Mature Palms in Skagit County

I have been interested in growing Palms here in the far Northwest corner, in Skagit County, Washington, for many years.  I now have finally found the perfect house and the perfect yard to do some long-term experimenting.  Have spent a few years with some success with a few of the recommended cultivars for our climate, and have only lost one to the winter:  a Washingtonia robusta.  It was going through its first winter, so was a bit young to make it through single digit temps.  This tree has since been replaced with like kind, same spot and the new one is on its second winter.

I also decided this year to make my experimenting more scientific.  Instead of poring over literature that recommended one over the other based on their reported hardiness, etc., I decided to seek out the oldest palms near my own location, take photos of them and try to determine their cultivar.  I figured that the palms that were 10 to 30 feet tall and 40 to 60 years old would be the best ones to plant.  I am a genius!

So here is my first cut on the oldest palms I could find within 5 miles of Highland Garden House, Mt. Vernon, WA.  Our normal lows in the winter run high single digits f, but some winters past have been Zero f.  A mild winter will run to the low 20s f.  We have already had 24 f this winter and that was in early November.

Each of these photos are in a residental or farm type environment.  Some are in semi-protected spots and others are out on the flats, subject to the full force of weather.  Some have been cleaned up and nurtured, others appear to be planted in rental houses. Most are at elevations below 300 feet. I am no expert as I have not done my 10,000 hours of study on the subject, but it appears that ALL of these vintage palms are Windmill Palms, Trachycarpus fortunei.

What do you think?

If you are willing to invest the time and money to create that nice tropical look with a row of palms, this seems to be the one to plant.


Dennis’til next time, Dennis George Highland Garden House B & B 501 E. Highland Ave. Mount Vernon, WA 98273

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2 Responses to Mature Palms in Skagit County

  1. JD says:

    I have 3 windmills growing at my home in Stanwood. One is now a year old and 5ft tall as of Aug 2015 and two more at 3ft tall just planted. I would like to steal the 15 footer growing along the closed carpet store in downtown Stanwood, but don’t know who to call ….

    • Hello, I have found that the first three winters are critical for survival, after that, they are pretty tough to 8 f. My large windmill is 7 years from a gallon pot and now is 11 ft tall and 9 ft spread. I think the thing that kills them is if you are in the path of Northeasters and they are only a few years old. The Northeasters do not hit MV, but do hit Anacortes, Bellingham, etc. We get the cold but not the biting wind.

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