My Palm Trees are Dying! Part II

Well, for the second year in a row, we’ve had very hard freezes. Last year (2010) we saw temperatures down to around 15 degrees and about 50% of the Mexican Fan Palms were taken out by the freeze. This year (2011) temperatures reached down to around 8 degrees and I’m afraid that any Fan Palms left from last year will not make it this year. The Fan Palms will survive short freezing periods above 15 degrees.

This is a picture of our neighbor’s tree that looked like this after last year’s freeze also.  So we’ll see if it survives. 

There is nothing to be done if the heart of the Palm froze.  That is where the new growth occurs.  The only treatment recommended is a fungicide sprayed into the center to minimize further fungal damage to already damaged tissues, but I am not convinced that it is worth the cost.  If you see  a little green start to show this spring, then your tree will probably make it. 

And remember, North Texas does not have any native palms for one reason. It gets too cold here occasionally! If you must plant palms, plant windmill palms as they can survive hard freezes down to about 5 degrees. However, even the windmill palms have been knocked back some from this winter’s freeze.

Scott Geer

Scott Geer

Scott Geer has a master's degree in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University and is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist.® He is also a graduate of the American Society of Consulting Arborists Academy.