Have any of you had luck planting palm trees in Northeast Alabama and if so which variety?
Glenda, I haven't put in a palm (yet), but there are many, many threads on the garden web about cold hardy palms. The Tennessee Forum, in particular, seems to have a lot of interest. I've attached the entire forum search (just in case you haven't already done it) so that you can read as many threads as you wish. On the third page, you will find a very long thread from the Tennessee Forum that might be worth skimming through.
I'm sure that you've heard of the nearby nursery that specializes in cold hardy palms.
Here is a link that might be useful: Click here
Glenda, I have a yard full of palms thriving here in NE Birmingham, and know several people successfully growing them up in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Cleveland & Athens TN....so I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to as well. Just remain aware of the elevation at which you live & how that will affect your low temps in the winter and therefore determine if protection from the cold might be required.
This little list will give you the best choices for your location:
Windmill palm - Trachycarpus fortunei - the most cold hardy "trunking" palm & relatively fast growing. Also the most common cold hardy palm sold at nurseries.
Needle Palm - Rhapidophylllum hystrix - the most cold hardy palm of all. It's a smaller shrub palm that is actually native into Central Alabama. A great palm, every yard should have at least one.
Sabal minor - another shrub palm that is native to Jefferson County (Birmingham) and Etowah County (Gadsden). great for an instant tropical look and very cold hardy also
Chamaerops humilis - European fan palm or Mediterranean fan palm - another shrub palm that will trunk but very slow growing
Pindo palm - Butia capitata (sometimes called "jelly palm"). a very elegant palm, just give it lots of space.
Sabal palmetto - sometimes called "Cabbage palm". Another trunking palm. Specimens with 8 - 12ft of trunk are often sold freshly dug from Florida. Beware of ones not "hurricane cut".
Currently, all of the Birmingham Home Depot stores have 3gal Windmill, Butia, and European fan palms for $24.95. They also have Washingtonia robusta palms which I would definitely NOT recommend for you.
Visit the website I've linked below & you'll encounter the friendliest group of hardy palm nuts on the planet. The "Click here for additional info" link at the top of that page will also lead you to numerous hardy palm websites with loads of info.
If I can be of any further assistance, feel free to ask.
Here is a link that might be useful: Lots of info here
Glenda, I also meant to add that the Fall meeting of the Southeastern Palm Society will be held Saturday, October 6, in Anniston, Alabama at the Museum of Natural History. You need not be a member to attend the meeting. There are always palms for sale, and you would also get to see the great collection of palms currently growing on the museum grounds.
I hope you can attend.
Here is a link that might be useful: click here for more info