Puny Windmill Palm

dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)October 9, 2005

I am not happy with my windmill and would like to know what I am doing wrong. It was in a large pot for a couple of years and stayed quite small -- 18 inches maybe. So this spring, I planted it in a bed fairly close to the house with east exposure. It has hardly grown at all! A few more fronds but still it is quite small. We have had a very sunny summer since July and it has been watered but not a lot of fertilizer. Any suggestions?

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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

A one gallon Trachy I planted didn't grow as much as my 5 gallon Trachys either. It could be the size of the plant and its time in the ground outside. It is probably concentrating on growing its root system this season and will probably get larger next season with more frons and trunk growth because of the more robust root system.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 1:30AM
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Las_Palmas_Norte(Zone8)

DottyinDuncan

When you say "I planted it in a bed fairly close to the house", how close is fairly close? These palms (in time) have roughly a 10 foot span with a full canopy of leaves. Planted any closer than 5 feet from your house will eventually have the leaves pressed up against your exterior walls. Even worse, an overhead obtruction (soffit, utility & power lines, other trees etc). People often plant this way and ask me about moving it all too late.
As stated above, small palms like yours are busy setting new roots or perhaps slow while adjusting to a new environment. Be cautious during the next couple of winters during cold snaps. Small palms are much less hardier than mature ones.

Cheers, Barrie (Lantzville)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 1:59PM
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bananajoe(z8b)

I agree with Barrie. Smaller T.fortunei will need some sort of Winter protection in Duncan, because you can experience cooler winter temps. My folks live in Ducan just off Gibbons Rd. and they grow small palms. They also throw a mulch of leaves over them for the cold snaps. There is a tall old one growing on the corner of Sherman Rd. near the Railway Tracks, it was planted in 1971. Cheers, Joe

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 12:23AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Thanks for the info. Yes, It think I have planted it too close to the house, perhaps only 2 feet. I will protect it this winter, then move it in the springtime. Yes, those palms at the Gergel home are quite spectacular and have lived through some very cold snaps. I know they did protect them in the cold winter weather years ago, but I don't think they do that anymore. It's nice to meet a neighbour here.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 7:54PM
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Las_Palmas_Norte(Zone8)

Just a bit of additional info...Provide protection during only the coldest weather then remove it. Leaving it on all winter will promote mold and mildew.

Cheers, Barrie.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 2:21PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

I am thinking that I will have to protect and then unprotect as it goes from cold to warm here in the winter, plus we get about as much precipitation as you all do in the PNW. Just ask the guys in Atlanta, they get more than the PNW, just in bigger amounts faster. How concerned should I be about rain, more specifically if it is in the low 40s or upper 30s with lots of rain? Will this promote crown rot if it suddenly gets very cold?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 6:14PM
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Las_Palmas_Norte(Zone8)

I don't see it (crown rot) being a problem. We get plenty of those 37F - 45F degree rainy days. "Very cold" may be a problem if temps dip below 15F for any length of time. Always try to source out palms grown in your region. They're better adapted to local conditions, otherwise allow several years for them to adjust.

Cheers, Barrie.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 1:24AM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Barrie:

These Trachys were grown from seed taken from established plants from Ocean City, Maryland and have been through many harsh winters, so in that respect I have it covered. I guess I am paranoid about an Albeta Clipper that will freeze us into the single digits at night and I will protect the plants then. I am concerned with fungus starting after a freeze with a period of rain. I guess that is what they make fungicide for. Thanks for the tips.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 12:45AM
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DelTropix(7a)

Hi Virginian
Where in Ocean City did you come across those trachys?
Are they on public land? I could probably swing over there
some day without too much problem and would love to find
a source for a really cold hardy strain of trachys.
Thanks Dave in DE

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 5:12PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

The nursery owner near my home in Virginia has them at his house in Ocean City, MD and he grew them. I can ask him for a few seeds if you like.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 3:29PM
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Minxie(3)

Helpful hints for palms:
The most important factor for a healthy palm tree is good soil..the best contribution you can make to your palm tree's soil is the addition of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi.
When planting, take care not to damage top root or bark, build a soil barrier around the circumference of the hole to form a dam that will hold water. Then lay down a layer of organic mulch about three inches deep around the palm,,taking care not to plant top roots any deeper than they were grown..fertilize with a good palm time release fertlizer..keep evenly moist for a couple weeks.
Palms have shallow root systems and suffer very little shock if roots are not damaged during translanting.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 6:37AM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

I plan on transplanting several palms this spring and will heed your advice. So far I have been having luck with digging out a hole that is 3x as large as it needs to be. I put all the native soil (red clay in Virginia) and amend it heavily with Miracle Gro potting soil, MG garden soil, peat moss, compost, perlite, small pine bark chips and 10-10-10 slow release fertilizer. I plant the palm mounded up about 8 inches, then mulch with Cypress bark and pine straw. I then water everything in well and hope that the palm takes off.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 11:26AM
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steve_nj(7-a)

Don't over-amend your clay and make a 'bathtub'.It will worsen the waterlogged condition.I generally don't amend the soil. Palms will adapt. I plant the same depth as in the container or a little deeper if in sandy or compost soil. I mulch with compost. Palms planted in poor subsoil or sand need regular fertilizing with water soluble 15-30-15 (or similar ratio)containing trace elements the first couple of years. Miracle Gro is good. Osmocote 14-14-14 works well on established palms. I push palms with fertilizer all season whether in containers or the ground. Organic fertilizers could be used, if preferred. Established potted palms will grow the first season and trachys will not turn chlorotic when fertilized this way.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 11:13PM
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cshorepalms

long time lover of palms, first time owner. just received two 8 footers. arrived very dry. potting in two 48"x48" planters for enjoyment indoors. appreciate any advice or concerns.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 7:04PM
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jody_2007

I planted a 10 foot windmill in very sandy soil on the corner of my house. Tree appeared very healthy when I planted 3 months ago, but not the lower fronds appear to be die (turning yellow and drooping). Top of tree appears okay. It has been a real drought here for the last month with 95 deg weather plus. I have water throughly very frequently, 2-3 times a week. I purchase palm fertiler spikes on line and placed them in the ground 2 months after planting. Concerned that I am loosing the palm, thoughts? Pinehurst NC

    Bookmark   August 22, 2007 at 8:09PM
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ricky_gardener

I have small windmills in Norh Ga. and just wandering why do one windmill looks good growing and one close to it ain`t and they have yellow own the leaves own top of the leaves and the bottom are green they are in clay some dranage but not much, how do i fix this problen and how much watering do they need?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:35AM
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