Winterize Palm Trees: Protect From Frost & Keep’em Alive!

How to protect palm trees

The palm tree is a household favorite for its impeccable aesthetic appeal, low-maintenance, and self-cleaning nature. Ideally, palm trees grow best in the tropical and sub-tropical regions, where they get bright and warm sun.


Hence, palm tree owners native to warmer climates should see this as a blessing. But there are some varieties of palms that can be seen in places that receive snow cold. If it is a cold-hardy palm, it can survive the freezing weather, but a tropical palm will suffer drastically.


Moreover, global warming has left us with unpredictability around the temperature. Hence, freezing temperatures are pretty regular. But, for a palm tree, freezing temperatures are not a milieu.


So, how to protect palm trees in winter? What are some fool-proof ways to winterize palm trees? Through this guide, we will discuss helpful tips on how to protect palm trees from cold weather.


Jump To

  1. Foliage wraps
    1. Burlap
    2. Straw
    3. Drip cloth
    4. Tulle
  2. Frost Protection Sprays
  3. Mulching
  4. Watering
  5. Temporary Greenhouse
  6. Heating Cables For Palm Trees
  7. Fertilization
  8. Copper Spray
  9. Move The Potted Plants Inside If Possible.
  10. Some Bonus Ways
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    The Ideal Temperature For Palm – How Cold Is Too Cold?

    Before we discuss the palm trees winter care, we need first to understand the bearable temperature levels for a palm tree. Most palm species are sensitive to cold. However, some varieties can briefly withstand temperatures below ten to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit.


    On the contrary, most palm trees cannot handle a temperature drop below forty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Some palm varieties for cold weather are listed here though.


    Several factors determine the cold tolerance of the palm. The kind of care a palm plant is exposed to during the summer months and the growing season has a significant role.


    In addition, how old the palm tree is and its years of establishment, too, will determine how cold is too cold for the palm. Cold weather can stunt the palm plant’s growth rate. It can also hamper the root activity.


    Hence, it is quintessential to winterize palm trees. So, how to keep a palm tree alive in winter?


    How To Care For Palm Trees In Winter and Prevent Freezing?

    How To Care For Palm Trees In Winter and Prevent Freezing
    Below we will discuss some tips on how to protect palm trees in winter. Let us get started and discuss them one by one.


    Foliage Tree Wrap For Palm Trees

    For palm trees winter care, anytime the weather reports suggest a temperature drop to 25°F or lesser for over a day, consider wrapping the palm.


    In addition, if there is a massive storm alert, there, too, wrapping can help. So, how to cover palm trees from frost? For wrapping, you can use frost cloth or a horticulture blanket. Use a rope or a sturdy strap to keep it in place.


    If you have small palms, here’s how to protect palm trees from cold weather. You can use a box to cover it. Do not forget to open the cover slightly during the warm sunny days to avoid air heat up. Regardless, the blanket should not be on the palm for over five days in a stretch.


    To winterize palm trees through wrapping, you can pick from several materials, such as:


    a. Burlap

    – It is one of the most commonly used materials. Burlap can shield the palms from the harshest winters.

    b. Straw

    – People also prefer straw material for palm trees winter care. It is readily available and also very economical.

    c. Drip cloth

    – It is pretty similar to burlap. Unfortunately, drip cloth may not be as sturdy and durable. But drip clothes are light on pocket and work well for smaller trees.

    d. Tulle

    – Tulle is readily available in the markets. They are cheap and easy to wash and maintain.


    2. Frost Protection Sprays

    How to protect palm trees in winter using frost protection sprays? Sprays, such as the Leaf Guardian Spray, are hugely popular. One spray can easily last two months. The sprays help winterize palm trees and leave them shiny and green.


    Frost protection sprays shield the leaves from a freeze-related burn inflicted by cold winds, ice, and frost.


    Unfortunately, not many know, but this is, by far, one of the best and the most effective method to guard palm trees during winters.


    3. Mulching

    Mulching rather heavy mulching is also a good way to protect palm trees. Fortunately, most palm owners mulch around the year. But, the degree of mulching has to be amplified during the winters.


    It prevents leaf damage and increases the chances of survival. You need at least six inches of mulch to avoid ground freezing. It helps guard the palm’s lower body and the roots.


    Always opt for organic mulch to winterize palm trees, such as oak or maple leaves, pine straw or wheat straw, or coarse wood chips.


    4. Watering

    When completely saturated with water, palm better deal with winter freeze. During the winter months, the palm’s water uptake declines dramatically, and the cold winds and the stressed-induced by the drop in temperature results in defoliation.


    So, how to protect palm trees in winter with water? Increasing the watering frequency is a vital step in palm tree winter care just before the onset of freeze. It acts as an insulator for palm tree trunks.


    It will also keep the soil moist. You can pour lukewarm water, especially around the ground, as it will amplify the water uptake and guard the foliage too.


    5. Temporary Greenhouse


    Another way how to protect palms from freeze is by building a temporary greenhouse. However, compared to the other methods to winterize palm trees listed here, it will demand more effort and work from you.


    Also, please ensure that you begin building a sturdy greenhouse. The greenhouse must have a slanted roof to withstand heavy snow.


    So, regardless of how cold it gets or where you live, it is a fool-proof method. If you can add supplementary heat to the greenhouse, it adds two or higher USDA zones to your yard.


    So, now you know how to cover palm trees from frost. Temporary greenhouse shields the palms from snow, cold winds, and harsh weather.


    6. Heating Cables For Palm Trees

    Low-wattage heating cables are another method to winterize palm trees and one of the best ways how to protect palms from freeze. These are readily available at the hardware store.


    A good-quality heating cable will have a thermostat in it. It will turn on as soon as the temperature drops below 40°F. Since the palms can handle temperatures above 55°F, they will auto switch off at this temperature.


    Like Christmas lights, you can use the heating cables also to wrap the palm tree. Instead of covering the foliage, you can also use the heating cable to wrap the root ball. It warms the water and improves uptake.


    7. Fertilization

    When the palm tree does not have adequate nutrients in its feed, its cold tolerance also gets affected. So, to ensure palm trees winter care, fertilize them well in the growing season.


    Wondering how to keep a palm tree alive in winter with just fertilization? Fertilization betters the palm’s cold hardiness and is the best way to winterize palm trees.


    Please read the instructions on the package manual before fertilization. The fertilization frequency depends on the palm type, age, and soil of the palm.


    Further, your geographical location will also decide the frequency. People from the colder regions must immediately fertilize the palm during the growing season and not delay it.


    Delay in fertilization adds to the susceptibility to cold damage. You can use a slow-release, water-soluble, liquid fertilizer rich in Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. Ideally, the ratio should be 15-5-15.


    8. Copper Spray

    Wish to know how to protect palm trees in winter with copper spray? See, it is simple, like most houseplants, even the palms are susceptible to bacterial and fungal attacks.


    Of course, few bacteria present on the palms will not kill it. But, during the cold weather, the plant is already stressed. At this time, any other add-on concern can prove fatal for the plant.


    So, before the cold weather begins, you must spray the copper fungicide to winterize palm trees.


    9. Move The Potted Plants Inside If Possible.

    Lastly, if your palms are portable, you can bring them indoors by placing them in a warmer spot.


    If you have a fireplace in your home, it can suck the humidity. So, how to protect palm trees from cold weather after taking them inside.


    For that you can install a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Alternatively, you can also frequently mist the plant to retain the lost moisture.


    10. Some Bonus Ways To Protect Your Palm

    • Heat Tapes: Using heat tape for palm trees is also a beneficial technique to winterize palm trees. Though time-consuming, it is one of the safest methods.
    • Using The Chicken Wire Method: For this method, you have to form a chicken wire fence or basket around the palm and cover it with leaves for palm trees winter care.
    • Old-Fashioned Christmas Lights: It is one of the easiest ways to keep them warm. When winterizing with lights, you should avoid employing new LED lights. Old Christmas lights can be the best pick. The heat from the light will protect the palm. It also adds to the aesthetic value of the palm.
    • Water Pipe Insulation: Here, you will wrap the mid spear and the initial six leaves with water pipe insulation. You cannot let water seep into the insulation. So, fold the top. During the spring season, get rid of all the cover and let the plant see the light again.

    Hopefully, this answers your concern on how to keep a palm tree alive in winter.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Ques 1. How does extreme winter affect the palm tree?

    Ans. Though there are ways to protect your trees and shrubs in winter, extreme winter can stunt the plant’s growth. If the cold weather continues, it may even kill the plant. Unfortunately, in most cases, the cold-damaged parts never recover.


    Ques 2. Where can I buy Palm tree covers for winter?

    Ans. You can buy a frost-free blanket to winterize palm trees from a horticulture store. Christmas lights, heating cables, and heat tape can be shopped from a hardware store.


    Ques 3. How to protect palm trees from the freeze in Texas?

    Ans. There are several ways for palm trees winter care. A few of them include:


    • Heavy fertilization
    • Heavy watering
    • Wrapping the plant with a cover, heat tape, or a heating cable
    • Heavy mulching
    • Using copper fungicide spray
    • Bringing the plant indoors
    • Building a temporary greenhouse
    • Using frost protection sprays


    Ques 4. What temperature will kill a palm tree?

    Ans. Tropical palms cannot tolerate temperature drops below 45°F, mainly if rapid. It can kill the plant. However, the ability to withstand cold temperatures can vary amongst different palm species. Some cold-hardy palm species can tolerate a drop to 15 degrees too.


    Ques 5. How to protect pygmy palms from frost?

    Ans. Some helpful ways to protect Pygmy Palms from frost are:

    • Using a frost-protection blanket or sheet
    • Applying a strand of lights
    • Installing a greenhouse
    • Adding a heavy mulch layer
    • Fertilizing the plant
    • Using frost-protection spray


    Ques 6. Which palms are the most cold-hardy?

    Ans. Windmill Palms are the most cold-hardy palms, yet you should winterize palm trees of this variety also, just to be safe.


    Ques 7. How to keep a palm tree alive indoors in winter?

    Ans. As a general rule of thumb, if the temperature in the room feels bearable for you, it will also be endurable for your palm.


    So, if your tree is portable, the best way how to protect palms from freeze is to move it to a warm spot in the home and cover it with Christmas lights. Also, ensure that the palm is away from the door or the window that leaks cold waves.