Day Three Out in the Open!

wxman81March 15, 2011

Today is day three that my oldest trachy has been free from its enclosure. It has been CHILLY the last two nights here. The night after I uncovered it the temperature dropped to 21F and last night the temperature dropped to 19F. Daytime temperatures rebounded both days up to around 40F. I don't baby my trachys in the fall and spring and will let them see temperatures down to the upper teens as long as daytime temperatures recover above freezing. I think short doses of cold like this increases the hardiness.

Here are two pictures. First one is when I uncovered it and second one is tonight. As you can see the leaflets on the fronds have opened up nicely in response to being out of the box and back into the full sun. And NO damage from the chilly nights. This one is truly hardy and has the curved trunk base that John in CO talks about.



Lots of 50s and 60s the next seven days. Going to mark the spear tomorrow and see if I start getting any growth!

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You obviously did a great job over-wintering it. Looks great, I would just watch out. We also are supposed to have a warm up (sunny and 45 as I write this)60 tomorrow but LOTS of rain. I'd hate to see any crown rot. The ground is still going to be qute cold.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 12:07PM
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Not worried about crown rot at all. Trachys survive just fine in the Vancouver/Seattle/Portland area and those areas produce really damp, cool rainy winters.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 1:37PM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Hi Wxman81,

You must be proud, the tracky looks so good. What heating source did you use and what zone are you? I like the photos. The leaves look healthy.

Just a friendly note, I think Andy may have meant to be cautious about freezing precip in the crown. Yes they do survive Vancouver/Seattle/Portland usually right on the coast where freezing precip is never followed by or accompanied with upper teens and low 20s.

Please keep the photos running; I enjoy seeing them. Have you considered a pindo butia palm?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 2:19PM
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I used a space heater inside a double poly enclosure with foam insulation. Tried a pindo palm and it didn't fare too well over the winter. Trachys seem to work best here.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 1:19PM
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Looking Good. Do you have the enclosure ready in case you get a strong Artic Blast? You are Zone 5B. Are you near Lake Michigan?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 2:58PM
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I'm less than 3 miles from Lake Michigan and they are covered back up again because of this weeks horrible weather.

Thunderstorm with sleet and snow here right now.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:42PM
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I am absolutely in LOVE with palm trees, I live just outside of Madison, and I really want to try with one this year. Based on the research I've done...seems my best bet is the windmill palm, which I believe is what you have. Do you agree? Where's the best place to order one? At first I had considered seeing what kind of palm might work for just keeping it in a container and bringing it inside over winter...but I've seen so many posts from people who, with modifications and care, have kept them out all perhaps I could give it a try myself! I've lived in WI all my life...but palm trees own a piece of my's time that I have one, somehow!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 9:50PM
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here's a newbie question.... from what I've read, these palms can get quite tall, but you have yours right next to the house. Will it not grow as tall here in WI because of the climate? "trachy," is the windmill palm, right? It looks beautiful there right up against the stone....and I love the size and shape yours is right there. How long have you had it?


    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 8:42AM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

They will still grow tall by the house and need the house for protection, just cover it in your zone and add lights for heat in the winter on days/nites below 25.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 4:29PM
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If you are worried about the windmill palm growing to 20ft. You could always try needle palms. Theses are listed as the "worlds most cold hardy palm" but thats not true until they are mature, they will still need to be protect in your zone regardless. They would grow to about 7' to 10'. They do have large needles around the trunk though. This is also and offsetting palm which you can prune to maintain a single trunk. One of my favorite palms is the sabal minor which is more cold hardy than the windmill, however does not have a trunk. But will give you that wonderful foilage as a shrub. And much easier to protect. Just a couple ideas, always good to mix it up.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 8:25PM
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Hi Angie.

I uncovered the palms again today. Hopefully smooth sailing from here on out! I planted the windmill palm you see above in July 2008 and have protected it each winter. I build an insulated box around it and heat the enclosure with a space heater to 40F to get it through the winter -- probably overkill but it works. I actually have others that made it through the winter with just a plastic box over them and a small strand of mini Christmas lights.

Yes, trachycarpus fortunei is a windmill palm. I ordered mine off eBay ... you can find some pretty good deals on there. I definitely think you should try one this year. Plant it in April or May so it has an entire summer to establish and come November, protect it for the winter.

Maybe if we get enough people from WI growing palms we can have a palm party someday. :)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 9:14PM
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