How to winterize cold hardy palm trees outdoors anywhere in Canada.
As you probably already guessed, there is a reason why you don't see the streets in Toronto lined with coconut palms. Our cold winters in Canada are not suited for tropical plants. Even most of the cold hardy palm species are rated to zone 8+. Unfortunately, most of Canada gets much colder than this. Not sure your hardiness zone? A quick google search or review of this map will give you an idea:
With nearly everyone reading this tutorial outside of a hardiness zone that is hospitable to cold hardy palms, there is still hope for your dreams of an outdoor palm tree. This can be accomplished through a process known as zone pushing.
What is zone pushing?
Zone pushing refers to protection techniques which allows you to grow plants that are not rated for your hardiness zone.
How do I winterize my outdoor palm tree?
Each fall, following our 10 step winterization process will work well for any of the cold hardy palms that we sell, for most hardiness zones in Canada (5/6/7). Our process will control temperature and moisture while minimizing the use of electricity. Each spring you disassemble the protection, and to the amazement of your neighbors, your palm should be alive and ready to thrive in the summer sun once again!
What materials do I need?
Many different things can be substituted for similar materials, but this is what we recommend:
- Thin rope/twine
- Copper Fungicide (optional)
- Frost cloth/burlap (optional)
- Wood/Metal Ground Stakes
- 1x2 Wood (Length dependent on palm size)
- Wood Screws + Power Drill
- Foil Insulation/Bubble Wrap
- Staples + Staple Gun
- C7 or C9 Christmas Lights (old fashion kind NOT LED)
- Outdoor extension cord
- Thermocube (TC-3 Model)
- Utility Knife
- Mulch (optional)
All the materials above can be easily found at your local hardware store with the exception of the thermocube. These can easily be found on amazon or other stores online.
Step 1 - Tie up the fronds with rope/twine.
Step 2 - Apply copper fungicide to the crown.
Step 3 - Wrap palm in frost cloth or burlap.
Step 4 - Drive 3 stakes into ground around the palm.
Step 5 - Wrap palm with C7/C9 Christmas lights with most around the base. Plug Christmas lights into thermo cube that is connected to an extension cord,
Step 6 - Attach wood posts to the stakes.
Step 8 - Staple insulation onto the wood posts around the palm. Leave a small space at the top.
Step 9 - Wrap the protection structure with a tarp.
Step 10 - Slice a few cuts on the sides through the tarp and insulation with utility knife for ventilation.
When should I put up and remove the protection?
This will vary based on your zone and species of palm. Generally speaking, putting the protection up in mid-November and removed in early April should work for most situations.
Where can I buy cold hardy palm trees in Canada?