Cold Hardy Palm Trees for Northern Garden Planting

The Cabbage palm tree (Sabal palmetto) is also called the Sabal Palm, and is believed to be the most commonly planted palm tree in the Southern US. This palm tree is native to that area, and grows in forests throughout Florida and coastal Georgia. The Cabbage palm tree can grow to 40 feet, but only grows about one foot per year. Upon aging, the lower leaf stem remains (petioles) attached for many years, giving the trunk a bazaar, forbidding appearance. After many years, the leaf remains can be removed artificially, or naturally, giving the trunk a slick, desirable look in the landscape. During hot weather, white flowers grow fast, to 6 feet long, to produce one-half inch black fruit that fall to the ground. Sabal palm trees grow as far North as coastal Virginia, and Carolina landscapes, and are cold hardy to below zero temperatures. This Cabbage palm is drought resistant, requires little care or growth maintenance when planted in the landscape, and is so salt water tolerant, it can be found growing along the sea coast, sometimes falling into the ocean with sea erosion.

Sabal palm trees are considered as the State tree in Florida and South Carolina. Because Sable palm tree roots do not branch like other palms, transplanting the tree can be difficult unless the leaves are all removed before transplanting into home landscapes, and since they are not fast growing, it is not unusual for the palm tree to require 3 to 4 years to regrow the canopy leaves to normal size. The cabbage palm is also susceptible to hurricane damage, because its roots are not largely branched like other palm trees to anchor the trunk into the earth.

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