All good advice needed!

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by sampson101, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. sampson101

    sampson101 Member

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    Hey everyone, I'm would like advice from you guys. I have recently purchased 5 Washington Filiferas, and live in Southern Kansas. People tell me it can't be done this far north, but I just couldn't help myself. The specimens are still seedlings, and so I figured I could try a few different scenarios and see just how far I can get. Here is what I am dealing with. Our last few winters the temperature hasn't quite made it to the single digits. Average January temperature is about 20 degrees F. Wind is a problem. Consistent 40mph gusts are not uncommon. This can bring the windshield down to the low negs. The summer months can reach 100-105, but usually aren't long term.
    I have considered using the heating coil methods I have read about to keep the trunk and growing points around 40 degrees, and have the space to bring the trees inside if necessary for the first 5 years or so but would like to them mature some day. Here are a couple of questions I have.

    1. Does leaving the "petticoat" potentially help protect the trunk from cold winters?

    2. Does this heated coil method really work?

    3. How do I protect the leaves outside when the tree begins to really mature and cannot be kept inside?

    4. Can I condition the trees to withstand the cold weather over the first 5 years?

    5. Being that our soil is substantially thicker, and more claylike without the proper drainage, how can I prep the soil now for the best possible growth for years to come?

    6. How long and at what temperatures should the palm be kept inside during the first 5 years?

    7. Any other good advice?

    I know that I have a huge and potentially doomed task before me, but I am determined to take it as far as possible and have read as much as possible to help my success. Thanks for your help and I hope to keep updates over the years with these guys.
  2. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Courtenay, Vancouver Island
    Some answers,

    1. It may, although the most tender and potentially lethal damage is done at the central growth spear.

    2. "heated coil" ... do you mean a heated electrical wrap / tracer used in plumbing applications? If so, I've not used it personally but those that have seem to apply burlap first and then the electrical source.

    3. You'll have to gather the leaves together with rope or a bungee cord. This saves space while you devise a protection method.

    4. The conditioning process is more of an adjustment period rather than increased hardiness. These have genetic imprints with won't allow it to get hardier over time. Small palms are less hardy or more suceptable to cold damage but the ultimate hardiness limits don't change.

    5. Heavy soil in a cold climate is the death knell for Washingtonia. A substantially raised, well drained planting area is a must.

    6. Indoors for Washingtonia is rarely sucessful. Low light levels are going to produce weak growth which is incapable of survival once exposed again to regular sunlight during the outdoor growing season.

    7. Find one of the cold hardy palm boards to field questions. There's plenty of people that have gone before you and may even be local enthusiasts.

    Cheers, LPN.

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