Why, each fall, do some nervous gardeners go to great lengths to shroud their palm trees in protective coverings for the winter? It’s not necessary. Windmill palms are quite hardy, particularly in coastal areas like White Rock and Crescent Beach.
The Chinese windmill palm (trachycarpus fortunei) has been grown in Lower Mainland gardens for decades. It was popularized in the 1990s (with the help of the Palm Society) and today there are thousands of palms growing in coastal areas of BC. They easily tolerate our wet, frosty, sometimes snowy winters.
In fact, covering the trunks does not protect them much anyway.
The most vulnerable point on a healthy palm is the growing point, the emerging spear. Covering the trunks does not provide much in the way of protection and covering the fronds can actually be harmful to the plant, depriving it sunlight and causing the plant to droop with the weight.
So, unless your palm is a small seedling, leave it alone. It will grow quite happily without any help from you.
Nick Parker, former president,
Pacific Northwest Palm & Exotic Plant Society