2015 had its ups and downs for me. Some palms continued with excellent growth and one in particular was on the verge of death.
I've changed to this type of protection now since the labor required is much less.
There are 8' panels and 4' panels and everything is interchangeable. Gone are the days of custom protection. It was too confusing to keep things organized and also protection became outdated very quickly. It's not visible in these pictures, but I use a 4' "window" panel facing south to give the crowns some light. These 8' and 4' panels will be used over and over again for several years. 12' structures worked again for this last winter, but this is definitely the end. I'll be up to 16' structures in the fall for at least the 2 tallest Washies. After that, who knows? Necessity is the mother of invention!
Here's a closeup of one of my newest babies, a mule palm. At the time of this picture (April) it was in the ground almost a year, so as expected it didn't grow very much. It's tiny, but I'm excited about the look of this palm. In the back is another new Washy.
My newly purchased Windmill and the Canary Island Date Palm (courtesy of our very own Jim in Wilmington). Both did very well in their protection. The fence is 6', so the CIDP is approximately 8', maybe 9.
Here's a wide view of my Washy forest. On first glimpse everything looks like it did just fine. But there is a problem. Pay close attention to the tall robusta in the raised bed. This is mid April.
This is May. Notice the outer fronds turning brown.
This is half-way through the summer and not a single new leaf has opened. Existing leaves were browning out one at a time. The spear didn't even move. I thought it was dead. There were tons of ants in that raised bed, and the trunk felt extremely unstable, like you could just push it over. Here's another angle to show how well the other palms were doing by mid summer:
My theory is that the extended cold of the winter of 14/15 caused that raised bed to freeze solid, even though the tree above was kept above freezing. I believe the freeze-damaged roots subsequently rotted which halted growth and almost killed it. In August the spear finally started to move and I was breathing a sigh of relief.
Here are the palms in October, all trimmed up for winter protection. This is what my son calls a photo bomb.
It was pretty sad that I didn't have to trim a single live leaf from the raised bed Washy, only dead ones. If you remember (since I post at *least*
once a year), 2014 growth had similar results. I believe I've solved the mystery. If you can potentially have z6 or even extended z7 winters, don't plant a palm in a raised bed! I consider myself very lucky it's still alive. Years ago I tried a Dypsis in the ground and even though the trunk and leaves were kept well above freezing, the palm died after uncovering in the spring. I also suspect frozen roots.
And finally here's your baby, Jim. Notice the difference in growth between the Windmill and your CIDP. It's a monster!
Here's a shot from this morning. We had about 5" overnight.
With our weather so far this winter, I haven't been concerned at all about the raised bed freezing again. But now we have a serious cold and windy forecast for the weekend. I'm nervous. I'm not sure what to do about it. A raised bed is not an easy thing to protect.
Thanks for looking and good luck to everyone with the upcoming weekend.