Palm Tree People

Here’s the problem: I’m a Gemini.

I’m at the beginning of Year 3 of trying to perfect my backyard plantings. The Sky Pencil Hollies that I had such hopes for haven’t lived up to my dream – some are spindly and some have died. Turns out they’re susceptible to fungus. A few are doing well so it would be a shame to rip them out just because their brothers committed the crime of Not Thriving against me.

They’re in a full sun location outside the pool screen. So I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I came to the conclusion that I could replace the center cluster with a dwarf palm tree. After some agonizing I decided on a Pygmy Date Palm, despite the internet tut- tutting  of cold weather sensitivity and some serious spikes on the fronds.

And lo and behold, during Florida’s First Spring last week, I was meandering around the Walmart garden section and saw a rolling stand full of beautiful palms, fresh off the truck  including 2 PDPs. For cheap. So I immediately found a nice young Walmart worker who carted the thing around for me and put it in the cargo compartment of my car and brought it home. The cargo compartment hasn’t recovered yet.

pdpHow very beautiful it is. Soft, delicate fronds gently waving in a light breeze (+ those spikes) , attractive shade of green, contained growth, and just the right size for the space. I set it out in the sun and now , after several days of staring at it, I find it to be … unsatisfactory. It has 4 trunks and I really would prefer 3.

Because I’m a Gemini. (impulsiveness, followed by regret)

So what I need to know from you palm tree people is this: can I simply saw one trunk off? Is that asking for trouble? I found this in an on-line version of a newspaper article: nc

… but you know, the internet. Filled with people repeating misinformation or outright making things up*. If you’ve ever tried a recipe that exists only on the internet or one of Martha Stewart’s anywhere, you know that’s true.

So, Palm Tree People – is that true? If yes, then what happens next? Do I have to paint the raw spot, to prevent a portal for rot, like you do with a deciduous tree in the northeast? Or is it just saw, plant, go?

*I confess in the name of comedy, I have been known to make things up. But not because of laziness – all in the name of humor! Just recently, I was inspired by the #Megxit drama going on and for the benefit of my like-minded colleagues in the UK Twitter world, I made a clever photoshop.  Very clever, if I do say so myself. When I say “like-minded”, I mean anti-Meghaneers who believe MM has no sentimentality and that she will soon be out of cash money after the big split with Buckingham Palace and her future divorce from the sad prince. Anyway, UK tweeters took my little photo as truth and a wave of outrage began to spread among the group. I tell you, those people would never make it in the world of US political tweeting.

it’s funny, right?



19 thoughts on “Palm Tree People”

  1. It IS funny!

    Neem oil is very good against fungus but don’t expect it to keep bugs at bay. You didn’t mention bugs, but it was a hard lesson to learn, so thought I’d share.

    I have date palms and though I’ve never sawed a trunk off, they’ve died and fallen away by themselves. I can’t help but think this bodes well for your plans.
    Orchid people swear by cinnamon on pruned plants… the nub, you know.

    I’m so over MeGain. She sets up an obvious photo op, smiles big for the cameras and then cries foul. What a little witch.

    1. I’m very familiar with the odor of Neem oil from last year’s losing battle to save my hibiscus from white flies. It’s gross. 😦

      Well, I think I’m going to dig out the bow saw and cut one trunk off before I put it into the ground. “What’s the worst that can happen?” she said.

      My God, Meghan and the Baby Carrier Show- it’s unbelievable. I’m starting to think she’s the mentally disturbed one in that relationship.

      1. White flies are a plague upon the earth. Even professionals couldn’t keep my ficus hedge alive after they descended upon it. It is to weep.

  2. My only experience with Palms is ragging on the City of Virginia Beach to stop planting them every spring in the beachy resort area, you are not and will never be Fort Lauderdale. They die, get removed, then replace them. It’s a Palm Tree Holocaust I tell them. Stop it. Our coastal native trees are the living oaks, plant those. Sigh, if they only started 300 years ago 😉

              1. I’m just a nobody taking on the tourist industry here. If you wanted Virginia Beach to look like Fort Lauderdale/South Beach Miami touristy, you wouldn’t have built those 15-20 story hotels on the resort east side of Atlantic Ave (A1A if you will), there is no sun on the beach after 2pm. Sigh, the last mid-century art deco, 4 story hotel was just torn down on the beach to make room for a, wait for it, a 30-story monster ?

  3. Oh, for sure Harry is sitting in a dark room staring out at the snow and sucking his controlled portion of kale leaves while Meghan is talking to the Coppertone people about starring in a remake of the famous don’t be a paleface ad when she hits Malibu later this year.

  4. It should be fine if you saw it off. I shall tut tut you as to cold hardiness, we can get dips low enough to kill most palms. You will have to protect it. Order a nice big thermal blanket so you have it on hand. When we get a hard freeze the stores sell out quickly. Next year at Christmas buy a strand of incandescent lights and store them with the thermal blanket. Wrap lights around the palm, cover with blanket and turn on lights when the temps dip.

    Most people put podocarpus around their pools, but eventually they get HUGE. The date palms will too, btw. Palmettos are native and will tolerate any cold. Sago palms, which are not actually palms will to up to a point. Also, Coontie palms which are related to Sago. Those things will tolerate ANYTHING. Next time you’re at Target in the front on the left of the big circle where the sidewalk splits off to go down the side of the building. Look at that planter on that corner, those are Coontie palms. They are in other places throughout that shopping center, btw. They stay green year round yet have no irrigation.

    Camelias love it here if you’re looking for blooms. On the island off Gerbing road there used to be a botanical garden of camelias.

    The sky pencil hollies will all eventually die, it gets too hot here…..sorry, just being honest. Nellie Stevens and several other varieties will do fine.

    Fungus? Yep, welcome to Nassau county. I detest the soil here. I’ve killed more plants, sheesh. When I lived in JAX my yard was an oasis. Here? Not so much, just got tired of fighting the soil and drainage issues. If I showed you pictures of my yard in JAX and my current yard, you’d swear there is no way the same person tended them 😜 May the force be with you……and amend the soil when you plant…..add sand!

    1. Hello, Somebody! No need to tut me about killing garden things – every year I get better and better at it.

      I’m considering leaving the palm in the container , which is on wheels so I can roll it to safety in a freeze. Then I’ll plant the persian lime tree outside the fence. Tell me – will camelias do well in full sun? Podocarpus are soft and lovely but I said no to them because I didn’t want anything that needed constant trimming. Ironic – now I spend just as much time wrapping things up or giving them extra water and in general, just fretting about them.

      I’m considering inviting an agent from the FL Dept of Agriculture to be a guest speaker at a local organization that I belong to – you know which one since you are on the email list 🙂 – so I can find out what the name of the soil we have in this hyperlocal area. I tried reading the USDA Soil Survey for this county but it’s a government report and it’s grotesquely complicated. Near as I can figure, its Buccaneer Clay or possibly Ellabelle – but I might be wrong about that.

      1. Camelias in general prefer partial sun, but my next door neighbor has some kind of hybrid camelia that likes sun and grows like a weed. Normally they are painfully slow growing. My neighbor btw owns a palm tree farm. His yard is full of palms, he knows the ones that handle cold and the ones that don’t.

        How goes that group? They were trying to draft me to be the leader hard behind the scenes… I disappeared😉 My life is too busy, 3 grandkids, husband working out of town, not taking anything else on. So much politics going on there, there’s a back story, there usually is 😉

        The county extension does master gardener classes if you have the time. As far as plants, one of the biggest issue around here are the plants available. At the big box stores most are tropical and can’t tolerate the cold snaps we get. Their supply chains goes by state, totally not kidding. My daughter works at corporate of one.

        We have nurseries but they are generally pricier and they cater to landscapers with a lot of shrubs and the same old same old. Pro-tip, go to the Lowes in Kingsland. There you will find plants for “Georgia” that will survive the cold. Careful not to select something that can’t handle the heat 😂 Seriously the plant selection there is better suited to our growing zone.

        1. That is a great idea about going to Georgia. I’ve actually been to the Walmart Garden Center in Kingsland when I was trying to round up 9 yellow ixora plants. I always wondered why the big boxes here sold inappropriate but irresistible plants – now I know.

          Check yuor email for chitchat about the local group.

  5. Saw the I/G pic of your galvanized birdseed can. Hope you’re putting a “coaster” under it to fend of the inevitable rust rings on the concrete (same for propane bottles). I use pieces of leftover 5/4 deck boards, but repurposed treated pine fencing works well too.

    1. The birdseed can is destined to live in the shed where the concrete floor in there is covered with a perforated rubber mat. I just wanted it under my nose for a while to admire it.

      Also, the backyard birds of Florida are ignoring my feeder and I am broken-hearted. I CAN SEE YOU UP IN THE TREES, YOU BIRDS. I CAN HEAR YOU CHIRPING. DON’T THINK I DON’T KNOW THAT YOU’RE AROUND.

      1. The birds of Florida are arseholes. You heard it here first. Also – bird feeders bring rats which in turn entice snakes to the movable feast… you can see where I’m going, right? Had to take my feeder down and I miss it. 😦

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