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Facts About Cold Weather Palm Trees

Cold-weather palm trees can withstand the weather outside USDA zones 10 and 11. In zone 9 and below, freezing temperatures can be expected each winter, prohibiting the planting of familiar warm-weather palms like the coconut palm.

Cold Tolerance

The palm with the most cold tolerance is the needle palm. It will tolerate temperatures as low as minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit. The California fan palm will survive with a minimum of 12 degrees Fahrenheit. The dwarf palmetto will survive to minus-5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Winter Protection

Even hardy cold weather palms can suffer from a cold winter. Many owners of these palm trees protect them from winter winds with a greenhouse or a wire cage lined in plastic. The peacock palm is a cold-weather palm, but can only survive 24 degrees and warmer. It may need to be protected during the coldest winter months.

European Origin

The Mediterranean fan palm is the only palm tree native to Europe. It will tolerate temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.


The palm family, Palmaceae, consist of more than 1,500 palm species. Not all of these plants are trees. Some palms are shrubs and some are vines. The scrub palmetto is a shrub palm.


Not all palm trees prefer full sun exposure. Some species of cold-weather palm prefer shady areas. Those palms are often protected from cold winds by the trees and buildings that provide the shade.

Dig Up Palm Trees

You may need to dig up a palm tree to make room for new construction or landscaping, because it is not performing well in a certain site or for other reasons. Water the soil around the palm tree slowly and deeply the day before you plan to dig up the palm tree. Moistening the soil will make digging easier and help to keep the palm's root mass intact. Cut off one-third of the palm's oldest fronds at the time of digging. Cut through the palm roots and soil with a sharp spade in a circle around the palm that extends about 12 to 24 inches out from the trunk, depending upon the palm species, to create the root ball. Undercut the palm's root ball 12 inches below the soil surface. Tilting the palm to one side, tucking a section of burlap with a rolled-up side under the roots, leaning the palm to the other side and then unrolling the burlap allows you to easily wrap the roots with burlap.

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