Most gardeners want to know how fast do windmill palm trees grow before they can embark on growing their own.
The windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) is an evergreen perennial palm tree that is part of the Arecaceae family. It is an excellent choice if you are looking to add a tropical vibe to your landscape. It can survive in USD zones 8a-11 and can withstand a layer of snow.
Windmill palm trees get their name from the large rounded leaves. They hang above the slender stalk that creates a windmill form. This tree is covered by dense, brown, hairy fibers about 1 ½ foot long, and fan-shaped fronds that extend outwards from jagged petioles.
Characteristics of Windmill Palm Tree
Windmill palms are evergreen and grow anywhere from 20-40 feet tall with a canopy spread of about 12 feet. Those that grow in the coolest zones grow to around 10 feet tall. The single windmill palm tree trunk is covered by hairy fibers that look like it’s wrapped up in burlap sheets. Mats, rope, and brooms are made from these fibers.
Its large fan-shaped leaves fill the canopy with thorn lined stems. Each frond grows up to about 3 feet wide and contains 15-19 sections. In late summer and spring, drooping panicles form growing up to about 2 feet long together with yellow flowers. Later, the flowers give way to small bluish drupes that carry the palm’s seeds.
Windmill palm trees successfully grow in too cold areas. They can survive the winter temperatures dropping up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, zone 7 should plant their windmill palm trees in protected areas from cold winter winds. They should also add a layer of mulch to protect the root system from getting too cold during the cold season.
How Fast Do Windmill Palm Trees Grow?
Windmill palms are naturally slow-growing. They can grow up to 40 feet but in most cases, it’s growth stunts at around 10 to 20 feet. Their growing pace is quickened with an even fertilizer regimen, consistent soil moisture, and a long warm growing season. A windmill palm can be coaxed to grow no more than 12 to 18 inches long each year with proper care.
How to Make a Windmill Palm Grow Fast
Provide consistent soil moisture. During the warm growing season, provide this plat with 1 – 2 inches of irrigation water to the root. Although this plant is drought tolerant, it will increase its growth if the soil is always moist. Be sure to keep the soil moist but never soggy. In the cooler months, reduce watering to ensure your soil does not stay soggy.
Provide an even fertilizer regimen. Apply a slow-release granular fertilizer special for palms and the soils in your area. The palm special fertilizer contains nutrients that are essential for healthy palm frond growth. To find the right fertilizer for your region, contact the local extension office. In general, the fertilizer should be applied in summer, spring, and early autumn. The palm fertilizer must have key ingredients that include magnesium, iron, manganese, and boron. These nutrients promote the faster healthy growth of this plant. Do not use liquid fertilizers; they leach out of the soil before the palm can take them up.
Increase the warmth received by the windmill palm tree in the cooler seasons – mid-autumn and spring. Palm root growth increases if the soil temperatures are above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can help your soil to get warmer by pulling back mulch in early spring so that the sun warms the soil. If the palm does not receive adequate sunlight, its growth rate will be naturally delayed.
Pests and Diseases that Affect the Windmill Palm Trees
Windmill palm is an easy tree to grow because it is free of problems, especially in the cooler climate. It may experience attacks from palm aphids and scale insects but these are easy to manage with an insecticide.
Diseases are rare; though leaf spots and yellowing may sometimes occur.
Root rot may occur if the soils are not well-drained.
Pruning Palm Trees
Windmill palm trees do not need pruning. You only need to remove the dead fronds but you can leave the yellow ones on the plant. The yellow ones are still providing nutrients to the plant. If you don’t want the palm fruits to litter your landscape, remove the blooms as they develop.
Pruning the windmill palm tree disrupts its growth making it stunted. Most people prune their palm trees before hurricanes but this only weakens the plant to not withstand the strong winds. Palm trees are naturally resistant to wind.