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By Bibbob

Devon, United Kingdom

We have a Palm tree about 10 years old, which was badly affected by last years cold weather. With tender care it recovered, but we are looking to protecting it this year.
We surround the pot with bubble wrap and canvas, but would a "giant fleece cosie" (you can purchase) be a good, or bad idea for the leaves?



If you mean a Cordyline australis (google if you're not sure) winter protection usually consists of pulling the leaves upright and tying them in that position, then wrapping the whole thing in fleece. As yours is in a pot, it would be sensible to move the pot close to the house wall, preferably in a south facing position, which means it will be slightly warmer anyway.
The problem with tying and fleecing in this way is that it should not be left like that throughout the whole winter - during milder spells, the fleece should be removed and dried out and the plant untied to allow some air - and then you have to replace it all again as soon as it gets colder. This procedure may not be possible if we have, say, 2 months of solid snow and ice - but so far, no sign of that. As the weather is currently unusually mild, I wouldn't be tying and fleecing yet - wait for the weather to get really cold and do it then, just as it starts.

21 Nov, 2011


So sorry Bamboo for not giving the proper plant name for the Palm Tree. It is not a Cordyline australis, but a Chusan Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei).
I did appreciate your detailed response, thank you and my apologies for the failure to give detail!

22 Nov, 2011


Surprising - that one is the hardiest in the UK and doesn't usually have problems in harsh winters, specially not where you are. Here in London, the 3 which are in gardens I look after were entirely unaffected by last winter, unlike the cordylines. You're absolutely certain its Trachycarpus, I suppose, and not Phoenix canariensis or Chamaerops (European fan palm)?

22 Nov, 2011


We can only go on the plant label we have for this Palm and confirm it is as stated. Other names on the label are Chusan Palm, Windmill Palm, but there is a further small print under Trachycarpus fortunei
(syn. Chamaerops excelsa).
which ties in with your last resonse.
We do live in a very rural area and temperatures remained about -3 to -8 degrees, for about 10days in January this year.
I do appreciate your interest thank you.

23 Nov, 2011


I was thinking of Chaemerops humilis - Chaemerops excelsa is an age old name which was once applied to Trachycarpus, and still crops up sometimes, but it is rather confusing - C. humilis is nowhere near as hardy, which is why I was wondering if that's what you'd got.
I'm left wondering why your Trachycarpus was so affected - the temperatures you mention, and the brief period you experienced them for, should not have caused the plant much problem - unless its planted in an exposed position, perhaps north or east facing, or in a frost pocket - or the plant had/has another health issue.

23 Nov, 2011


Thank you so much for your patience and interest in dealing with my enquiry. The plant has returned during the summer to a good looking specimen, so I think it is healthy enough.
With the advice you have given I will keep a close watch on it.
Thank you again for your response.

24 Nov, 2011


Trachycarpus fortuneii do tend to look a bit "tatty" at the end of winter, but as bamboo says , are as tough as old boots, I have 1 and temperatures here got down below minus 22 c , it even flowered earlier than usual.
I use no frost protection measures at all on mine.

24 Nov, 2011

How do I say thanks?

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