February saw a roller coaster of temperatures here in Acadiana. From upper 70’s to lower 30’s and back to the 80’s in a span of 2 weeks. Many plants did not enjoy the wild swings in weather, especially area palm trees.
Take a look around Acadiana and it won’t take you too long to see palm trees that look like this:
The cold blast back in February that saw temperatures close to 30 degrees below average for several days had an impact on many plants but especially palm trees in the region. While some trees look like they have seen better days others look just fine. Peter Mayeux of All Seasons Nursery says depending on the type of palm tree the cold weather was handled differently.
“A lot of the large palm trees that you see around Lafayette, they are considered to be cold-hardy but once you start getting into the low teens they are not going to make it but, 15 is what I think we got (to) the majority of your Queen Palms, your Sylvester Palms, although their canopies are frozen they’ll come back, they’ll leaf out… your Queen Palms, a lot of your Majest Palms, Cat Palms, the stuff you put around your patio, Robellini Palms unless you did a lot of protection they are not going to make it.”
Even if the palm fronds are brown this doesn’t mean that the tree is dead, Peter says that you can easily tell the overall health of the tree by taking a look at the trunk.
“Inside that big trunk especially that Apical Stem, the growing part where all the fronds come out of, that is still viable. So cut off all the old stuff and then start fertilizing. What you’ll see is once we start getting soil temperatures rising you see it start stemming out the new leaves.”
Other plants such as tropical plants and perennials were also hit hard by February’s cold if they were not protected properly.
While freezes are uncommon in March they are not impossible in Acadiana and that is something sensitive plants may have to deal with.