Cold vs. Palms

How are you coping with this winter weather? A better question may be; how are your palm trees? Cold temperatures and tropical plants go together about as well as peanut butter and ketchup. Before you grab a sweater and walk outside to check on your priceless palms, please take a couple of minutes to read this over and learn the frigid facts on cold damage. 

Check for cold damage
Hard freezes aren’t your only concern. Yes, they are the worst case scenario; temperatures below 32 degrees are palm killers, but trees can show signs of chill damage when the nighttime temperature hovers around 50 degrees, which is quite common. The first thing to look for is dead and discolored leaves. Chilling injuries may also lead to more significant issues if the temperatures drop close to freezing.

If you do see dead fronds, don’t do what may come naturally to you. Fight your instinct to cut it. We know it’s difficult, big yellow leaves aren’t pretty but trust us they serve a purpose in the winter. The threat of cold weather is still around. The dead leaves will help protect the rest of the tree. So, for your palms sake, put the saw away.

Leaves aren’t the only damage to watch. How’s the trunk? Soft, reddish areas are bad news. Cold-damaged trunks are prime targets for fungus and other bacteria that can lead to trunk rot; a horrible condition that could cause the beautiful canopy of the tree to collapse.

Next, inspect the spear leaf. That’s the long skinny one that grows out of the top of the tree. It should be green and healthy, if it’s easy to pull out and has a foul odor, old man winter got to it. The spear leaf is the life of the palm; freezes don’t only hurt the leaf, like for the trunk it exposes the tree to bacteria concerns. The best game plan to save the spear leaf is cooper fungicide, lots of copper fungicide.

Contact the palm pros
Don’t worry; it’s Florida, the cold won’t last forever. Your palm tree will be pretty again in no time. Remember, if you need a pro to check out your palms or want some help saving one or a bunch of them, give us a call, and one word of advice, if your trees are showing signs of cold damage, please don’t wait too long.
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