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How far N in Florida can coconut palms reliably grow?


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#41 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 05:40 AM

Those photos were taken at Leu Gardens about a month or so after the 12/89 freeze. I wasn't working here then. I found these in the old slide collection, the only photos documenting the freeze damage.
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#42 floridagrower

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:16 AM

Those photos were taken at Leu Gardens about a month or so after the 12/89 freeze. I wasn't working here then. I found these in the old slide collection, the only photos documenting the freeze damage.


Eric,

I've seen these before. Either those aren't mostly pure revoluta or they saw colder than 19f. That's for sure. Of course that queen kicked the bucket it's a baby and in an open location, plus the pictures indicate below 19f.
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#43 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:21 AM

Cycas revoluta all ove town were defoliated. They weren't in '83 and '85. It may have been the rapid drop and having frozen rain on them for awhile. Plus it was a very bitter spell as high temperature between the 2 hard freezing nights was in the mid to upper 30s so lots of hours below 32F, a long duration.

It couldn't been much below 19-20F as tropicals that survived would have been killed. We have large specimens of Ceiba speciosa, Bischofia javanica and Kigelia africana that survived. They were killed back to the stump but regrew quickly and are large mature trees again. Also had an Arenga pinnata and an Attalea rostrata actually survive these freezes. Also, Arenga engleri only suffered moderate burn and Arenga ryukyuensis wasn't damaged. Any lower and they would have been killed back or damaged, same with Rhapis humilis.
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#44 BeerPlant

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:26 AM

Holy crap Blowtorch! Scary pics........ thanks for posting again!
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#45 floridagrower

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:29 AM

Cycas revoluta all ove town were defoliated. They weren't in '83 and '85. It may have been the rapid drop and having frozen rain on them for awhile.


There is clearly something unique about that storm. Those palms are what I call "flash frozen" and look the way plants up here do sometimes, if they are marginal. This was a nearly instant death. You can tell how crispy they are after a month. This should taken much longer to look this bad. Still very telling.
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#46 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:37 AM

yes, very scary. never want to see scenes like that again. Everywhere around looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off since so many large trees, palms and plants were toasted. All the mature Casuarina were killed so far awhile there were huge stands of brown trees visible then just dead skeletons for years after. And dead queen palms as they were in just about every yard, even ,30, 40ft ones. All the groves were torched. It was a very ugly scenario, so much vegetation was killed out.

I forgot to mention but even Washingtonia robusta were midly burnt around here.
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Eric
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#47 floridagrower

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:39 AM

Regarding the topic:

It sounds like you don't mean "reliable", but simply where they can survive for a while. In this case. Just north of New Smyrna Beach on the east and Palm Harbor on the west. Inland is questionable at best.
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#48 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:42 AM

I think the only coconuts alive around Orlando after this past winter are at Sea World and their Discovery Cove park.
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Eric
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#49 palmsOrl

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 09:11 AM

I was under the impression that the absolute low in 1989 in Orlando was 22, and in 1985, it was 19. Those picures look gruesome!

-Michael
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#50 Ray Tampa

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 10:50 AM

Washingtonia robusta were slightly damaged here this year. Those photos don't look much different from what I saw here earlier this year. In order, here are my worst winter experiences and the corresponding airport data:

1. January 2010 (12 days in the 30's, 3 non-consecutive nights in the 20's)
2. December 1989 (3 consecutive nights in the 20's)
3. January/February 1996 (3 non-consecutive nights in the 20's)
4. December/January 2001 (7+ consecutive nights in the low 30's)
5. January 2003 (1 night in the mid 20's)
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#51 syersj

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 05:58 PM

Regarding the queen palm debate, all I know is that most of the queen palms around San Antonio did NOT, repeat not, die from 16F this past winter. In fact my area may have got as low as 14 or 15 and a large majority survived. I would guess about anywhere from 75-90% of the trunking queens, and maybe 50%-70% of the juveniles survived. Some died, but far less than I expected. All defoliated, some did not push spears until late May or early June, but most recovered. The day after we hit 16, it was bright and sunny and warmed above freezing fairly rapidly, so maybe we lucked out in that aspect.
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#52 Xenon

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 07:00 PM

Regarding the queen palm debate, all I know is that most of the queen palms around San Antonio did NOT, repeat not, die from 16F this past winter. In fact my area may have got as low as 14 or 15 and a large majority survived. I would guess about anywhere from 75-90% of the trunking queens, and maybe 50%-70% of the juveniles survived. Some died, but far less than I expected. All defoliated, some did not push spears until late May or early June, but most recovered. The day after we hit 16, it was bright and sunny and warmed above freezing fairly rapidly, so maybe we lucked out in that aspect.

Same thing here in Northwest Houston, most of the queens defoiliated, but survived, after a low of 17ºF. Sagos did fine.
:) Jonathan

Edited by Xenon, 27 July 2010 - 07:02 PM.

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#53 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:19 AM

I have been told that many of the queens that used to be planted, at least in FL, prior to the killing freezes of the 1980's were more tender types from the warmer parts of its native habitat. Since then a lot of seed were collected off the survivors and that is what a lot of post 1989 plantings have been grown from. There were some survivors after 12/89 around here and a few that were not even damaged. They were always the bulkier, thick trunked specimens.

Disney had planted a few dozen of the Santa Catarina types after the 1/85 freeze and these were the only survivors following the 12/89 freeze. So they grew others from these seeds.
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Eric
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#54 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:24 AM

Washingtonia robusta were slightly damaged here this year. Those photos don't look much different from what I saw here earlier this year. In order, here are my worst winter experiences and the corresponding airport data:

1. January 2010 (12 days in the 30's, 3 non-consecutive nights in the 20's)
2. December 1989 (3 consecutive nights in the 20's)
3. January/February 1996 (3 non-consecutive nights in the 20's)
4. December/January 2001 (7+ consecutive nights in the low 30's)
5. January 2003 (1 night in the mid 20's)




for the Orlando area, here would be the top freezes since I have lived here (1979)

1. Dec. 1989
2. Dec. 1983
3. Jan. 1985
4. winter 1995-1996
5. winter 2009-2010
6. winter 2000-2001
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Eric
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#55 Palm crazy

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:36 AM

Thanks for the pictures those are pretty bad and interesting information. Here in my yard, I can lose butia spears at 18F-19F if it's a long cold spell. Thats what happen two years ago when it was cold for 10 days.
I think it has to do with the crown being full of water all winter long and then freezing. Something you guys don't have to worry about.

Edited by Palm crazy, 28 July 2010 - 06:39 AM.

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Last six winter lows… 12F, 15F, 15F, 26F, 25F, 16F. 

 

                                            


#56 Ray Tampa

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:47 AM

2. Dec. 1983
3. Jan. 1985


1983 and 1985 were definitely the worst freezes but I wasn't growing palms then. My list is only for freezes where my garden was adversely affected.

BTW Eric, there's the forgotten January 1981 freeze where Tampa's airport dropped to 22F. I'm not sure what temp Orlando reached but it's probably in the same ballpark.
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#57 Zeeth

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:08 AM

Any info on the survivability of coconut types other than malayan? I'm testing out as many varieties as I can to find which is the hardiest. Pretty soon I should be getting a type from New Delhi, where the winters are almost identical to Central Florida. Coconuts from Hainan island in China are also supposed to withstand freezes and frost, but they seem to be harder to get. Has anyone ever tried one of those? Once I am older and have enough money to take a trip over there, I will make sure to bring back some sprouts.
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#58 edbrown_III

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:19 AM

Zeeth,

I think its a Jamaican Talls-- older ones I had a friend in Jupiter Farms ( western Northern Palm Beach county --- he had planted the newer Malayan --- This was 84 --- the 85 freezes killed bothe. There was a big older Jamaican tall down the street (only one in Neighbor hood. THis place was far enough out in the boonies (at the time) so that it didnt get affected by lethal yellowing. He moved in to bigger digs in the 90's and the tree was still there.

Ray--- I remember the 81 freeze -- it got down to 14F here in Jax. It didnt kill much tho-- I had a bunch of friends that lost engine blocks ( never used anti freeze) There was a pymgmy date palm in front of library down town that wasnt bothered. No winds or gale forces like 83 and 85---

The high winds in 83 along with the 11F killed every thing like Pygmies and Paurotis here in Jax.

Best regards


Ed
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#59 Xenon

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:42 AM

Any info on the survivability of coconut types other than malayan? I'm testing out as many varieties as I can to find which is the hardiest. Pretty soon I should be getting a type from New Delhi, where the winters are almost identical to Central Florida. Coconuts from Hainan island in China are also supposed to withstand freezes and frost, but they seem to be harder to get. Has anyone ever tried one of those? Once I am older and have enough money to take a trip over there, I will make sure to bring back some sprouts.

They grow durian on Hainan, so I don't think anything near freezing has ever been recorded on Hainan, at least at sea level.
Just my 2 cents,
:) Jonathan
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#60 Zeeth

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:46 AM


Any info on the survivability of coconut types other than malayan? I'm testing out as many varieties as I can to find which is the hardiest. Pretty soon I should be getting a type from New Delhi, where the winters are almost identical to Central Florida. Coconuts from Hainan island in China are also supposed to withstand freezes and frost, but they seem to be harder to get. Has anyone ever tried one of those? Once I am older and have enough money to take a trip over there, I will make sure to bring back some sprouts.

They grow durian on Hainan, so I don't think anything near freezing has ever been recorded on Hainan, at least at sea level.
Just my 2 cents,
:) Jonathan



Supposedly they get some pretty nasty cold fronts that come in and bring temps below freezing. That's just what I've read. I think the coconuts from north inland India may be the better of the 2, but I haven't found any studies comparing them
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#61 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:52 AM

2. Dec. 1983
3. Jan. 1985


1983 and 1985 were definitely the worst freezes but I wasn't growing palms then. My list is only for freezes where my garden was adversely affected.

BTW Eric, there's the forgotten January 1981 freeze where Tampa's airport dropped to 22F. I'm not sure what temp Orlando reached but it's probably in the same ballpark.



I was in 7th grade at that time. i remember a freeze around that time but it must have not been too severe. I remember our hibiscus and crotons freezing back and selloum leaves getting damaged but they grew back. The only tender palms I was growing or that was in our yard then was a big clump of Dypsis lutescens by the pool and an Archontophoenix alexandrae in the back yard and neither must have been too much bothered as they were alive and got whopped/killed 2 1/2 years later in Dec. 1983. It must have been a brief dip as other tropical palms/trees around town also didn't seem much damaged until '83. A hotel that was down the street had a huge Pandanus utilis which got killed in '83. I always rode my bike over to look at it and some tall Archontophoenix cunninghamiana and Ptychosperma elegans in some neighbors yards.

I will have to see if I can dig up the low for Orlando then.
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#62 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:14 AM

OK, just looked on weatherunderground and they had these temperatures in 1981 for Orlando. They were recorded at Orlando Intl Airport which is southeast of town. In the past it was much colder than downtown but since then growth and urban sprawl has resulted and temperatures there are very similar to downtown. Orlando Executive Airport doesn't have records from back that far.

Jan. 12, 1981- 45/26F
Jan. 13, 1981- 52/24F
Jan. 14, 1981- 62/21F

Didn't realize it was that cold in Jan. 1981. But it was back in the 70s by the 15th so the duration was brief and it would have been a few degrees warmer in town. We had 2 big orange trees and they weren't damaged,
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#63 Trópico

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:27 AM

I have been told that many of the queens that used to be planted, at least in FL, prior to the killing freezes of the 1980's were more tender types from the warmer parts of its native habitat. Since then a lot of seed were collected off the survivors and that is what a lot of post 1989 plantings have been grown from. There were some survivors after 12/89 around here and a few that were not even damaged. They were always the bulkier, thick trunked specimens.

Disney had planted a few dozen of the Santa Catarina types after the 1/85 freeze and these were the only survivors following the 12/89 freeze. So they grew others from these seeds.


So does that mean, I'm off to Sea World to collect some coconuts...? Oh, BTW, the two cocos by the fishbones restaurant, the one furthest from the building croaked but the other survived.
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#64 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 12:22 PM

LOL ! I'm sure Sea World used heaters under theirs !
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Eric
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#65 Walt

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 06:43 AM

I've now lived through 12 winters here in south central (inland) Florida. This past January was unlike any other I've experienced. The official weather station in my county (Highlands) recorded 12 consecutive nights below 40 degrees, with five of these nights below 30 degrees!

The lowest low (27.36 F) was recorded on January 12th, the last day of the 12-day streak. Also, there were three days in this period where the daytime highs never got out of the 40s! Only once in 12 years has my daytime temperature not got out of the 40s, and that was back in January of 2001, I think around the 5th, when I recorded my all-time low of 22 degrees during a radiational freeze.

This past January, even many zone 10+ palms and shrubs (mainly coconuts and adonidias), etc., around the lakes were cold damaged. Normally, during a 1-2 night shot of arctic air under almost always radiational cooling condtitions, the zone 10+ palm around the lakes are undamaged.

However, the protracted cold spell finally reduced the lake water temperatures down to a point where there was little nighttime heat to give off to the surrounding areas.

While the lakes are probably the best locations (except for extreme high ground locations) during radiational cooling events here in deep inland central Florida, they don't have the thermal inertia as the Atlantic and Gulf.

There are two older coconut palms up in town (150 feet above sea level) that I always check after each freeze event. I've been doing that for 12 years now. Only once before (not counting this past January) have I seen these palms cold/frost damaged.

This past January they were cold damaged and are now growing back new, but stunted fronds. But I believe these palms will eventually grow normally again.

In my travels throughout my county I've noted lots of damaged mature coconut palms, but also many dead ones. Most of the dead coconut palms were growing in nice microclimate locations and were normally not hurt during 1-2 night radiational cooling events. However, again, I think they ultimately succumbed to 12 straight days of abnormally low temperatures.

I have a very small coconut palm. It has maybe 3 feet of trunk. I don't know the variety of this coconut, but it's smaller in stature than most. Also, IMO, it's been a slow grower.

In any event, my coconut palm survived the 12 straight days of cold. The crown (all the fronds) were completely fried. However, I protected the trunk and growth bud by wrapping them with EasyHeat flexible heating cables, and then wrapping a mover's quilted blanket around the trunk to hold in the heat given off by the heating cables.
I also did this with my mature adonidia palm and bottle palm. The fronds got fried but the trunk and growth bud incurred no cold trauma. Supplemental heat and insulation around the trunk is the key to preventing freeze death of a coconut, adonidia, etc., palm. While the fronds may be killed, the trunk and root system goes undamaged, and there's enough food/starch storage in the trunk and root system to rapidly start regeneration a new crown come spring.

Posted Image

The above photo shows two coconut palms in town (at 150 elevation above sea level) showing cold damage on the lowest, oldest fronds. But as the days went by more and more leaves turned brown. This protracted cold spell has hurt these palms more than any other single-night freeze event ever did.

Posted Image

The above photo shows the same two coconut palms as they look now (after more extensive cold damage), recovering from the cold. I noted the newer fronds are somewhat stunted, indicating cold damage to the growth bud.

Posted Image

The above photo shows my small coconut palm after the freezes. While there is still green in some of the fronds, as the days went by most of the green tissue died and turned brown. Note the heating cables wrapped around trunk.


Posted Image

The above photo shows my small coconut palm now. So far it has only re grown four fronds (with a nice healthy spear coming out). However, the new fronds are not stunted, obviously because the palm didn't receive direct cold trauma to the growth bud and trunk, due to the heating cables and insulation that protected it.

The bay trees that were once in back and to the right side of my coconut palm (shown in preceeding photo) died of laurel wilt disease that is ravaging Florida right now. I cut them down since last January.
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#66 Walt

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 06:50 AM

Posted Image

View of my small coconut palm from the opposite side as above photo was taken. Hopefully, by this winter it will have mostly replaced its crown of fronds.
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#67 Zeeth

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 08:12 AM

Looking good Walt. I have seen an odd mix of damage around here. Some were damaged like yours, where all the leaves were burned, but the emerging fronds weren't stunted, and some had zero foliar damage, but the fronds that emerged after the cold were severely stunted, and of course the ones with 100% foliar damage and emerging stunted fronds. I've also seen a handful of coconuts that show no signs of a winter (zero foliar damaged and perfect emerging fronds). Those are much less common though, but it's a nice treat to find them! (what's even cooler is seeing one of these undamaged ones next to one killed outright by the freeze, then you know that the one tree must have had great genetics)
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#68 Walt

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 05:46 PM

Looking good Walt. I have seen an odd mix of damage around here. Some were damaged like yours, where all the leaves were burned, but the emerging fronds weren't stunted, and some had zero foliar damage, but the fronds that emerged after the cold were severely stunted, and of course the ones with 100% foliar damage and emerging stunted fronds. I've also seen a handful of coconuts that show no signs of a winter (zero foliar damaged and perfect emerging fronds). Those are much less common though, but it's a nice treat to find them! (what's even cooler is seeing one of these undamaged ones next to one killed outright by the freeze, then you know that the one tree must have had great genetics)



Yes, there sure was an odd mixture of cold damage. I have some Archontophoenix cunninghamiana palms with basically undamaged older fronds (that went through the 12-day cold spell, yet the new fronds ere stunted and ragged. I think the prolonged cold just affected the meristem. This is the opposite of what Dr. Tim Brochat of U. of Fla. told me in a lecture I attended some months ago. He said foilage was more cold tender than the meristem. I sure plan to apprise him of this contradiction the next time I get to talk to him.

I also think the prolonged cold affected the below coconut palm (at a residence in town). Note the date stamp of 01/11/2010. This was the 11th day of the cold period, and that night (the 12th) was the coldest night of that period. Note the palm appears unscathed (so far).

Posted Image

Above: Small coconut palm in town the day before the coldest night of the 12-day cold event. Note green fronds.

Posted Image

The same coconut palm on July 28, 2010. Note lots of still green foliage.


Posted Image

Close up of same coconut palm. I'm not sure if the top most fronds have been cut off, rotted off, or what. In any event, it doesn't look good. I doubt if this palm survives.
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#69 Zeeth

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 06:05 PM

That's pretty typical for the palms here that have not been removed. I think that the palm will survive, but it will be a while before it's back to normal.
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#70 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 05:20 AM

Walt, that coconut with the stunted leaves is suffereing from Manganese deficiency, "frizzletop". Often in coconuts its caused by cold weather as the roots shut down and it is unable to uptake nutrients.Those leaves were the ones forming during the cold event. It should grow out of it. That palm would probably benefit from a good, balanced fertilizing.
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#71 Walt

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 10:32 AM

Walt, that coconut with the stunted leaves is suffereing from Manganese deficiency, "frizzletop". Often in coconuts its caused by cold weather as the roots shut down and it is unable to uptake nutrients.Those leaves were the ones forming during the cold event. It should grow out of it. That palm would probably benefit from a good, balanced fertilizing.


Eric: Yes, I've read in numerous palm books that palms, especially zone 10+, due to winter (cold) soil temperatures, can't adequately take up minerals, and that's why I see lots of potassium deficiency in species like Dypsis lutescens.

But with regard to manganese deficiency to the coconut palm in town, what is left unexplained is why my small coconut palm doesn't exhibit manganese nor potassium deficiencies, and my soil was presumably just as cold!

The only variable (to my knowledge) between the coconut palm in town and mine, was that I protected my coconut's trunk and meristem with supplemental heat and insulation. So, I would presume there's some kind of correlation here, i.e., my palm, not incurring cold trauma to the trunk and meristem, must have been able to draw more efficiently the stored minerals in the trunk and root system and direct it to the meristem and new frond production.

In any event, I'm convinced now (after many winters of experimentation) that protecting the a palm's trunk and meristem (even if one can't protect the fronds) all but guarantees that the palm will survive. On caveat, though, when employing the use of heating cables one must use discretion and caution, as the cables, if used excessively (too many lineal feet of cable on the palm's trunk) and for too long, can heat damage the palm.
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Mad about palms

#72 Walt

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 05:18 PM

The below coconut palm is growing about 150 feet away from the N.E. end of lake June. There's many more growing along the north end but I didn't drive down that way today. However, I know they were hurt (cold damaged) because I saw them some months ago. Conversely, the coconut palms growin on the east side of the lake were only slightly cold damaged, all having what appears to be normal sized new fronds since the freezes.


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#73 sdba25

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 07:08 PM

Unprotected, coconut palms will not survive for very long north of Venice on the West Coast and Port St. Lucie on the East. They might survive a few years (maybe even a decade), but sooner or later they will succumb to a cold snap like 1989 and 2010.

However, you can have success growing them almost anywhere in Florida if you follow these tips:
- DAILY summertime irrigation is a must, as these guys do not like dry soil at all.
- Liquid copper fungicide is also a must, as regular treatments will make them more cold tolerant and less succeptable to fungus, brown spots, skeletonizers, and the hundred other things in Florida that will eat away at the leaves of these things if you do not treat them.
- Soil temperature MUST and I mean MUST be kept above 50 F most of the time, and never be allowed to drop below 40 F....the most common thing I see that wipes out most of the inland coconut palms here in the Tampa Bay Area is that we get repeated cold fronts and the soil becomes too wet and cold. So the coconuts will immediately show signs of frond rot/rust, until the whole tree just whithers away within a week or two. Unless you live in coastal Miami or south, you MUST run an outdoor-certified heat cable around the top of the rootball of the palm from December to March, which will not only heat the soil but keep it from getting waterlogged in the winter time. Most of them have a sensor that will automatically kick them in if the soil temp drops below 75 or 80 degrees F...it would be helpful to purchase good ones that have a thermostat so you can set the sensor to 65, you will recoup the higher cost of the better cables on your electric bill within a couple of months, because here in Central FL they will be running 24x7 for 2-3 months if they are set to 80 :)
- You MUST take measures to properly protect them from ALL freezes or temps below 40 F, exposure to a single freeze will effectively kill the palm.

This is what I do, and have never lost a coconut (and have actually been able to keep mine looking pretty good despite the 2010 cold):

For young palms smaller than 10' tall:
In early December, I treat the whole palm thoroughly with a liquid copper fungicide, install an outdoor heat coil around the base of the palm about 1" below the soil, and set the thermostat so that the coils will kick on whenever the soil temperature gets below 65 degrees. At this time, I also build a PVC frame around the whole tree, and wrap the trunk, heart, and lower part of the canopy with C4 Christmas Lights. It won't be an attractive sight for a few months, but trust me, it is the only way you will keep these suckers alive around here. Any night that it is forecast to get below 40 degrees outside, I turn on the C4 Christmas Lights and drape a big frost cloth over the whole PVC frame that was built, being sure to steak all edges of the frost cloth to the ground with metal steaks so the wind does not penetrate the structure. This combination of stuff usually keeps the coconut about 10-15 degrees warmer than the air temperature, I have actually observed this with temperature sensors...even if it gets down to 30 degrees outside, the palm is still only exposed to around 40-45 degree temps in its little microclimate that we built, even warmer around the heart of the palm if you wrap it really good with the warm light bulbs. Be sure to uncover the palm from the frost cloth in the morning as soon as the air temperature gets back into the 50's. The outer part of the fronds (the parts closer to or touching the edges of the microclimate) will usually take a bit of cold damage during a hard freeze, but keeping the heart of the palm and the roots warm with the combination of soil heating cable and C4's with frost cloth is the key to successfully overwintering a coconut. If the palm has taken some damage from the cold, be sure to immediately treat it with another treatment of liquid copper fungicide. That stuff is like CPR for cold-damaged palms, I have seen them virtually come back from the dead after being treated with it.

For bigger palms that are well established:
These are a lot more work, because the palms are too big to be able to build a complete microclimate over top of them. I do the same magic with the heating coils and liquid copper in December, which in itself gives coconuts a MUCH better chance of making it through the winter. I also install the C4 Christmas Lights over the trunk, heart, and lower canopy of the palm as before (only I usually need a big ladder to get up there with taller trees, very time consuming). Every time it is forecast to get below 40 degrees, I turn on the C4's, wrap the whole trunk with a few layers of Burlap, tie the canopy fronds up with padded rope (NOT STRING!) and drape a frost cloth over the canopy of the palm. I then secure the bottom of the frost cloth around the trunk of the palm on top of the burlap. Not quite as efficient as the microclimate that I build for smaller palms, but will at least protect the most important part of the coconut (the heart and lower canopy and the roots). Despite the efforts above, they will still usually take some cold damage, but will almost always recover unless it stays rediculously cold for several consecutive days like it did in 2010. Again, be sure to immediately treat any cold damage with liquid copper fungicide. You will need to uncover the palms every morning and re-cover them every night that it is cold. Do not get lazy with this, if you leave it exposed to near-freezing temps for even a single night it will likely fry the palm.

With bigger coconuts, protecting them like I do gets very time consuming and is a lot of work, just depends on how badly you want to successfully grow one outside of their natural habitat. You could probably grow a coconut as far north as Jacksonville if you are willing to invest the time to protect it from the cold like I do. But you have to be willing to get out there and spend an hour or more wrapping them up on every single cold night, which can be many consecutive nights for many months if you live in the northern part of the state. If you are not willing to protect them, then don't even waste your time trying to grow one, stick with something a little more cold tolerant like a Queen Palm or cold-hardy King Palm.

One thing I should mention though, if coconuts are exposed to repeated cold temperatures, they will typically either refuse to bear fruit, or the fruit will not have time to completely ripen before they sccumb to the cold. So while you can keep the tree itself looking good, you will typically not be able to use them for a reliable source of coconuts anywhere north of Miami.

Hope this helps,

Scott
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#74 garrin

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 07:45 PM

I don't really know why, perhaps because my mom's side of the family lived in Ft. Pierce when I was a child, which was as full of Jamaica Tall coconuts in the early 50's as Miami, I always saw the central FL coasts as great coconut territory. Then the freezes in the 60's changed everything so much that I have in the following decades always searched out every possible coconut survival area that far north every time I have been back to visit there. All your reports are absolutely fascinating to me, even though I have lived in Hawai'i for a couple of decades where coconuts are weeds in our gardens. I know a lot of the death of cocos was because of lethal yellowing, but I get as much thrill from seeing surviving coconuts in 'central' FL as I do looking at our beautiful groves of coconuts here in the Hilo area. All your input is as valuable to me as it is to a novice gardener in FL. Thanks much to all you observant eporters! Long Live the Cocos!!

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garrin in hawaii

#75 IHB1979

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 01:00 PM

Really interesting discussion. I agree with the map created and sdba25's comment about the northern limit for inland growth. I would add that coconuts are still doing well beachside as far north as Cocoa Beach on the east coast. I'm in Indian Harbour Beach and there are plenty of healthy mature coconuts.
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#76 sdba25

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:06 PM

Yeah I can't speak much for the East Coast because I live on the West. I know I have seem them up in Coco Beach, but from what I have heard those ones have been frequently replanted. They order up mature ones from nurseries in and around Miami that already have several feet of solid trunk on them. The only ones I can personally speak of are in Stuart. They took a real beating in early 2010 and looked like telephone poles. A few of them started coming back that summer, but the subsequent freezes that same December finished them off...they ended up dying from the fungus and disease that inevitably resulted from the cold damage, and the people I know that live there never bothered replanting them. They replaced them all with mature Cuban Royals.

 

Here in the Bay area we have lots of them right at the beach in and around Clearwater and further South. The warmer Gulf keeps the surface air (and more importantly, the soil) moderate enough to survive. We used to have them North as well all the way up to Tarpon Springs, but most of those bit the dust in the 80's and 90's and were never replanted, and what was left (even the very mature ones) bit the dust in 2010. The city now goes with hardier and less-maintenance palms like Sylvester Dates and that sort of thing. Most cocos you find in Tampa Proper now are in the backyards of people like me that protect them and better understand their nutritional needs, because they don't last very long unprotected. After the 2010 event, the only ones I know of that are inland, unprotected, and still doing reasonably well here are on Main St. in Dunedin, close to the Mease Hospital. They are planted right outside of a self-serve car wash that stays pretty busy all year, so the combination of the warm blowers and water from the garage on one side, and the traffic from the busy road on the other keeps them going. I have some in the Westchase area, but even here I have to do a lot of extra work to protect them. They have never fruited, because they always spend the whole summer recovering from damaged fronds from the previous winter. By the time they regenerate their whole canopy and start to look healthy again, it is time for more cold fronts. When they get big, it becomes very difficult economically to protect more than just the rootball and terminal bud. Further inland they are nonexistent, because the temperature during the cold fronts seems to drop 5 more degrees for every 10 miles North and/or East of here you get. Even within the city itself, you get a significant variance...there are times where my house will be in the high 30's and my colleagues up in Lutz or Temple Terrace will be hovering around freezing temps and have frost. It is not uncommon for Tampa to be 40 degrees and Cirtus County, only 30-40 miles North of here, will be in the low 20's or teens. You can drive from Zone 10 (Bradenton/St. Pete) to Zone 8b/9a in an less than an hour. So to sum it up, generally speaking where you live in the Tampa Bay area plays a very significant role in how successful you can be with any sort of tropical landscaping. The climate here is very unique, and can be very frustrating. The cold fronts land most of the city in Zone 9 on the hardiness chart, but as a whole the heat and humidity the other 95% of the year makes us a subtropical climate that is otherwise considered very much Zone 10. So the choices of landscaping are somewhat limited....pure Zone-8b/9 stuff doesn't do well here, because it is too hot and humid most of the year, and we don't get enough chill hours to make anything grow or bloom properly. On the other hand, the purely tropical stuff that loves our spring/summer/fall heat and humidity here will not tolerate any frost. So you have to keep a lot of spare sheets, frost cloth, the old non-LED style Christmas Lights around :)


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#77 Palmə häl′ik

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:41 PM

I've seen a mature one holdin fruit in Gibsonton, so take that into consideration. Weird thing is that I've also seen frost in GibTown!

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#78 PalmatierMeg

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:41 AM

I'm pretty much on the northern edge for winter survival of coconuts. I'm near the coast but not actually on the Gulf. They can survive a bit further north near saltwater, i.e., Matlacha, Pine Island. But they are few to none from northern Cape Coral and up. They also aren't found much further east of me, i.e., east Fort Myers & Lehigh Acres, which has a 9b climate.


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#79 tank

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:44 AM

I'm pretty much on the northern edge for winter survival of coconuts. I'm near the coast but not actually on the Gulf. They can survive a bit further north near saltwater, i.e., Matlacha, Pine Island. But they are few to none from northern Cape Coral and up. They also aren't found much further east of me, i.e., east Fort Myers & Lehigh Acres, which has a 9b climate.

 

Definitely cocos in Englewood and barrier islands further north into Sarasota county.


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Jason
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#80 Palmə häl′ik

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:21 PM

Definatley cocos all along anna maria island and bradenton bch which is way north of you
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