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.
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!