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The Palm Tree has long been exalted as a sign of the warm sand and waters of Central America; however, Hardy Palms also exist. Visitors to Ireland, Canada, and the northern United States might be surprised to find Palms adorning lawns here, yet this is the case for Cold Hardy Palm Trees. Several species of Cold Hardy Palm can grow throughout most of the United States, some species grow in all 48 contiguous states if potted and taken indoors during the coldest winter months. The Windmill Palm, Pindo Palm, Sago Palm, and Needle Palm can all be grown easily throughout most of the U.S. If tropical ambience in the shape of an easy-to-care-for palm tree is the desire, these Cold Hardy Palm Trees are sure to meet the mark.
Any Palm Tree planting endeavor requires proper research. Although these species are hardier than many, they still require protection from the coldest and wettest winds. It is best to plant Cold Hardy Palm Trees where they will both receive full sun throughout the day and be protected from cold wind and rain.
Read the quick facts about Cold Hardy Palm Trees below before examining the following detailed sections to determine if the Hardy Palm is best-suited to the planting location.
Sun: Plant in full sun, providing as many daylight sun hours as possible.
Water: Water once every 1 or 2 weeks in the summer. Do not water in winter. As a general rule, you should water as often as the lawn needs watering.
Soil: Well-draining soil.
When to Plant: Plant in mid spring.
Buying Cold Hardy Palm Trees requires adequate forethought and planning, as with any planting adventure. Once these palms are determined to be the best fit to the property, it is important to buy Cold Hardy Palm Trees that have received the tender love and care young saplings require in order to produce good growth with proper planting and care later on it life. The Tree Center offers this care, so buy a Cold Hardy Palm Tree from The Tree Center in preparation for spring planting.
The best first step forward involves proper research. Although Cold Hardy Palm Trees are hardier than their tropical cousins, not all Cold Hardy Palm Trees survive well in all types of soil and in all USDA Hardiness Zones. Read more about the individual Cold Hardy Palm Trees below. Once the right species has been determined, order the sapling from The Tree Center.
When the sapling arrives, inspect the root ball. This is the collection of roots at the base of the Cold Hardy Palm Tree. The root ball will determine the size of the hole needed.
Cold Hardy Palm Trees can be planted either in the garden or in a container, and either might be beneficial depending on the individual species and planting location. Consider using a container if it will increase growth output to move the palm indoors in the winter.
The container, or the hole in the garden, should be dug to be twice as wide as the palm’s root ball. The hole should be slightly less deep than the root ball, allowing the crown of the root ball to protrude slightly. The palm will settle over time.
Hold the Cold Hardy Palm Tree vertically in the hole, backfilling with soil and water. Mulch and water immediately.
The soil which surrounds the Cold Hardy Palm Tree is integral to its later success. This is because the soil is responsible for carrying water, air, and valuable nutrients to the palm’s root system, which then transfers these resources to the plant itself. The characteristics of the soil either increase or decrease the movement of these resources, and the Cold Hardy Palm Tree prefers something in the middle.
Soil is categorized into three main categories: clay, silt, and sand. Clay and silt are composed of small particles. These slow down the movement of air and water, which is not good for the palm tree. Sand, on the other hand, often moves air and water too quickly. As long as the soil drains well, Cold Hardy Palm Trees can grow in each of these soils; however, typically these palms prefer loam, which is a combination of the three soil types.
Simply put, Cold Hardy Palm Trees like soil that drains water moderately quickly. Checking the ability of the soil to drain well is easy. Dig a hole the depth required just before it rains. After the rain has passed, return to the hole. If the hole is empty, the soil drains well. If the hole is filled with water, the soil drains poorly. Tilling in mulch or compost can help to increase drainage.
Despite their reputation as hot weather plants, Cold Hardy Palm Trees still require moderate water access. Be sure to water the palms once every one or two weeks to a depth of 10 inches. Only do this in spring and summer. In fall and winter, do not water the palm unless the soil is completely dry and frozen. Even then, be sure to avoid wetting the foliage. Wet leaves will increase cold weather damage.
Using mulch and fertilizer can help ensure successful rooting, resource absorption, and growth in Cold Hardy Palm Trees. Mulch is beneficial, as it can control water dispersion and compensate for poor draining soils. Natural mulch is also helpful as it decomposes, adding nutrient-rich matter to the soil. Consider using wood chip or bark-based mulches. Add a three inch layer of mulch in a three foot radius around the base of the palm, avoiding contact between the mulch and the palm’s trunk.
Cold Hardy Palm Trees frequently suffer from iron deficiency and lack proper nutrients. This is why fertilizers are helpful. Use a fertilizer uniquely adapted for palm trees, applying once in the spring according to the product’s directions. If the leaves are yellow, consider applying an iron treatment with the fertilizer.
The palm family, Arecaceae, includes an estimated 2600 species in 202 genera. Cold Hardy Palms refer to those species within the family that are able to withstand brief cold temperatures and infrequent, mild snowfall. Cold Hardy Palms are grown throughout the United States. These palms are hardy insofar as brief cold temperatures are concerned. A few wintry days with temperatures between 0°F and 10°F can be managed by the Hardy Palm. Some gardeners have found that transplanting the palm indoors during the winter can work, and others have successfully used mini-greenhouses and wraps for the palms.
There are several different genera within the family of palm that include Hardy Palms. The Tree Center cultivates the most popular Cold Hardy Palm Trees, which fall into a variety of unique genera. The Windmill Palm, Pindo Palm, Sago Palm, and Needle Palm are all Cold Hardy Palms that can be grown throughout most of the United States. Read more about each below.
Considered one of the best cold hardy palm trees, the Windmill Palm Tree is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 11. Reaching between 25 and 30 feet in height, the Windmill Palm displays large fan-shaped palm leaves contrasted with a brown, crusted bark. This species of palm is slow-growing, and though it can reach 40 feet in height, it is more commonly between 10 and 20 feet tall. The Windmill Palm does best in well-draining soil, though it can be potted in a container.
The stout Pindo Palm is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 11. Nicknamed “the Jelly Palm”, the Pindo Palm gives rise to Pindo dates, which are frequently enjoyed as jams or jellies. Palmate leaves extend outward on the Pindo Palm, which generally reaches heights between 15 and 25 feet. The bark displays a crisscross pattern with fractured pieces pointed up.
The Sago Palm Tree is frequently planted for its smaller size and easy maintenance. Hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 11 (indoors) and 8 through 11 (patio), Sago Palms are frequently potted container plants. With leaves reminiscent of the fern, the Sago Palm has changed little in its 2 million year lifespan. The Sago Palm Tree typically reaches heights between 8 and 15 feet tall, and it prefers full sun, infrequent watering, and well-drained soil.
Hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 11 (indoors) and 8 through 11 (patio), the Needle Palm Tree displays dark green fronds in a large shrub-like arrangement. Reaching between 8 and 12 feet tall, the Needle Palm Tree is easy to care for, and it is frequently planted in containers or as an accent garden plant.
Many landscapers and gardeners choose Cold Hardy Palm Trees to capture a specific landscape ambience. Palms have a cultural familiarity, and homeowners generally enjoy them planted along patios, decks, and pools. Cold Hardy Palms are relatively easy to care for, and they require less water and pruning than many other accent trees. Not only are Cold Hardy Palms able to withstand brief cold temperatures, they are also drought resistant.
Although Cold Hardy Palm Trees indicate in their name an ability to withstand everything, this can sometimes be their downfall. Cold Hardy Palms can only manage brief cold temperatures, lingering for only two or three days. Extended cold spells can permanently damage their leaves.
These hardy palms also frequently lack enough iron, and iron supplements may be needed if the soil is lacking. Copper-based fungicides can also be applied in fall and spring to the leaves, stem, and palm crown. Gardeners intend on planting a palm in cooler climates can also consider a palm cage, which entails placing a cage-like structure around the palm and then stuffing it with straw and leaves. This will protect the palm during cold spells.