Phoenix roebelenii Pygmy Date Palm Winter protection


“Pygmy Date

As stated before Phoenix roebelenii are hardy to around 24°F (-5°C) and even lower if temperatures are brief and day temperatures warm up above the freezing mark. But what if temperatures are forecasted to be in the lower 20s (-7°C) and only warming up to say only 31 to 33°F (-1to 1°C) during the day, or temperatures are forecasted to stay below freezing for a prolonged amount of time? This might be the time to protect! Since pygmy palms are small, this is quite easy to do.First a word of CAUTION! Phoenix roebelenii is armed with sharp, spiny, needles on the petioles towards the inside and close to the leaf base . Needless to say they can hurt and be quit painful if one gets punctured by these lethal armaments. So eye, head as well as body protection is a must! A leather coat, gloves and some sort of head protection is advised, as well as goggles to protect the eyes, as its useless trying to enjoy something you can’t see, let a lone being the cause of your blindness!

Always Use Caution!

Supplies you will need:

I find that bungee cords work the best, Two (2), at least 25-30 inches (63cm-75cm) bungee cords well do just fine. Also some sort of fleece or heavy duty insulating protective covering, a wool blanket works very well, try and find an old wool army blanket, check out a GI surplus store in your area. Next, you want a plastic or water proof tarp and finely you’ll need a supply of mulch,straw, hay, pine needles or leaves. It is also advised to get a helper when doing this, it makes it much easer and faster to do.

The procedure:

Loop bungee cord around trunk and attach both ends to form a complete loop and slide upwards bring all the leaves together into a bundle. This may require some assistance from your helper, also note that two bungee cords maybe required. Cover or wrap the bundled leaves including the trunk with a wool blanket and cover palm completely with a water proof cover making sure that this tarp extends all the way to the ground. Mulch the root area with about six (6+) or more inches of mulch (15cm+) the more the better, and water well before freeze. Remember frost is more damaging than the cold unless temperatures are below freezing (26°F -3°C) for an extended period of time. Also keep the soil around the root system from freezing.

When to remove protection:

If temperature rebound to above freezing and the weather has modified to a mild state, immediately remove all protection. If temperature are to remain below freezing it is best to leave protection on until temperatures moderate.
Note: do not remove the mulch. Always Use Caution when working around any Phoenix species!