mediterranean fan palm overwintering

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by abbotsfordpalmman, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. abbotsfordpalmman

    abbotsfordpalmman Active Member

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    I have read many conflicting resources on overwintering palms in the lowermainland fraser valley area. Some say no protection is required at all, while others paint a much more distructive picture of our winter climate on outdoor palms. This is what i have gathered. In the last 6 years abbotsfords coldest temperatures have been fairly mild. Winter 01/02 the min temp recorded was above -5c. Whereas last winter we recieved our coldest night in the last 6 years being -12C. That being said our coldest nighttime low in the last years has only been 10F. To me that would appear to me more of a zone 8 than zone 7 like most people rate us. I do agree, however, the wind factor can be the tip of the iceburg. bearing that in mind, what should be done to mediterranean fan palms outside in our climate? should they simply get wrapped on the coldest nights with burlap, or are more creative means required. I would love to try to come to quassi conclusion on the matter.
     
  2. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Lowest cold temps won't tell the whole picture. -10c for a night or two is less harmful than a week of nights at -7 celcius. Many other factors contribute to palm failure. Soil moisture, drainage, rain or snow in the central growth point that freezes and thaws repeatedly, exposure, sudden or drastic temerature drops etc.
    My best advise to you is construct a canopy over your palm to keep rain and snow out. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate but solid construction is key. It must be able to withstand wind and snow loads. I've used 2x2 and 1x2 to construct a framed pitched canopy that is then covered in 6 mil poly (available in rolls as vapor barrier), stapled down, and lath over the ends and edges once the poly is on. I nail the lath on with roofing nails, pre-drilled to avoid splitting, and anchor with concrete blocks.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  3. abbotsfordpalmman

    abbotsfordpalmman Active Member

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    mine is quite large now, and im wondering is this only necessary for nights where the center fronds will get moisture and then freeze? i do have burlap that i got to wrap lightly around the trunk. A lady in the area told me with hers she also lighty ties the fronds up toward the center fronds to minimize moisture getting right down to the center. This sounds like it could work in light rains but im wondering if that could be harmful in the even of a heavy rain where water would saturate that area of the palm and then be trapped. any thoughts ? do you do any protection to med. fan palms on vancouver island? if so at what size of a specimen to you no longer require protection?
     
  4. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You're right about it may only need a canopy during the worst weather, but it's concievable that the structure would have to be moved/dismantled many times over during winter months. So, rather bothersome by most gardeners standards.
    Tying the fronds together won't stop rain from entering the central growth point. It is however more compact and easier to provide a quick burlap wrap in cold weather. The sharp spines on the petioles are very likely to draw blood on one or more occasions.

    I have two Chamaerops planted and the smallest has never been protected. It's about 18" tall. The second is much larger but by virtue of where it's located (near a Phoenix canariensis), it does get to ride out the winter inside an portable 10'x10' coldframe. No heat, just protection from rain, frost and snow. It certainly wouldn't need the protection, but again, it's more convenient for me at this time, to include it in the routine. I should post a pic tomorrow so you can see what I mean.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  5. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Well ... a beautiful late summer morning here and a good chance for the pics I promised.
    The first pic shows both the Mediterranean fan and the CIDP in the same planting area.
    Pic #2 shows the Med palm by itself and it's taller than I thought, now standing 4' tall.
    The last pic shows my small, never protected Med fan palm. It was virtually overgrown and I had to spend 5 minutes cutting back enough to show it. It's also taller than I thought at 2' tall.

    Cheers, LPN.
     

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  6. abbotsfordpalmman

    abbotsfordpalmman Active Member

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    wow those are looking beautiful!!! how do the phoenix do on the island there? i personally think they are one of the most beautiful of the palms! ill take a pic of my med. fan palm later when i get back. Its quite large now! a true beauty!
     
  7. abbotsfordpalmman

    abbotsfordpalmman Active Member

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    here is the med fan palm. as you can see its nice and full. when i stand beside it is well above my waist high :). im just praying for a nice mild winter!
     

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  8. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Your Med. fan palm is a fine specimen! I have some that size in 15 gallon pots down in the greenhouse/coldframe. As far as Phoenix canariensis is concerned, it would seem that temps no colder than -6 celcius are fine. Frost settling on the leaves does some minor damage and drainage is absolutely paramount during winter here. So a canopy or coldframe over the palm does certainly help. No supplimental heat neaded unless temps dip below say -8 celcius for any extended periods. I'd wager that as the palm gets larger, it may not need much more than a tee-pee type structure around the center crown. Time will tell, ... and I think CIDP will be standard plantings in milder regions in the next 20 years or so, Med's much sooner.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  9. abbotsfordpalmman

    abbotsfordpalmman Active Member

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    hey lpn,

    has anyone imported any large specimens of canary island date palms into the region? i wonder if joe has any on salt spring
     
  10. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I'm not sure about mainland locations. The times I've been around there I've not seen any large ones. I don't remember seeing any at Joe's either. By large I assume you mean at least a 15 gallon palm.
    Here's the last one I have, in need of a good home. The palm alone stands about 4 and a half feet tall.

    Cheers, LPN.
     

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  11. abbotsfordpalmman

    abbotsfordpalmman Active Member

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    thats a beauty!! how much do they charge for palms that size on the island?
     
  12. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I'll PM you at this point.
    Cheers, LPN.
     

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