Winter Care for Palm Trees


Palm trees thrive in tropical climates, but even the most temperate of climes may occasionally experience cold winter weather. Most palm trees will survive an occasional dip into the 20s. Younger trees are more susceptible to damage from frost and freezing temperatures than are older, established trees. If a freeze threatens, you can protect your palm trees for brief dips in temperature. If a few fronds or the tips of fronds are damaged by frost, trim off the damaged areas in the spring.

Step 1

Cover small palm trees with a large cardboard box or quilts, weighted down with rocks to prevent the cover from blowing away.

Step 2

Wrap the trunks of larger palms with burlap or old blankets. Hold the covering in place by binding it with ropes.

Step 3

Place a heavy layer of mulch around the base of the tree. You can pile mulch or straw around smaller palms, almost burying them.

Step 4

Remove all wrappings and mulch when temperatures rise above freezing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't leave the covering or wrapping in place for more than five days. Don't wrap trees in plastic. Don't water palm trees right before a hard freeze. Palms store water in their trunks and a fresh uptake of water could lead to freeze damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard box
  • Blankets
  • Burlap wrapping
  • Rope
  • Mulch


  • North Carolina State University: Care of Palms
  • Tree Palm Trees

Who Can Help

  • University of California, Davis: Palm Trees for Landscaping
Keywords: palm tree care, wrapping palm trees, winter care of palm trees

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.