Palm Trees in St. George?
Wow, Palm trees in St. George? Really? Are they indigenous or imported?
Both Oil Palm and Coconut Palm trees grow naturally in tropical and subtropical regions between 44 degrees north latitude and 44 degrees south latitude, so it’s surprising to see them thriving in places of cold winters.
St. George Palm Trees
The hot summers of St. George, Utah are suitable for Palm trees, given some regular watering; however, it’s the occasional, freezing night in winter that presents a problem. When a colder spell than normal occurs, the sensitive tops of the palm trees get traumatized sometimes to death. Cold nights are even more detrimental to Coconut Palms, which won’t tolerate as much as below 40 degrees for more than a few minutes.
Some Palm tree owners in Southern Utah wrap blankets or sleeping bags around the top of the Palm’s trunk in November to help protect it from overnight freezing temperatures of winter months. This does not guarantee survival through the cold nights, but arborists support the idea.
In December of 2017, the Saint George area saw many nights of temperatures below freezing, bringing a scare to Palm owners and caretakers. A Utah news channel reported that arborists predicted an 80% loss of Palm trees in St. George; however, they were pleasantly surprised to see only a 10% death rate by spring of 2018. One arborist said that because of the hot springtime temperatures, the trees recovered quickly and filled in the areas of dead, yellow fronds with new growth.
Logic would tell you that Palm trees are not native to regions which have cold winters, so the unlikely cities that host Palm trees are those where people have bought and transplanted them, then taken measures to keep them warm all year. Saint George, Utah is no different. It would be cool to imagine that strong winds from Las Vegas carried Palm seeds 120 miles to Southern Utah, but I think not. People brought them in to enhance the resort feel of the region.
Other Surprising Places for Palms
Besides Palm trees in Saint George, other surprising places are homes to some Palms. The moderate climate of Seattle, Washington, under the calming influence of the Pacific Ocean, allows some Palms, such as the Chinese Windmill Palm. Even Washington DC tolerates the Needle Palm, which looks more like a shrub and grows to about eight feet high. Dwarf Palmettos and Needle Palms are also seen in Oklahoma. And the British Isles host some hardy Palms like the Chinese Windmill because of the warming effects of the Gulf Stream waters, moving north through the Atlantic Ocean.
So, in summary, you won’t see Coconut Palm trees in Southern Utah because they are sensitive to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but you will see Oil Palms and cold hardy Palms in St. George because the healthy ones can tolerate a few freezing nights.
Palm Trees in St. George?
St. George Landscape
Article By: Clear Content Marketing