Windmill Palm in Winter

rainydaywoman_z8(8)March 7, 2014

Oregon Z8: Unusual for our area, this winter we had quite a bit of snow and an ice storm. (I've decided this is really zone 7 rather than zone 8.) My 10-yr-old, 20+-ft tall windmill (Trachycarpus) is now completely brown except for a very small spot of green near the top. I have no idea what to do as far as removing dead fronds and whether it will recover. Will it drop the dead fronds by itself? I'm a lone female gardener with no desire to climb a 20-ft ladder to remove dead fronds! Four small 4-yr-old windmills are completely brown and drooping; unless they suddenly sprout from the roots, they must be dead. And, of course, the 5-ft-tall dracaenas are dead, which is to be expected. I didn't mulch the musas this year, as they have not needed it in the past several years, so I'm hoping they survive.

The bamboo had ice-coated leaves and were drooping into the in the street, but only a couple of canes died.

I'm about ready to stop tropicalesque gardening and go back to growing petunias! Any suggestions about the windmill palm? Sorry if I sound whiny!

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If you knew your winter lows which resulted in the browning of these plants, it would help others to guess what will happen to your palms. The windmill palm is rated zone 7 hardy, sometimes zone 6, but surely only when several years old. Your large Trachys should be ok after dropping the brown fronds. I wouldn't worry much if I were you. I have overwintered a young Trachy indoors, and it has brown fronds. I think mine have dried out. Your's will come back before mine.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:20AM
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Rainydaywoman, Musa bananas are zone 6 hardy, no worries for you.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:29AM
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Thx for the replies. I think it got down to 7 degrees, but I was in Mexico while the cold and snow were happening. Now the trachy has NO green and looks awful. I do hope it recovers.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 7:27PM
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Rainy, if you went down to 7F you must be zone 7. You may get more fronds, though. I guess it's a wait and see situation. This winter has been brutal, but I thought it was mostly towards the east, where the "Arctic Vortex" went. I wouldn't get rid of them for several months, you just may get more fronds.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 3:27AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

My only suggestion is to wait. Windmill palms can recover from pretty massive damage so your palm may not be dead but it can take a while to show new growth, possibly as late as mid-summer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Is my palm dead?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 1:25PM
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Sorry I'm late in thanking you for advice. Now I can see a bit of green at the very top, but what to do with a tall palm with all those dead fronds? This part of Oregon is listed as zone 8, but now I'm treating it as zone 7.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 3:46PM
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