My Queen Palm: Is It Dead?

joey_powell(8b (15.1F) USDA 2012)February 1, 2009

I have a five-foot high queen palm with two mature fronds and with another new one emerging. A couple of weeks ago we had temps to 21 on a couple of nights, with below-freezing temps one night for a duration of about ten hours.

I covered the tree with an old blanket but did not use any other protection. It has been in the ground now for almost a year.

After the freezes the mature fronds turned almost completely brown (expected) and the emerging frond turned completely brown. Now today I went out and gave it a gentle tug. The entire thing pulled out from the heart of the plant. The part that was down inside crown has no green at all.

Will this tree recover, or is it dead? The outside of teh trunk still has a lot of green - looks the same as before. And I have heard that queen palms often recover from "spear pull." What do you guys think?

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It doesn't sound good mind you, but I would keep it around and see what happens. I have had buds pull from a Washingtonia robusta and it recuperated (slowly) and developed new spears eventually. I hear that windmill palms also will survive spear loss. I have two 10 foot Queens that I've been overwintering in a garage (winter temps stay anywhere from 38 to 60 F, averaged the cold 40's this past very cold January and did drop to 32 F. on a very cold morning. They look great (no damage/very lush) so these guys are great for handling prolonged cold. Time will tell whether your lower minimal temps will prove to be fatal.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 4:31PM
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I have a feeling it's dead. I know queen palms are supposed to be able to survive temps down to the low 20s, but that's as adult palms and probably only a couple times a year, not back to back nights consecutively. I would also leave it in the ground and hope for the best, but I'm not sure if pinnate (feather) palms can recover from spear pull. From my experience, a palm will recover from spear pull if the rot was the result of cool wet conditions, not from plain cold weather.

I would say to wrap it in rope lights to warm it up, but small queen palms are so cheap, it probably wouldn't be worth it. You're probably best just replacing it in the spring.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 7:07PM
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There are certain types of a queen palm that are much more cold hardy than others .

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:12PM
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If you lose your queen palm, try replanting in the spring AFTER THE LAST CHANCE FOR A FROST a SILVER QUEEN. They are from a highland region in Brazil, higher in elevation than the standard queen palm, and are supposedly hardy to the upper teens, once established with some size to them. These are they only queen palms that should be planted in an 8B or borderline 9A climate. You will probably have to go to a palm nursery to get one, since the Home Depot and Lowe's people wouldn't know silver queen from a hole in their head.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 10:32PM
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I was wondering if my palm is dead. Last summer I purchased my Queen about 20ft tall. We had a pretty stout ice storm last week. One night it was 25, the next 20, the next 21, and the following 16 degrees. Each night I watered the palm for 30 minutes before going to bed before temps got below 25, I also wrapped a blanket around it.

The following week has gone back to warm weather. Normally I miracle grow my palm once a month and it does wonders for it as far as its greeness, etc. It has been windy this week and one of the fronds broke and is falling down on the tree(which has never happened), I trimmmed this one off, and noticed that normally the fronds are held together in a tight pattern by the tree, but they are all realeasing if you will. I had another frond fall down this week too. I did put miracle grow on it, hoping this would help revitalize it. Is my palm dead or Damaged?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 10:31AM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

I lost all 6 of my Queens last winter. They were all almost a foot in diameter, nice big trees. They had survived lows in the low 20's several times with fronds burning slightly but we had two arctic fronts in early January back to back with more than 24 hours of sub freezing temps. Five died. All 5 had spear pull. I don't think they can ever recover from pull. Only the largest one lived to put out new fronds in the spring but eventually died as well after putting out several stunted fronds. Lots of folks along the Gulf Coast have planted these palms over the last 10 years (during this stretch of mild winters) and thought they were at least zone 9 hardy, but sooner or later, we will have one of those bad winters where temps plunge into the low 20's for extended periods of time and realize these palms don't survive this kind of weather. You either replant them and expect to have to do this from time to time or go on to something else. Sadly, I think yours are gone.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 11:26AM
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I couldnt exactly pull them off, I guess, I had to cut the damaged fronds off, when i looked at the inside of it when i squeezed the frond it had moisture in it, it wasnt bone dry, how do I tell if its burned? Or has spear pull? Should I keep miracle growing once a month? Or is it a waste. Thanks in advance for your advice by the way.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 12:08AM
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One thing you can do right now-since you would probably like some kind of answer-is...
cut down to the depth that it pulled.
This will allow you to look inside and see how far the rot has progressed.

If it is any color besides light(brown/black/tan)you may need to cut further down.

Make your cut at an angle,low side south/north side high

-so the cut faces south-

when/if you find living tissue stop cutting,you can then apply some fungicide and wait,
I'm guessing the weather is warming up there too over the next few days so you should
see some movement if it is alive within a week or two.

Make sure you only cut a little at a time so you don't cut through all the bud tissue.

I had to cut 3 small Trachys like this last year,luckily they pulled through-
here is what it looked like.


This was an extreme cut as the dead tissue went that far-
hopefully you will catch it in time-best of luck!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 11:39AM
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