When you live in Florida, palm trees are just the backdrop of life. But climates are changing, winters are, in fact – getting a little colder down here and now we’re even seeing some things that are a little weird… things like frozen palm trees.
The question is – will the cold weather damage your palm trees and what can be done about it? Harsh winters can be tough on these tropical titans, but there are ways to help them bounce back – a few of which we’ll discuss here today. Let’s jump right in!
Not that easy
With some careful prep before and a healthy dose of patience after – palm trees can survive just about anything. But that doesn’t come without its challenges.
The bad news for palm trees – is that they grow leaves from one spot – the heart. When they get hit with cold and damaging weather, the damage trickles all the way down the plant and makes it difficult for future leaves to grow in place. Even palm trees that are more tolerant to the cold will have a hard time with things like hard freezes.
What to do
The best way to get a grasp on how well your palm tree is doing is to call a professional. That being said, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
Trees need time – It’s hard to predict the future for frozen palms. Patience is key because there might not be growth for months – but because there isn’t growth for months doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be growth again. Be patient.
Don’t ignore the green – Any green, actually. Even faint signs of green is still green and it means your tree has a fighting chance.
Let nature do its thing – Palm trees are capable of healing themselves. It’s going to take time and you might want to remove fronds that are brown for aesthetic purposes, but for the most part, stand back and let the tree do what it’s going to do.
You know what they say about prevention
Prevention and preparation is always the best way to deal with these things, so here are some things you can do to stay out ahead.
If you’re expecting a freeze and the size of the tree is manageable – put a protective sheet or blanket over your palm before the freeze. For taller trees – arborists can do a wrap to make sure the heart is being protected. Once the freeze has come and gone, then you can remove the wrap.
Also be sure to water your palm deeply before a freeze and seal in the moisture with mulch. This will ensure it’s got adequeate water and insulation throughout the freeze. And last but not least, don’t be afraid to keep your trees on a regular fertilization schedule. These nutrients can help support cold tolerance and improve the overall strength of your tree.