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New to Palm talk, so please excuse me if this is a redundant topic. I live on the North side of Houston TX - and have, or had, seven queen palms in the 8-10 ft range that were in the ground in my yard for 3 full years. In Jan 2017, we had a hard freeze, around 19 degrees, that lingered well into the next day. All the queen palms took it very hard, with all losing all their fronds over 1-2 months. I waited a couple of months, and saw nothing positive happening even though we had an extraordinarily warm Feb - in the upper 80's. I'd read about stumping, cutting off a foot or so until you didn't see any rot. I cut three - still about 8' tall - on two I saw cores in the middle of the trunk, while one looked like the cross section of any tree, with no cores obvious. The two with cores had the cores pop up a few inches the first day, and now, three weeks later , have maybe 18\" growth and are starting to spread into fronds. The trunk without visible separate cores is doing nothing. I cut the remaining 4 about 10 days ago - all showed clear cores. That day, two of the fresh cut trunks showed core growth pop up a few inches, and they already 10-15\" tall and look like they are about to start spreading fronds.
I disagree with CroToni. Queens are not zone 8B palms, 100% mid -zone 9A. Repeated 8B-borderline 9A temps will absolutely kill them and is why their survival is limited to just north of Houston up to about the Woodlands. Queens as a whole will not survive long term in Conroe and this has been shown time and time again over the last 20 years. Sure there are one in 100 plants that are more cold tolerant, but in general there will be an almost 100% mortality rate on queens in an warm 8B/cold 9A zone (like round rock or Austin)
BTW - I don't know exactly where in Tomball Maholla is but if he is close to 249 then he is right about the same hardiness zone as the woodlands which is the absolute edge of long term queen survival.
I, too, disagree. When I lived in N. VA (zone 7a) in the 1980s a local nursery started bringing up from FL juvenile queens (then called \"princess palms\") and planting them along the road on its property. They were quite the eyecatchers. But every winter, without fail, the moment lows hit the low 20sF those palms were toast overnight. Come spring the nursery shipped in more victims. Non cost science experiment for me.
For those that do not survive, I strongly suggest you look into replacing them with mule palms which are much hardier and IMO better looking than queens. They cost more but in the long run are well worth the investment if you want the look of tropical palms.
As I mentioned - after it was 19 degrees and all my queen palms dropped their fronds - I read somewhere you can try cutting the trunk just below the rotten part. I cut 7, and 3 bloomed heartily, and 2 others anemically sprouted. The anemic two died when Harvey hit in August - afterwards I found they were rotten at the base of the sprouts.
Given it just hit 19, and 4 of 7 died - I'd agree we are at the precise edge of their viability. I have neighbors with several queens that are 25 ft or so, and are probably around 9 yrs old. They did just fine - so perhaps if you can get them past 5 yrs or so, they will be a tad heartier.
I have seen Queens on Hilton Head Island, S.C. that seem to do fine, the island is classified as zone 8b (minimum low is around 19.5 degrees F), but I doubt it ever gets that cold often, maybe every few years on the coldest night, or the queens that I have seen there are in warm pockets on the island. I am sure they were defoliated many times. I also would not call them 8b palms, a solid or warm 9a sounds like the way to go.
I'm looking for some help on my freeze damaged queen palms. The temps got pretty low in Houston this past winter (17*), and even after wrapping my smaller palms I'm still experiencing problems. All fronds on all 6 of my trees turned brown within a week. I have some green growth on the larger 4 trees, the smaller 2 aren't doing as well.
You've probably done all you can to save your queen palms (drenching growth bud with hydrogen peroxide/copper fungicide). If the fronds are totally dead, then cut them off. If any green at all there may be some amount of photosynthesis. Wrapping a palm without providing supplemental heat (like string lights or heating cables) does virtually nothing to keep the palm from assuming ambient temperature of the air around it, as the palm does not generate any heat to where the wraps would contain it -- like a human would covered with the same amount of wraps.
I kept my trunked coconut palm from being killed when the temperature dropped to 20.8 degrees back in December of 2010, using heating cables and insulative wraps around the trunk and growth bud. The fronds were almost totally killed, but the trunk and growth bud where not damaged. Thus, the palm regrew new fronds and returned to normal. It took almost two years for the coconut to regrow a full crown of fronds.
Queens probably aren't long term palms for you. I suggest you replace the dead queens with mule palms, a cross of a Butia sp and Syagrus sp. Usually it's Butia odorata and Syagrus romanzoffiana (queen). Mules are coldhardier than queens and have a resemblance to a coconut. Many people, myself included, think they are more beautiful than the common queen. Mules cost a bit more than queens at the outset but planting queens as annuals can be a costly venture.
Welcome to the forum! What part of Houston are you in 17F is really cold...queens look much better closer to town/to the south. Even in Katy, queens look much worse west of about SH 99 than where I am closer to the Energy Corridor. There are large queen palms even in the colder parts of town so I'd disagree about them being unreliable...slightly tender in the colder suburbs but they seem to grow out of the damage pretty quickly. Hope your palms survive!
You can cut the burned ones off at the growth point & see if there is any green in the center at that point. If there is, pour some peroxide in there. I have done this with queens in the past & they came right back.
I wouldn't waste my money on Wilt Proof. That will do nothing to protect the palm's growth bud. All it can help is foliage, and at that, I'm not impressed from what I've seen. And 17 degrees No way wilt proof is going to keep foliage from burning on a queen palm, especially a young one. At least that is my opinion.
When it comes to queen palms, the bigger the better in terms of taking cold. A mature queen palm, from my experience, incurs little cold damage from short duration lows down to about 25 degrees. That is, the nighttime low bottoms out at 25 degrees right at sun up. At worst, what you will see is some new fronds that will open up partially damaged, i.e., the leaves will be short and ragged about mid way on the rachis from bacterial bud rot. The bigger and taller the queen palm, damage will be even less or non existent. This is the case for my area as I've never had a 25 degree or less freeze that wasn't radiational in nature (no wind, where the air stratifies and gets warmer with altitude). As such, it may be 25 degrees at 5 feet above ground level, but the temperature rises slightly with every foot above that level, so that a queen palm's fronds 10-15-20 feet above the ground may only be experiencing low temperatures in the high 20s (or more).
On the other hand, juvenile queen palms are more susceptible to lower temperatures, and could be far more cold damaged at 25 degrees. I've lost very small queen palms (maybe 4 feet tall overall) from cold while my mature queen palms weren't hurt at all. When there is little or no wind, invariably the coldest air will be closest to the ground, getting warmer the higher above the ground.
As far as using heating cables and some string lights, they should be used sparingly, otherwise they can overheat the palm. I've had this happen to some of my more cold tender palms by leaving the cables to run for long periods of time. With respect to a queen palm, I wouldn't even activate the heating cables until the temperature dropped down close to 25 degrees. This assumes spirally wrapping the cables on 6-8 inch centers (like a candy cane around the trunk), then making multiple wraps with a flannel sheet or some other insulative material to help contain the heat released from the cable. Once ambient air temperatures rise above 25 degrees, turn the cables off. 1e1e36bf2d