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Cold Hardy Palm Trees For Landscape Design And Planting In The United States
Scattered reports of palm trees growing in Northern areas of the United States and Canada have been known for many years. Semi-truck loads of windmill palm trees have been unloaded and successfully grown in Canada and the Northeast beginning in the year 2000. These windmill palm trees, Trachycarpus fortunei, provide many resorts and homeowners with a tropical look for their pools or patios. Needle palms, although very rare and available only in short supply, tolerate below zero temperatures of the north. Dwarf palmetto palm trees, Sabal minor, and Dwarf saw palmetto palm trees, Serenoa repens, demonstrate cold hardy qualities and are especially desirable as hedges, borders, and as a privacy block.
Windmill Palm Trees - Trachycarpus fortunei
The most cold hardy palm tree is the windmill palm tree, Trachycarpus fortunei, a palm tree that is found growing as far north as Canada. The cold hardy quality is especially historically notable of the windmill palm trees, where the trees are lined around Lake Lucerne, Switzerland leading up to the city walls. Extensive plantings of windmill palm trees, Trachycarpus fortunei have been known for years in southern resort areas such as the Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia, where the entrance to the hotel greets guests with thin, graceful trunks of windmill palms. Tall windmill palm trees also can be seen at the Retreat Plantation Golf Course on St. Simons Island, Georgia at the club house entrance. TyTy Nursery began selling windmill palm trees a decade ago as small trees and recently have successfully transported large windmill palm trees by semi-trucks for planting in such northern cold states as Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and many others. These large windmill palm trees appear to have survived temperatures of below zero and heavy snow and ice storms. It is now possible for Northern states to plant with a tropical garden look around their pool or patio. Windmill palm trees have a great future in the United States as an outstanding tree with a tropical exotic appearance, and a palm tree that survives severe cold temperatures and snows of the north.
Needle Palm Trees – Rhapidophyllum hystrix
Many palm trees have been tested for their quality of cold hardy survival, and the needle palm, Rhapidophyllum histrix, rates high on the list. The needle palm tree was tested years ago at the Brooklyn, New York, Botanical Gardens, and the palm was found to grow well and remain green after snow and ice storms fell during the winter. One quality that the needle palm tree features is slow growth that produces waxy leaf coverings that protect the growing tissue from fast freezing temperatures. The needle palm tree, Rhapidophyllum histrix, produces long needle projections at the base of each palm leaf. This needle is stiff and ominous to man and beast and is responsible for the descriptive name: needle palm tree. The needle palm tree tends to grow in clumps, producing small offset needle palm trees at the base, however, seeds are commonly produced which are scattered around the base of the needle palm tree. The seed of the needle palm tree sprout slowly to grow into small plants. Large needle palm trees can grow for hundreds of years in age, but are rarely found as a native palm tree in forests, because collectors have dug them for landscapes. Even though some needle palm trees have been documented to be 15 feet tall, the trees are rare and expensive in large mature sizes.
Dwarf palmetto palm tree – Sabal minor
In the south, the dwarf palmetto palm tree is commonly found growing as small shrubs and colonies along sandy coastal areas and in poor swampy soils inland. The dwarf palmetto palm, Sabal minor, competes aggressively with other shrubs and trees in native American forests and is a valuable landscape shrub in many exclusive resort areas, because once established, it is evergreen and requires virtually no maintenance in landscapes. Many gardeners have unfortunately tried to dig dwarf palmetto palm trees to transplant and grow in their yards, but because of the extensive root system that is removed, most transplanted dwarf palmetto palm trees wither and die shortly after planting. Good results of planting dwarf palmetto palm trees can be experienced, if the gardener decides to buy nursery container trees. Striking specimens of dwarf palmetto palm trees can be seen when clumps of small trees are removed from the mother plant, that often contains a curved shapely trunk of 4-5 feet topped by beautiful green leaves.
Dwarf Saw Palmetto Palm Tree - Serenoa repens
High demand from the landscaping nursery industry has stressed the supply and availability of the Saw Palmetto Palm tree, “Serenoa repens”. This palm tree grows as a silver form and a green form. It illuminates the dark backgrounds under dense shade. This dwarf palm tree forms clumps and often is used as border hedges and screens. Saw Palmetto palm trees are not fast growing but are evergreen and cold hardy in many Northern areas of the United States, where snow and ice damage most green plants. Cold hardy palm trees are a valuable landscape tree in cold areas where a tropical look, around pools and patios are useful. Recent tree plantings of the Dwarf Saw Palmetto palm trees at golf courses have stressed the supply of these plants. As a native plant discovered by William and John Bartram in 1773, on St. Simon’s Island, GA near Fort Frederica, the Dwarf Saw Palmetto palm tree was discovered growing and was identified by Bartram as “spinosis “ (Dwarf Saw Palmetto). He also found “Corpha palma”, or Great Cabbage Palm, “Corpha pumila”, “Corpha repens” and “Corpha obliqua”.
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