Am I supposed to prune dead foliage off of my R. Hystrix palm?

mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)August 28, 2013

I was thinking, somewhere I was told not to expose the trunk on my Needle palm even to cover with burlap in a 5b climate and recently, I have been wondering, am I supposed to leave dead foliage on my needle palm for extra protection, or will that cause a decrease in cold hardiness? Thanks for the help.

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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

Would you recommend me remove the dead foliage, or leave the foliage on?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Dead foliage will not help with winter protection. You're protecting it anyway, although I don't know if I'd use burlap. Prune away, just don't prune anything green.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 7:57AM
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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

Will it harm cold hardiness? Or is it neutral in a sense?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 8:07AM
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You can leave dead foliage on, but I'm not sure why you would want to...Your palm will look nicer if dead fronds are pruned off. As mentioned above, it won't help with winter protection. I've heard that leaving dead fronds on a washy helps to insulate them once they get that skirt of dead fronds because it protects the trunk. However, if you're protecting it anyway, then you don't need a "skirt" of dead fronds on your needle.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 8:26AM
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I agree, dead fronds can definitely be cut off. It won't do anytime to make it less cold tolerant. Never cut off fronds that are green and healthy though since your palm can use as many of those as possible to build up strength to handle the winter cold or any other possible problems along the way.
You can definitely make an argument about keeping washy fronds because of the skit it makes like islandbreeze says, but needles never develop that skit so leaving dead fronds on it will just make it look bad and will not insulate it in any way.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 5:34PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Use frost cloth in place of burlap, it breathes and helps shed snow and freezing rain, thus keeping the crown dry.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 4:17AM
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