Windmill palm trees are one of the few palm trees that can survive the cold, northern winters. The following article will cover information on how to plant a windmill palm tree and also help you note down some important aspects related to its care.
Those who live in a cold climate region, tend to strike off palm trees from the list of their garden plants. The obvious reason being that these tropical trees cannot survive a temperature below 59° F (15° C). Before, you actually give up the thought of giving your garden a tropical, evergreen look, just wait. You can try planting needle palms, dwarf palmetto palms and yes, the windmill palm trees in your garden. These are just a few of the tropical palm trees that can actually survive the cold winter months. This Gardenerdy article will discuss in detail about the cold, hardy windmill palm tree.
An Overview on Windmill Palm Tree
The windmill palm tree (Trachycarpus fortunei) has a single trunk that stands erect. It is covered with dense, hairlike fibers. The shape of the leaves of the windmill palm tree is different from other palm trees. The fronds are fan shaped and about 3 feet wide. These fronds extend to about 1.5 feet in length. These fronds have a rough edged petiole. These palm trees are very slow growing and can reach a height of about 40 feet. These trees are grown as a framing tree, accent, patio, specimen or as an urn subject tree. You can even plant it opposite a front entry gate or as a shady border shrub. The flowers of this plant are not showy, but are yellow, white/gray or cream in color. The fruits are blue in color and fleshy. They are round like berries, but do not attract any kind of wildlife.
Why are Windmill Palm Trees Suitable for Winter?
Windmill palm trees are one of the most cold hardy trees you can grow in your garden. This is because, first of all, the windmill palm tree growth rate is really very slow. They grow to a height of about a foot every year. This slow growth rate is one of the major contributing factors for windmill palm. Next, the fibers that cover the trunk also contribute to their cold hardiness. The fibers are brown-gray in color and cover the trunk like a blanket. Thus, the dark color helps attract more heat and warmth of the available sunlight. This is why, these trees grow well in winter.
US Zones Recommended for Windmill Palm Trees
The following table covers information related to the recommended zones for growing a windmill palm:
|Zones||Temperature (° C)|
|Zone 6||-5° to 5°|
|Zone 7||5° to 10°|
|Zone 8||10° to 20°|
|Zone 9||20° to 30°|
|Zone 10||30° to 40°|
|Zone 11||40° to 50°|
How to Grow a Windmill Palm Tree?
A windmill palm tree requires a shaded or partially shaded region to grow. It is however tolerant to a full sun as well. Plant a windmill palm tree in a well-drained soil that can retain moisture. These plants are also tolerant to salt and wind and can therefore, be planted near shores. Make sure you water the windmill palm regularly as drought-like conditions actually lower its already slow growth rate. Thus, during the first 3 months of planting the windmill palm tree, water it everyday. From then on, you can water the plant once a week for the first year of its life in your garden.
In order to plant a windmill palm tree, you need to first dig a hole that is wide enough to accommodate the tree roots. It should be deep enough to cover all the roots. Wide and deep holes make it very easy for the tree to spread the roots and grow well. Now, place the tree in the hole and spread the roots properly. Fill the hole with soil, make sure you cover just the roots. Pat the soil down and then add water to help the soil settle down. Add another layer of soil, pat it down and water. Continue this process, till the hole is covered to the ground level. Add a bit of palm specific fertilizer to the plant and add it every spring. Mulching is quite minimally required as you only need to remove the dead leaves and stems. Do not nail the trunk or do anything that will injure the trunk. This is because the tree does not have the ability to heal itself. Open wounds and injuries will send an invitation for infections and diseases to set in.
You can even propagate windmill palm tree seeds. Sow the seeds in spring or fall at about 75° F. The seeds take about 8 to 12 weeks to germinate. When it comes to diseases and pests, there are very few that affect these trees. Palm aphids and scales are the pests that lead to problems. Root rot and yellowing disease as well as leaf spots tend to be troublesome for these trees. You need to take care of the tree during winter. It can survive cold temperatures, but make sure you take a burlap bag and cover the truck with it properly. This will serve as a blanket and avoid winter damage. Mulch about 2 to 4 inches of straw or hay to cover the rooted areas. When the temperature is back to being warm and balmy, remove the burlap wrap and mulch.
Windmill palm trees are very good trees for cold winters. As you can see, how to plant a windmill palm tree has an answer that is quite easy. Visit a local nursery or order online today for a windmill palm tree for your garden. Enjoy the warm tropical looks on a cold, northern winter day with a windmill palm growing outside your window.