winter protection of windmill palms

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by Tbolivar, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. Tbolivar

    Tbolivar Member

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    Hello all

    Last fall I purchased two windmill palms for our front yard in Langley BC. Now it was a pretty short summer as far as it goes, and the fall came on really quickly. I have these two in large ceramic pots about 24"< in diameter and about 18" deep. What precations should I take to ensure the pots, or fronds don't freeze. I don't expect it to get colder than -5 or at the coldest -10, but what should I do? move them in from the cold, or wrap them?

    Thanks

    Tony
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Get a suitably sized and shaped hand truck or one of those platforms with casters made for making potted plants portable (you put the pot on it and it gives the pot wheels, in effect) and bring them into the garage when hard frosts are expected. Put them back out when frigid weather doesn't loom. If several Arctic fronts blow through this winter, you will be wheeling them in and out several times. Roots are much less hardy than tops, do not let the roots freeze. One or both of your pots may be vulnerable to frost damage, as well.

    Plants that may appear to have overwintered successfully outdoors in containers may actually have lost most of their feeder roots to frost damage. These are more vulnerable to cold even than the old, woody roots mostly farther back inside the container. A variegated Portugal laurel I purchased during a recent spring from a location where I could see that it had been left out all winter turned out to have mostly dead roots when unpotted for planting. The top looked normal at the time of purchase. Since then, top growth has been rather recalcitrant. The condition a plant is in prior to planting is critical to how much response it makes after planting.
     
  3. Tbolivar

    Tbolivar Member

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    Hi Ron

    Thanks for the reply. That's what I thought as well to move them in the garage for winter. I had to do that last year with my bonsai as well. So while it's cold I'll keep them in there. The garage door has windows so natural light will filter in as well. I was thinking about wrapping them, but I think moving them in from the threat is just as easy.

    Thanks again

    Tony
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    See examples of root killing temperatures of immature roots on Snow Kidding thread.
     
  5. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    I brought in all my 15 of my potted palms into my attached unheated garage (with a window) 10 fortunei s, 2 Takils, 1 c Humilis, 1 W. robusta, and 1 butia. they all seem in good shape and I havent done much to them in 2 months. The washingtonia
    has lost some of its deep green colour in the fronds but all seems no worse for wear.
    so far this winter I havent protected my 5 in ground palms . (we havent had a frost here in a month)
    I think this is the best way to go IF it can work for your situation OR protect the plants by putting them up against the house and wrapping them as required by mother nature.
     
  6. Tbolivar

    Tbolivar Member

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    Well an update.

    I went out to move the two palms from up against the house. They where tucked in under the eaves in the front porch area. I noticed the one looks fine, the new fronds are coming up strong, but the other one has three new fronds coming up, but seemed dried out and yellowish. I gave them both a good watering and hope the fronds grow out, and new ones are the lavish green the balance of the plant is.

    Now my question is; is this from not having enough water through the winter, or from the frosts we had in march? Just curious, will the one perish, or should it be OK since it's warming up

    Thanks

    Tony
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Time will tell. Dump them out and look at roots if wondering, dead roots would not be a good sign.
     
  8. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Tony, I have some yellowing of the fronds on my fortuni's. I tried some evergreen tree
    fertilizer I got at Costco for around $16 high in nitriogen (28%).... Last year I had a large
    fortunei about 9' tall in a wooden crate in my garage, the lower fronds turned brown and
    dried up, the centre spear was still OK. I planted it late winter last year and it is looking good now- in my case there was very little soil around the roots when I un crated it.
    I think your best bet is to get it into the ground ASAP the sooner the better. With the mild winter we had, I doubt you had root damage from the cold. The only cold we had was from Nov 25 to Dec 21 and I dont think it hit -5.
    Good luck,
    Greg
     
  9. Tbolivar

    Tbolivar Member

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    Hello everyone

    I had another look at the fortuni I'm concerned about, and the spike seems dried out quite deep into the center of the plant. I'm guessing it didn't get eough water over the winter season. I had them tucked away under the eaves, (faces NW) and the one I'm talking about probably didn't get any natural moisture. I watered it, but by the look of it I'm thinking not enough.

    The other one was in the direction of the wind and rain (faces SE), our house faces west. So, thats my guess now after thinking about it. I don't think the pot froze solid at all. I checked the soil over the winter and it seemed dry, not fozen at all.

    I have the strongest feeling to plant these two in the ground and I think I have the best place for them. Next to my front door there is a walled in area about 6-0 foot by 6-0 foot which currently has nothing in it. It is under the eaves, about 14-0 feet up, on the west side of the house. What does everyone think?

    I guess now is the time to move them? Also how much room should I give each to spread out?

    Thank for all your help

    Tony
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Almost certainly no need to coddle them with placement in a sheltered nook in Vancouver area, plant where they will get plenty of moisture and room to grow. They would have been much better off overwintering planted in the ground than in the pots, I thought the point of your original post was that you didn't have room for them in the ground and would be growing them in the pots instead.
     
  11. Tbolivar

    Tbolivar Member

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    Hi Ron

    A little background: ......

    I purchased the palms with the intension of planting them into the ground, but after considering how much work I needed to accomplish in my front yard area it became evident I had to place them in pots until then.

    The garden area I'm thinking of planting the two palms currently has a small stump, that I haven't had time to remove. The planter is filled with volcanic rock and has a landscape fabric underlay. So, the work of location I need to accomplish over the spring-summer.

    That is why I was going to keep them in the pot's and then move them indoor during the next few winter's.

    But, if I can prepare this area I can then plant them in this West facing location? I personaly think they would look spectacular, but I also have to think about the plants. I don't expect to move from my current address, and I am in the process of completing the landscaping of the front yard area. So, with this information can you give me any advice on the location I am thinking.

    I know the concerns are for the welfare of the plants and that's my concern as well. If you like I can email you a picture showing you the location and you can offer your thoughts.

    Thanks again

    Tony
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Probably grow just about anywhere on your place, where there is not a severe condition such as impeded drainage or poor, droughty soil. If you think they would be a knockout in that one spot, then that's the one.
     

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