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Winter Protection Methods (Pics)

Message from Jim Wilmington DE 7a

For me, different palms get different protection schemes. Factoring into the decision are such variables as species, size, and siting. The tougher the species, the less I feel I have to help them out. Nevertheless, this year, I gave EVERYTHING more (or better quality) protection than I have for several years. This necessitated by the carnage of the last two winters. I can't have my palms defoliate so massively three years in a row.

Here we go.


Starting off with the palm I did the least for, Sabal Minor volunteer. This guy came up three or 4 years ago, flush against the foundation (north-facing) of my house. The siting has been a godsend for it. It made it through the last two winters as though it were in South Carolina in an average winter. Still, I protect it. All it gets is rubber mulch mounded around it.

Proceeding onto Rhapidophyllum...


This south-facing, under an awning Needle Palm gets mulch and Ace bandage wrapped fronds (snow load/wind protection). Nothing more.


This same-age, but much larger north-facing Needle gets the same treatment. The northerly siting has worked out well in terms of color retention as it goes into every spring a rich forest green rather than bronzy-yellow-green like the south-facing Needle which gets lots of winter sun.

Onto Sabal Minor...


My personal favorite palm that I'm growing, Sabal Minor 'Hatteras'. Here it is after I've buried about a quarter of it in leaf rakings (mostly Maple).


Same palm, now ready for winter. The leaf rakings now have a top dressing of rubber mulch (to hold the leaves down during wind events). The fronds are now tightly bound and wrapped in burlap. The burlap to offer wind/sun burn protection.


This McCurtain Minor is only getting leaf rakings. Though you can't tell it from this view, the palm is situated tight between two other plants rendering it difficult to access fully. The best I could practically do for it is throw Maple leaves on it and wish it luck. It actually did a little better than the Hatteras last winter, and both were then protected only with leaves and a straight wall windbreak. No burlap, no frond binding.

Everybody's favorite species (except mine), Trachycarpus!


First, the fronds are wrapped together with Ace bandages, then a bottomless trashcan is placed over the palm and half filled with Maple leaves.


A closer look at the leaf fill.


A second bottomless trashcan is stacked on the first and Gorilla Taped to each other forming one big cylinder. A removable plexiglas top is added for when it's cold/rainy/snowy.


A closer look at the lid. Also note ventilation holes drilled into the sides of the trashcan. Ventilation is very important.


Inside the 2-story trashcan setup, the fronds get a loose burlap wrap to keep them from touching the sides of the trashcans. Instant death during single digits.

Sabal Palmetto...


My Palmetto gets essentially the very same treatment as the Trachy.


Two-story trashcans.


The maple leaf fill. This one has a rubber mulch top dressing.

I'm available for questions.

Hope you enjoyed!




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