It always makes us smile!
We were threatened with 8" of wet snow last night but we Dodge-d the bullet and got just rain with an inch of dry snow when it changed over at the end... I think the end of winter MAY be in sight (famous last words).
Posted 2014-03-13 2:24 PM (#431048 - in reply to #430738) Subject: Re: Spring is springing?
Location: USA - KY
We were at the Jersey Shore early last fall, and loved the way that almost every hotel/motel along the beach and boardwalk had those tall, metal palm trees out in front, usually covered in bright paint and little, white lights. They don't really fit the climate, but they just "work" somehow! All part of the fun!