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Five Conifers and Palms for Windy Locations

Previously we discussed the importance of selecting wind-tolerant tree species for those living in windswept areas (San Francisco and the Bay Area are particularly good examples, and not just because these areas are plagued by the aptly named “Diablo Winds???).

We began by looking at five hardwood species that are well-adapted for withstanding winds; today, we’ll look at a few palms and conifers. 


Fern Pines

Fern pines (Podocarpus spp.) are a genus of evergreen conifers, primarily native to the Southern Hemisphere. Several of the 100-or-so species in the genus are commonly planted as street, shade or ornamental trees, but most possess strong wood and structure, enabling them to withstand high winds. Many songbirds feed upon the fleshy cones of fern pines, further improving the tree’s appeal and value. 


Cabbage Palm

Cabbage or sabal palms (Sabal palmetto) are wonderful trees for elevated, seaside planting locations, as they can tolerate a fair amount of salt spray (they do not, however, grow well in salt-laden soils). While cabbage palms resist most pests and tend to withstand high wind speeds without much trouble, care is required during the transplantation process, during which time the tree will be busy forming a new root system.  


The thick trunk of jelly palms (Butia capitata) helps these stout trees survive the strong winds common to the Bay Area and other coastal locations. Jelly palms are hardy in most respects, especially in terms of cold tolerance: Jelly palms often survive temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius). Like most other palms, jelly palms require abundant sunlight to thrive.


Date Palm

Date palms (Phoenix dactylifera) are large, impressive palms, which often reach 75 feet in height or more. A wide variety of date palm cultivars are available on the commercial market, including the varieties used in date production (typically, fruit-set is somewhat poor among wild-type date palms). Date palms are dioecious plants (individuals are either male or female – not both), so if you are interested in producing the fruit yourself, you must obtain both male and female specimens.


Bald Cypress

Bald cypresses (Taxodium distichum) are one of the quintessential species of southern swamps and bayous. Because these habitats are often subjected to periodic hurricanes, these long-lived trees have been forced to adapt methods for surviving high winds. The primary challenge to maintaining cypress trees relates to their thirsty nature and immense size – few people have the yards to accommodate these trees, which may reach 120-feet in height. The bald cypress’ close relative – the pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens) – is equally resistant to high winds.

Thanks for reading along with us. We hope that you will take these suggestions under consideration when setting out to add new trees to your property. We’re always here to help, whether you need residential tree pruning in San Francisco, or commercial tree services in Millbrae, Arborist Now is here to help keep your trees happy, healthy and looking their best.

Contact us at Arborist Now today! 

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