Kevin, my needle is about 3 ft tall. It stands closer to 4 ft, when the fronds are tied up.
In November, before temps of 20, or lower occurs, the fronds are tied upright. The plant gets an initial wall o water over it. This year, it only came up to less than halfway up the height of the tied plant. A circle of concrete blocks (the ones with two holes) goes around the outside of the wall o water. It usually takes 6 blocks, set long way up, to completely surround the plant.
These are then wrapped with two 39 gallon black plastic garbage bags, that have been cut open. These are tied, around the concrete blocks, to eliminate any drafts to the plant, from the block holes, or cracks between the encircling blocks themselves.
Then, a second wall o water is placed over the tied plant. The bottom of the second wall o water, will rest on top of the wrapped concrete blocks. This year, about 6 inches of uncovered needle fronds was still sticking out the top of the upper wall o water. So, I removed the uppermost wall o water, and placed a second circle of blocks around the needle. This time, though, only 3 blocks were needed, because instead of placing them upright, as the first layer of blocks was placed, I made a triangle out of them, on their sides, around the plant, instead of a circle. Since air openings occurred between the blocks forming the triangle, I also wrapped these blocks with a cut garbage bag, and tied it to the blocks. This time, when I put the uppermost wall o water back on, no fronds were emerging from the top.
At this point, I simply placed a large rose cone over the uppermost wall o water (a brick was used to hold the cone down). At the base of blocks, a thick leaf mulch was given. To make the entire protective covering a uniform black color, I covered the rose cone with a plastic bag.
Materials used (most are reusable): leaves, 2 wall o waters, 4 cut 39-gallon garbage bags, 1 uncut garbage bag, 9 concrete blocks, 1 large rose cone.