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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Columbia palm trees revisited

      Last week I wrote a blog on my desire to plant palm trees in my yard.  Just to bring a little of a tropical beach to my everyday Columbia scenery.  I had always assumed that no palm tree could survive our winters and that I would have to settle for trying to plant a banana tree.  But I may have been wrong after looking around the internet for hardy palm trees.

   The Mediterranean Palm Tree can survive in temperatures in the 5-15 degree range.   Palms like this can be winterized by adding dirt and mulch around the base in the winter to keep the ground around the base from freezing.  Here is a description of this palm:
Mediterranean Fan palm trees' leaves are arranged in a symmetrical crown that can reach 8 to 10 feet wide. Mediterranean Fan palm trees have:
Triangular, fan shaped leaves
Leaves ranging in color from blue-green to gray-green to grey-yellow.
Multiple trunks surrounding the main trunk in more mature plants

     The Windmill Palm shown above also grows in temperatures that go as low as 5-15 degrees.  A description of this palm follows:
Windmill Palm Trees (Trachycarpus fortunei) are one of the most cold hardy Palms available. The Windmill Palm Tree has:
Leaves that are arranged into symmetrical crown that is about 8 to feet wide.
Trunks that are usually covered with a loose mat of coarse gray or brown fiber and can grow to heights of 20 to 40 feet.

    We maybe pushing the limits of survivability of these palms in our area.  This past winter had some nights near zero degrees.  However we typically don't go below 10 degrees in winter.  The most hardy palm is shown below.

   This is a Needle Palm and can survive in temperatures down to minus 10 degrees.  While this doesn't have the size or grandeur of the other palms it is of a size (6 to 10 ft) and hardiness that should work for many of our yards.  Here is some info on growing areas
Large, well-established specimens are growing in Washington DC at the United States National Arboretum since the 1960s and in the coastal NYC area at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. It is becoming one of the most popular landscaping palms in the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland and Virginia 


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