Thursday, January 9, 2014

State of the Bismarckias

With freezes pushing into south Texas as early as November and Monday's well-publicized deep freeze I know some of you are wondering about the Bismarck Palms in the front yard.  There is other news to report on the state of the garden but I'm pretty sure you'll want me to just cut to the chase here.



The low overnight Monday to Tuesday was 20.8 degrees F/-6.2C .  The worst part is the cold stuck around to keep the temps below freezing well into early afternoon.  With the previous days being cold and cloudy I'm sure the ground did not warm up during the day either so we wrapped the trunks of the Bismarckia nobilis with lights and puddled extra lights around on the ground to keep the shallow roots warm.  There wasn't any way to cover a palm in the winds which blew in ahead of the latest front.

I'd say the palms look pretty good overall considering how cold it was.  Some of the older outside fronds display tip burns from the weeks of cold weather we have been experiencing.  It's taken on a distinctly violet hue with the cold.


The palm on the north side of the yard which was antlered by the deer a while back is still recovering and looks to quickly lose a few more fronds.



Some of this damage was due to deer but this one doesn't look as good as the other.


It might take a few weeks to know if there was damage to the roots on either plant.

When I decided to push the edge with these plants I knew there would be weeks like this and this isn't even the coldest weather we've experienced in the last few years.  We'll see whether the root warming approach can keep these going here over the long term.

14 comments:

  1. You read my mind as I was thinking of your Bismarkias when I heard about your weather. They're so beautiful and I hope they are fine! That agave is also gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you Peter! I knew if you saw this you would know who it was meant for. Still a couple more to check in yet....

      The agave is fine down to 15F although it easily sailed through 14.5 a couple years ago when it was very new.

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  2. We're all getting cramps from crossed fingers this winter, aren't we?

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    1. I know, it's been a cold one just about everywhere this year.

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  3. Oh Shirley, I know that feeling. If only they could be kept warm by our love for them! (That sounds horribly dorky but I think you know what I mean).

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    1. I do know what you mean Loree. I sent warmth from inside the house though. I love plants but not enough to sit out and hug them on the coldest night in three years!

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  4. I understand you, Shirley. We have frost every winter (more than -6C) and I'm worrying about my plants as well. But I hope your are well and this cold weather will be over soon.
    Have a nice weekend!

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    1. It is a bit different when you get this cold every year. This only happens a few times in a decade and it might not happen at all so it's hard to prepare.

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  5. Thanks for the update Shirley. We're curious how you'll get on with these palms and how they will fare with the colder than usual temperatures you're experiencing there at the moment. They're such gorgeous palms and well worth persevering with, hopefully you'll have long term success with them.

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    1. I gave them a good drink today and other than a bit of burned tips they seem okay. I noticed many of the cold hardy palms in my area have the same tip burn so maybe we'll get away with it this time.

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  6. I have my fingers crossed for you guys :) They are such gorgeous palms. Everything over here is okay, except a couple things I did not even think to cover - mad at myself! I lost perennials right to the ground but that was to be expected.

    think we have another freeze like that in store?

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    1. I think I have a few unexpected losses but we'll see in the spring. Our coldest week is usually early February so there might be a bit of cold still ahead and then we round the corner to spring.

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  7. I hope they survive! I had heavy sleeping bags on some of my shrubs to help them make it through our near zero temps. We've gone from almost zero to 50 in one week!

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  8. We Texans are definitely zone pushers, and I've been eyeing a few freeze-dried plants in my garden too. Ah well, hopefully they'll recover, and if not, we just get to plant something else, right? It looks like your palms will make it through, thank goodness.

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