Overwintered Sabals using leaf cage?

islandbreezeFebruary 21, 2011

Has anybody successfully overwintered sabals using a leaf cage? I'm looking to get sabal minor, birmingham, and Louisiana, but I don't want to have to run more heat sources than I already am. I know this method has proven successful with windmills for some people.

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I did it with a Needle palm,the winter low that year was -18F.

I first wrapped it in burlap,then put a styrofoam rose cone
over it and then packed/compressed leaves about 20" or so
thick out from it.

You know,the more insulation you use the less heat you need,
my Princeps and T.tesan seedlings made it through
this winter with no heat in a 2" thick foam cooler.

I use 8 -7wt bulbs(C-9 X-mas lights)hooked to
a thermocube for my T.ferns and it worked great.

I think it's worth considering using a little heat if your going to
invest in some palms,it doesn't take much.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 3:19PM
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Yes, they are easy with a leaf cage. This is S. minor McCurtain last spring after being over wintered in a leaf cage then wrapped with frost cloth. According to Francko in "Palms Don't Grow Here....", sabals should not be completely covered like trachies can.

This is McCurtain at the end of the season

This is a different S. minor last spring.

Same minor at the end of the season.

McCurtain, Needle and S. palmetto are currently in these cages.

Here is the other minor. No frost cloth on this one.

As you can see, damage can be substantial and recovery can be slow so plant the largest plants you can. I grew these for several years before putting them in the ground.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 5:14PM
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I appreciate the feedback guys. Do you guys think I need to cover a leaf cage with a tarp to keep it dry or will it do okay getting wet?

Jim- Did you cover the leaves with a tarp or anything to keep them from getting wet?

Bradleyo- Your leaf cages seem to be working pretty well seeing that great growth, especially in the last pic. Have you ever tried covering them completely with leaves to avoid die-back? Also, how do you keep the snow from accumulating on those wrapped in frost cloth?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 6:31PM
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bananatree94(6a MI)

islandbreeze, im in SE Michigan too. I have been growing banana trees, cannas, alocasias, colocasias, gingers, hardy bamboos and other tropicals for the past two summers now. the only things i keep outside for the winter is the bamboo (fargesia rufa and an unknown variegated dwarf runner) and prickly pear cacti. i was wondering, where do you get your hardy palms from? a local nursery? i am interested in maybe a needle palm or sabal minor. do you know of any local places that sell them? im 17 so i dont think out of state is in the picture for me. maybe online?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 7:45PM
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Online is your best bet, and usually your only bet. Needles and sabal minor I have never seen at any nurseries here. I have seen windmill palms at a few places around here though, if you're interested in those. There is a landscape supply center near me in Trenton called Carefree Lawn that had a shipment of about 50 last summer. I bought just one since I have so many windmills already. There is also a nursery, which has since changed names, that I bought another from in Brownstown called Supples (that was the old name). In Grosse Ile, there is a place called Grosse Ile Marketplace that I bought another from. Online is definitely the easiest and the only way to find the type of palm you want, although it's also the most expensive.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Island - I have not tried covering completely with leaves. Francko found that sabals don't like or need that. After I wrap them I do nothing except for wait for spring. Snow does accumulate on the cages but I don't worry about unless the weight of the snow pulls the frost cloth up from the ground. Then I do what I can when I can when I get some meltage.

If you don't have "Palms Don't Grow Here and Other Myths" by Francko, you must get it today. It's readily available on Amazon. I do nothing that isn't in that book and refer to it often.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 6:47AM
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Mine were inside the rose cone so they were protected from moisture/rain/snow.

The outside of the leaf cage was frozen so- it was like
a big ice ball surrounding/insulating the palm.

I think it would help to at least cover the top.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 10:51AM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

bradleyo what the heck are you feeding those minors? They put on some serious size in one season! Where do you live?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Earthworm, are you also Larrick on the other board? Regardless, I live in one of the coldest 6a's in N. America and I protect very minimally and fertilize very minimally. As far as the palms are concerned, I use whatever granular organic fertilizer I have on hand, usually chicken manure or Espoma Starter, StarterPlus, or PlantTone once in the spring. All of them are fairly well balanced. I also hit them as needed with some fish emulsion until mid-July and never fertilize after that. By as needed, I mean if it gets dry, I'll fertilize, if it stays wet, I do nothing. It lets them harden off before our long cold winters. I am a firm believer in using nothing but organics. Both of my first 2 gardening mentors taught me the most important thing about gardening is the soil. Prep it once the right way and never do anything again.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 11:37PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

Yup I am one in the same. You caught me lol. I also believe in putting good things in your soil for optimum growth and health. I have a bed that I have neglected for years that is sitting in the best microclimate at my place. This past fall and over the winter I have been adding shredded fall leaves and composted chicken and steer manure to it to imporve the tilt and web hoping to encourage beneficial bugs and what not. Only using organics in my in-ground stuff but will have to continue with mostly chemicals for my potted ones. I am putting in some sabals there this spring (minors, bermudana and brazoria). I am hoping to get away with only having to protect the bermudana on the coldest nights. People say that minors and in particular Mccurtains are extremely slow in growth but after looking at yours it appears they are not doing anything to improve the soil and could be the cause of slow growth.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:37AM
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Supposedly McCurtain is faster than Sabal Minor(-:

Click for weather forecast

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 10:50AM
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I would still use organics in pots. I don't think that synthetics would be as beneficial in any application.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 12:25PM
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