Freeze Remedy: Palm Trees [VIDEO]

gillnurseryVideos47 Comments

Several varieties of palm trees likely suffered damage in the Big Freeze of ‘21. Some may recover, and some may not. Here are some things you can look for and steps you can take right now.

47 Comments on “Freeze Remedy: Palm Trees [VIDEO]”

  1. What should I do with the fall queen palms? During the freeze, the branches drooped all the way to the ground. I can tell some snapped but not all. I have three in my front yard. All in the neighborhood queen palms look the same.
    Should a cut the branches that are drooping to the ground shorter to try to take some weight off and hopefully they’ll spring back up?

    1. Cut off frozen plants. New plants will come up from suckers at the base. They may come back too crowded, so thin if needed. Feed regularly, and they will fruit next year.

  2. What to do with a very tall queen palm??? All the fronds are drooping almost to the ground. It is way too tall to check out the heart. Is it okay to cut off all the fronds and just wait and see what happens?

  3. Bottlebrush trees I examined yesterday were dead to the ground, we cut them off 10″ high and they will regrow from the roots.

    1. You can cut dead fronds to make the palm look better, but not necessary for health of the palm. If the top 18″ of the palm gets “squirrelly” it would mean the heart is dead. And after examining some with a chain saw, I think most pygmy date palms are dead. But only way to know if they are alive is to wait, watch for soft or collapsing heart area, or see new leaves emerging.

  4. Thanks for all your information on palm damage assessment. It’s very helpful.

    We have a fishtail palm, about 40+ feet tall (we never expected it to grow that tall, but it was planted as a novelty and has been somewhat protected). It is very obviously dead. Should we expect the crown to blow off like some of the Washingtonians did in the 1980s, or should we expect it to fold over, or should we expect it to fall from the base? Should we prophylactically have it removed to avoid damage below when it falls?

    1. All of that. I would be inclined to cut it off at the base. Maybe there are some pups that will grow back? Or did you mean foxtail palm, in which case no pups.

      1. It’s a fishtail palm that my mother bought in the RGV years ago on a Palm Society trip. It was purchased on a nostalgic whim (she grew up in Raymondville). She expected it to die each winter and was always astounded when it kept growing. I’ll look for pups, and make arrangements for cutting it down. Thank you.

  5. My lemon trees are showing some green under the bark, but I am expecting that to fade. I will wait for healthy sprouts and then carefully trim to that point. Lime is very cold sensitive but may still have some life, I hope.

    1. If you have oozing from the trunk, probably dead. If trunk is still firm and clean, you can wait to see if you get any new sprouts.

  6. Sorry if this is a repeat. I do not believe my earlier question went through. I have Washingtonia palms right next to the water in Rockport. Is it possible they are hardier and may survive? They are too tall to do the heart test.

  7. We have a huge Norfolk Pine in our back yard…and it IS oozing and shedding badly now. I saw an answer to another question stating probably dead? This is NOT good news as it’s very close to our house. How do we make a true determination of its health? Do we have to call an arborist? If this tree falls on our home it will bad news. Thank you.

    1. Yes call an arborist. I would guess it is doomed, but don’t know that for sure. There is no imminent danger, it would take a few years of decay before the tree would be likely to fall over

  8. if the heart spike comes out of a Queen Palm, how much ( measurement) copper fungicide do you put in the center to keep it from rotting ? Do you mix it with anything or is it just the copper fungicide?

    1. If the heart is totally frozen, fungicide will not help. If it is only partially frozen at the tip, then fungicide can help suppress the fungus from moving into the remaining healthy tissue. Mix according to directions, and pour in as much as will penetrate. When it starts to run over, then stop.

  9. Thank you so very much for the prompt response. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge on all issues. Your information is always very informative. You make a difference! Thank you.

  10. Should I wait 2 more weeks before we trim bushes and trees?
    Also wait to trim brown drooping fronds on Cuban Royals?

    I have been told to do it now and also been told to wait two more weeks., which is two weeks from now. ( March 4) The reason for the suggested wait is to protect the plant and to let the roots get all the nourishment.

  11. This information is so helpful. Thanks

    Yucca plants 6 ft. tall, total brown, after trimming, what are the chances of survival?

  12. I have a 12 year old live oak tree that has dead leaves on some of the branches. I don’t see any new leaves sprouting to date. Is there something I can do to hopefully revive it?

    Thank you,

    1. Nothing you can or should do. Live oaks drop their leaves this time of year and put on new, but not on a uniform schedule. Not to say your tree might not have a problem, but more likely just the expected seasonal shedding.

    1. Just guessing. I think ponytails in pots will be dead. I think ponytails in the ground will generate some sprouts from the bulb sometime this summer, but not sure.

    1. I don’t think there’s much you can do to change the course of events. Remove dead tissue as it travels or exudes fluids. And hope for healthy sprouts to arise From the base sometime this summer.

  13. My Queen palm is oozing rust and black color near base of palm? Is there anything I can do to help it?

    1. No, nothing you can do. I don’t think they will make it, but I haven’t quite given up yet. Soon though, I think it will be chainsaw time.

  14. okay I have read all of these comments. I am have foxtails that were froze on that one cold night this past January here in florida. It has been a month and a half. the trees feel sturdy on the trunk and up to the fonds. The fonds are all brown but there are some new half green and burnt fonds developing. should I trim away the burnt fonds or leave them?

    1. It is best to leave Fran’s that have green, or even yellow, until they turn completely brown. Palm trees will recycle nutrients out of old and dying leaves to utilize in newer leaves.

  15. Hi
    My queen palm’s heart is tipped over but still has some green so not sure if dead. how do I know if it is dead? It’s very tall so I can’t inspect.

    1. My pygmy date palm looked bad, I pruned out dead leaves (including the tender ones in the center), left the partially green leaves, and poured a little copper fungicide into the center to suppress rot if there was any live tissue left in the heart. I have been rewarded by 4″ of new frond pushing up in the center. I would suggest you do the same, if you watch the videos you will see examples. But a difference, this freeze was much less severe than the one two years ago.

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