When to over winter windmill palm?

Robert HowardNovember 7, 2012

Hey Guys

Hope everyone is good. hope everyone in tri state area escaped Sandy without to much damage!

Today NYC is recieving there first snow storm. Since this my first year growing my 4th windmill palm, i was curious when i should over winter my palm that is planted in the ground.

I already built a wood box surrounded by black plastic to keep out the elements of sandy. but took it off after the storm. put it back over the palm this morning, to protect from the comming snow storm. My niebor gave me a bale of hay, that he was throwing out. so i have the waterproof box & bale of hay. The hay has not been used yet in the box. What next??? I would hate to see my palm die, especially after all the care i gave it this summer. I guess im really asking when & how to over winter my palm. Thanks for the help. Bobby

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At this point keep the growth point dry,esp before a freeze.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:06PM
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I guess it depends on what type of weather you're expecting to get hit with from that Noreaster. If it's just a light snow with no accumulation, you're fine. If you're getting a lot of snow, or like Jim warned against, freezing precip, cover it now. As Jim said, keeping it dry is more important than insulation or heat at this point. But you could build a structure or fence around the palm, fill with dry straw, and then put a waterproof top on it. Make sure that the top is shaped that it will repel water and snow.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:10PM
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LagoMar(USDA 8/AHS 7)

Windmill palms are among the few that can withstand snow as long as its not going to stick around long. Its the deep freezes that would affect it. I know you have nothing to worry about at this time. If you see temps predicted into the teens its time to start protecting your windmill palm.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 7:53AM
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We got snow yesterday and my palms are still all unprotected. They will be fine until we start getting hard freezes, once that happens you are going to want to start protecting it from precipitation and protect from cold when temperatures start to regularly approach the mid 20's at night or especially if temperatures will be below 20.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:03AM
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Robert Howard

Hey Guys
Thank you for the useful info. I really appreaciate the responses. Finding useful info on the web is hard!
I took the waterproof box off 4ft Windmill in the morning, snow starting to dissappear already. I guess im jumping the gun a bit but i figured i have the removable box might as well use it.
I have some more Questions!!! Remember this is my first year planting anything!! never mind Palms!

1- Do i still need to water my unprotected windmill palm now? The temputures are supposed to be in the mid 60's this weekend.
2- When the tempatures start reaching below 20 and i finally cover & insulate the palm for the winter do i keep it like that all winter?(does it need any sunlight or water for the winter?)
3- Do i just cover the trunk with insulating(Hay) or the fronds too?
4- Do i need to spray copper on it before covering it?
5- Do you recommend Christmas lights inside the box.
6- Also when should i cut my Musa Bajoo trees, there still growing?
Thank you!
Alex i cant believe whats going on in Staten Island!!! Hope you made it through Ok!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:13PM
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2.No. 2b. not if it is kept cool.
3.Do not use X-mas lights and hay together.
4.You can if you want to,I use it after the spear pulls if nec
5.Yes,placed on hardwood mulch and away from the box and plant
and monitored with a temp sensor INSIDE THE PROTECTION-I
put mine next to the spear and a thermocube(in some enclosures)
next to the outside edge of the protect.
6.When they stop growing or before low 20s begin to mush them out,
I prefer to cover mind after a stretch of dry weather so they are not
water logged when I cover them.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Thanks Bronxboy, what's going on in SI is terrible, fortunately I'm okay only very minor property damage! I feel terrible for those who lost everything, especially for those who lost family members and friends.

You dont have to water protect your windmill palm now, protecting it during this last snow storm wasnt needed, but it wont hurt either!
You can keep it like that all winter, they are MUCH happier when they get air during warm ups, I only protect mine when it's very cold out or when I cant take the protection off because the snow is too high. They are unprotected during the winter much more than they are protected. I havent seen any ill effects from the short term lack of light. They dont grow during the winter and cold hardy palms are not just cold hardy, they are hardy in general!
Definitely dont use hay and christmas lights together. I have christmas lights and frost cloth together and even that is a little bit risky, the lights only stay on short term.
I pretty much agree with everything Jim said!
Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:34PM
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Lago, one of my first windmills got completely buried by the record snow fall of 2010. It was perhaps in its second year and only knee high or so. Complicating matters, snow from the metal roof was falling onto the metal porch roof above that palm. The metal would warm up and big sheets of deep snow would slide off the roof like glaciers, them crash down onto the poor palm! It was buried under three feet of snow for a month that got harder in time! I couuldn't even dig it out. I gave that palm up for lost.

It was fine. Aside from the older fronds getting chewed up and shredded, it had no real damage. That palm is about 7' tall now. However, I really need to get snow cleats to keep that from happening again. But I hope we never see 30" of snow (two storms, three days apart) ever again. That was the deepest in Coastal Delaware history.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:23PM
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Dry fluffy snow is actually a good thing. it works as a good insulator. Roots freezing and the crown getting wet are what do in overwintered palms. Once you get to a point where it will got go above freezing for a long stretch you can bury it in the snow.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 1:29PM
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