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Something Positive

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Let's salvage something positive out of this disastrous California weather. While the effects of the recent cold snap are still fresh in everyone's mind, let's try to document some info about the cold tolerence of various palms. Especially some of the newer introductions that may not have much of a track record.

This will be far from scientific. However, it may be useful. Let's try and keep it data oriented, as there are many threads already describing the grief and horror of this devastating weather.  Feel free to post pics to help document, or mention if you are referring to a small or mature specimen, or other relevant info.

Add other palm species, or post your experiences to an existing thread. With enough participation this could prove to be a valuable reference in coming years.

I will post a few to get it going.

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Dean, this is an excellent idea - could be the start of a CA Freeze Info list like the one Dave Witt created for Central FL - which some of us use as a reference.

Or the CRDB, which lists, for each palm, the size of the palm, the minimum temp and extent of freezing temps, the protection (if any) used, the damage noted.  CFPACS has an Observation Database like that, too.

The freeze in CA is shocking and it's so sad.  But if the data were organized, it could prove invaluable to CA palm growers.

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Dean..this is a good way to do it. I'll be back later to post the particulars at my place, then comment on species in the appropriate thread...well done.

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Steve,

Thanks for the idea. You get the credit. :)

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If you guys can.....please try and make a note if the palm being discussed was subjected to frost.

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(spockvr6 @ Jan. 15 2007,19:20)

QUOTE
If you guys can.....please try and make a note if the palm being discussed was subjected to frost.

You know Larry, Dean,

At what point would you "declare frost" ? It was so dry here that there really was no moisture to condense on surfaces...at least at the temps I saw.  

Should I declare it only if I saw it? ???

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Bill,

Apparently frost has a competely different connotation for the growers in Florida. I don't think they realize  that for us in California frost is really a good thing. That is, I would much rather have 25 degrees F with frost as opposed to 25 without. In other words, IMO, 25 and 85% humidity is less damaging than 25 and 15%. I don't believe Florida ever gets the low humidity that California can get at times.

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(IPSPTModerator @ Jan. 15 2007,23:12)

QUOTE
Bill,

Apparently frost has a competely different connotation for the growers in Florida. I don't think they realize  that for us in California frost is really a good thing. That is, I would much rather have 25 degrees F with frost as opposed to 25 without. In other words, IMO, 25 and 85% humidity is less damaging than 25 and 15%. I don't believe Florida ever gets the low humidity that California can get at times.

I think the lowest humidity I hit was 18%, usually during the cold was around 30%or higher.

Larry, do you want a "visible frost" report only?

Bill

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I'd like to add one other thing, especially as it applies to San Diego County.

All three of the coldest mornings (Sat, Sun, Mon) I was up and browsing on my computer for temps in the county.  I also checked my thermometer which is right outside the front door and under an eve.  Mind you, I live on Dictionary Hill and I'm assuming it was much colder in the areas below me.

Sat at 4am my thermometer was registering 44F, Sun at 4am it registered 40F, and Mon at 4am it registered 42F.  I'm guessing about 20 feet away from the house it was probably six degrees coooler.

Anyway, I was also browsing at other readings around the county.  I noticed at these coldest times at 4am that places at elevation were much warmer than low lying areas.  It didn't matter if it was near the ocean or not.

For instance, I think it was Sun am at 4am and the Alpine station was reporting 38F while El Cajon was 24F.  Del Mar Heights was reporting 42F and Oceanside was something like 29F.  If I remember correctly Ramona was 34F or thereabouts.

So, I think that elevation to a certain extent was crucial to whether or not one's place went under 32.  A friend of mine who lives in the flats of El Cajon said it got to 23F in his backyard most of those nights.

I don't live that far from Matt in Lemon Grove and I was shocked at some of the temps he was reporting.  I thought most of Lemon Grove was on a gradual ridge.  Didn't they use to grow lemons there--which is the most cold-sensitive of the citrus?

-Ron-

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(IPSPTModerator @ Jan. 16 2007,02:12)

QUOTE
Bill,

Apparently frost has a competely different connotation for the growers in Florida. I don't think they realize  that for us in California frost is really a good thing. That is, I would much rather have 25 degrees F with frost as opposed to 25 without. In other words, IMO, 25 and 85% humidity is less damaging than 25 and 15%. I don't believe Florida ever gets the low humidity that California can get at times.

From what I have seen related to the damaging effects of frost, I am not sure Id take frost at 25F over no frost and 25F.  Im pretty sure Id take no frost!  But, I have no idea what 25F and 15% RH would do in comparison.

One of the prayers of commercial growers with wide open fields is a bit of wind (even if it drops the temp a bit) as it can keep frost at bay.

But, I understand what you are getting at re: frost as it implies there is more moisture in the air.

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Good point Ron,

While it is not uncommon for the higher areas to be warmer, this particular event seems to be unusually selective for the low lying areas.  For three years of monitoring now, my house has been 3 degrees colder at night than Lindbergh field (exactly 3 degrees on literally every cold winter night).  But this one has been different.  I was 5 degrees colder Saturday night (33F), but then the last two nights I've been warmer than Lindbergh field (and I've NEVER been warmer than Lindbergh field at night in 3 years).

Just drive around, it is mind blowing how much worse the damage is in low spots relative to high spots.  Looks like topography beats geography when it really matters!

Matt

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This is a brilliant thread, congrats to all the inputters. A similar one could be done on drought hardiness, maybe even now for here we are in drought.

This is science by the people for the people in real time. Wonderful.

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(Wal @ Jan. 16 2007,14:17)

QUOTE
This is a brilliant thread, congrats to all the inputters. A similar one could be done on drought hardiness, maybe even now for here we are in drought.

This is science by the people for the people in real time. Wonderful.

Yes Wal, and from what I understand, drought tolerance often equates to cold tolerance.   Maybe after we finish looking at all the varieties in this freeze, we could begin to look at where that correlation is true, where it's not and why.

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I went out and walked around my 6 acres of plants (mainly cycads) yesterday and thought they'd done pretty well in the three nights of sub 20 degres

Then I did the same walk at luchtime today and the difference was devastating,  what seemed "slight" damage yesterday is total brown today.

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I think frost SHOWS more damage to the foliage than no Frost does..... When you get a frost (up here they refer to it as the "Killing Frost"), you see the foliage wilt immediately, whereas, without a frost, you may not notice the damage right away..... In any case, I think I'd rather have no frost.

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I don't expect you guys on the east coast to understand what an extremely dry freeze does to things. You don't live in a desert like SoCal. In a very dry, very cold episode we get what is called "black frost." I saw this in my garden in 1989.

28 degrees is 28 degrees no matter how you cut it. The tissue in the plant will still trend toward 28. However, when it is so extremely dry, the moisture gets sucked out of the plant (even at night and at 28), and at that point, moisture is the only thing left to insulate the inside and outside of the leaf. With the small insulating value of this moisture gone, the leaf is defenseless.

I walked out the next morning after the '89 freeze in California to see the new growth on mature avocados as black and as crispy as if they had been on fire, and there hadn't been a hint of frost anywhere all night. The few other times I have hit 28, the avos showed no damage.

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I'm with Larry on this one.

FROST can be devastating here in Florida even when temps don't go below freezing. There are certain palms that will not tolerate FROST here at all veitchia,kings,foxtails, and royals are a few.

That is why I asked Jim in Los Altos in the howea thread if he had frost?

I don't know  but it seems to me that FROST  in Florida that damages palms ,would also damage them in California?

Maybe it is a situation that things are so different between the two growing areas, that comparisons can't be made. Maybe the climate ,the soil,and various other factors make it impossible to relate  the two states? Just a thought!

Anyway wishing you guys the best out there!

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Dean,

I was typing my post, as you were posting the explaination! :D  We are trying to make comparisons ,where maybe they don't compare! apples an oranges! :;):

You are absolutely right about two kinds of frost, HOAR frost(white ice crystals you can see),and BLACK frost which you can't see! I mentioned this on another thread where EPICURE said, frost shouldn't be a problem as there was no moisture in the air!

Hoar frost forming with high humidty,moisture in the air!

Black  frost forming with lower humidity and or very little moisture.

I think the black frost ,from what I have seen does exactly what you are saying,turns the foilage a DARK brown or black  almost immediately,as opposed to hoar frost which turns the plant tisssue a lighter brown ,by comparison!

All in all, like you say we aren't there, so we can't appreciate your climate,in California.Since I have been on this board I have  asked questions, and tried to figure it out,but it eludes me, And the reason is because as you say I haven't experienced it! :)

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I like this new forum, it should other cold hardiness databases out of business. The Feb 14th frost/freeze was well documented. Should we be posting information from previous frosts and freezes from other parts of the country and world or is this just dedicated to this last freeze in California? (Maybe info from other freezes is in here and this is pointless posting, I haven't had a chance to read most of these  :;):  )

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(ruskinPalms @ Jan. 16 2007,12:53)

QUOTE
I like this new forum, it should other cold hardiness databases out of business. The Feb 14th frost/freeze was well documented. Should we be posting information from previous frosts and freezes from other parts of the country and world or is this just dedicated to this last freeze in California? (Maybe info from other freezes is in here and this is pointless posting, I haven't had a chance to read most of these  :;):  )

Bill,

That's a good question that I don't have an answer to. So I am going to pin it for some feedback. I just wanted to get something out there as soon as possible before memories started fading.

Scott,

I'll get back to you on that. No time right now.

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Here's a quick summary comparing what I think happens in frosty freezes and dry freezes.  More details below for those who care:

dry freeze = slightly colder palm leaves, much less time below freezing

frost/humid freeze = slightly warmer palm leaves, much more time below freezing.

Maybe some plants are more sensitive to the duration of the freeze, which makes frosty/humid freezes worse than dry ones in some cases...

------------------------------------------------------------

I've devoted a LOT of time to studying microclimates.  It's very confusing and complicated, and most of it went over my head.  But, here are some things I think I understand.  I've left out a lot of details so this won't take forever to write/read....

1) At night, objects on the earth's surface radiate energy out to space.  These objects become colder than the air around them, so energy from the atmosphere is transferred to these objects.  By transferring energy to these objects, the atmosphere cools down, and we record the temperature of the atmosphere.  

2) Temperatures of plant leaves have been measured at night.  On very clear, dry nights the surface of an average size leaf tends to be about 2C (4F) colder than the ambient air the surrounds it.  

3) As the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere increases, the temperature of the leaf surface is closer to the temperature of the atmosphere around it, so it's slightly warmer than on a dry night.  

4) So, for a given temperature (say 0C = 32F), the lower the relative humidity the colder the palm leaf.  This means that the dry freezes we've been having in SoCal produce colder palm leaves than the frost forming freezes in Florida.

So, it seems like a dry freeze will be more damaging that a freeze that produces frost on the leaves because the leaves will be a little colder.  But, observations from Florida seem to contradict this conclusion, and I think I know why thanks to a post from Ray.  He said the temperature fell below freezing at 4PM when he had a low of 24F in 1989 and didn't rebound until 11AM.  In this SoCal freeze, the places that hit 24F didn't drop below freezing until maybe midnight, and recovered by 8AM.  So, for a freeze of a given temperature, the dry one will be shorter.  This is because the temperature changes more quickly on dry nights because water is a very efficient greenhouse gas.

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If I'm hearing this CA vs. FL frost debate right, it sounds like frost at any temperature above 32F is bad and frost at any temperature below 32F is good.

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(elHoagie @ Jan. 16 2007,18:13)

QUOTE
So, it seems like a dry freeze will be more damaging that a freeze that produces frost on the leaves because the leaves will be a little colder.  But, observations from Florida seem to contradict this conclusion, and I think I know why thanks to a post from Ray.  He said the temperature fell below freezing at 4PM when he had a low of 24F in 1989 and didn't rebound until 11AM.  In this SoCal freeze, the places that hit 24F didn't drop below freezing until maybe midnight, and recovered by 8AM.  So, for a freeze of a given temperature, the dry one will be shorter.  This is because the temperature changes more quickly on dry nights because water is a very efficient greenhouse gas.

Jack,

I completly understand what you are saying in your post.

However the post Ray made, was for the 89 freeze which was a totally different animal than the 1 maybe 2 freezes we might get each year.

Almost  all are of short duration usually less than six hours ,most  much less than that!

What we are saying about frost is that it really doesn't even have to FREEZE ,(get below 32 F) for us to experience FROST. I have had frost at 38 degrees with my temp probe 4 feet off the ground. Frost which can do damage to exposed foliage.

I am really begining to belive, as I stated previously that comparisons of the two very different climates can not be made!

And the more we try to explain it coming from two different points, only reenforces this point! :;):

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Some interesting feedback  :D

As I was reviewing temperatures of this freeze I couldn't help but notice that the major cities [san Francisco/Los Angeles/San Diego] all stayed above freezing even though their terrain is somewhat different from each other.

San Francisco [city not the airport which isn't even in San Francisco] and adjoining Pacifica stayed well above freezing [even above 40F on several nights] while down the pennisula and certainly in the nearby valleys minimums dropped into the 20's in places.  San Francisco is, of-course, surrounded on 3 sides by the ocean/bay & frost is nearly unheard of yet it is one of the coolest cities in the nation during summer! ???

San Diego bay is also strongly influenced by the ocean and areas right on the water stayed above freezing but just a few miles inland and within the city of San Diego temps dropped below freezing & upper 20's in places.

Both LAX [airport] & the downtown NWS station at USC did not experience frost yet downtown is 10 miles from the Pacific while the airport is right on the coastline.  In fact the Los Angeles basin stayed above freezing with a few exceptions thru-out this episode.  I believe both LAX and downtown dropped to 32F during the 1990 freeze.  So why not this time? Just like the other cities, the nearby valleys easily fell into the 20's for at least one night though there probably some exceptions.

The arctic air mass in California, unlike what Texas is currently observing, was extremely dry.  There was little if any clouds and with dew points/relative humidity well below 20% the night time temps plunged.  Low humidity is common during winter & certainly during offshore winds.

There was frost noted but also many areas much below freezing that did not observe frost.  None the less, the damage was quite extensive both to private & commercial gardens.  The loss to the citrus/avocado industry will be a major setback economically.  It's hard to look at the TV footage of the damage to the groves  :(

Wind certainly played its role & later in the weekend some valley locations [san Fernando/San Gabriel] stayed above 40F when the day before they were in the 20's & areas around stayed in the 20's/30's thru the duration of the freeze.

BTW the arctic air mass moved into NorCal on Thursday & frost/freeze warnings are still posted today in the Central Valley!  SoCal was invaded starting Saturday & even this morning some areas were below freezing though many areas were above 40F.  The cold air may remain in some of the low-lying pockets/canyons even tonight before the humidity rises a bit.

This event will be studied thoroughly by weather & garden folks as we learn much from "mother nature." :o

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(gsn @ Jan. 16 2007,15:29)

QUOTE
What we are saying about frost is that it really doesn't even have to FREEZE ,(get below 32 F) for us to experience FROST. I have had frost at 38 degrees with my temp probe 4 feet off the ground. Frost which can do damage to exposed foliage.

Scott,

I was attempting to explain one of the many differences between this SoCal freeze and the typical Fl freeze.  I agree that the two are very different, but I was trying to figure out why a frosty freeze might be more damaging that a dry one.

What I was trying to say is that a leaf surface can drop below freezing even if the surrounding atmosphere is as warm as 2C (36F).  And this surrounding atmosphere is often much colder than what is measured by a probe 4ft off the ground.  I've seen frost form on windshields when the ambient temperature at 4ft is 5C (41F)!  The bottom line is that no matter what the air temperature, if frost forms on an object then that object is below 0C (32F).

Jack

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(gsn @ Jan. 16 2007,15:29)

QUOTE
However the post Ray made, was for the 89 freeze which was a totally different animal than the 1 maybe 2 freezes we might get each year.

Almost  all are of short duration usually less than six hours ,most  much less than that!

I think most Florida freezes are of shorter duration because the temperature of the freeze is more like 28-30F, not 24F.  I was comparing two freezes with the same minimum temperature.  Either way, the duration of the freeze would be even shorter if the air was dry...

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(elHoagie @ Jan. 16 2007,19:01)

QUOTE
What I was trying to say is that a leaf surface can drop below freezing even if the surrounding atmosphere is as warm as 2C (36F).  And this surrounding atmosphere is often much colder than what is measured by a probe 4ft off the ground.  I've seen frost form on windshields when the ambient temperature at 4ft is 5C (41F)!  The bottom line is that no matter what the air temperature, if frost forms on an object then that object is below 0C (32F).

Jack

Jack,

I totally agree with you, if frost forms on the plant, the plant got to 32 dregrees.

But the simple matter of fact is temps aren't measured with a probe stuck in the plant tissue.

The temps whether they be offical temps, or back yard temps are measuring the ambient temps of the air at what ever level they are from the ground,not the plant surface!

My point is  frost can and does form on plants when the ambient temps are above freezing if conditions are right! :)

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(elHoagie @ Jan. 16 2007,18:13)

QUOTE
Here's a quick summary comparing what I think happens in frosty freezes and dry freezes.  More details below for those who care:

dry freeze = slightly colder palm leaves, much less time below freezing

frost/humid freeze = slightly warmer palm leaves, much more time below freezing.

Jack,

I,agree with you that a dry freeze could produce slightly colder leaves.

And that as you put it frost/humid freeze slightly warmer leaves.

I am no expert on weather by any means,

however I can't agree that a dry freeze is shorter in duration,and a humid freeze longer in duration simply because there is moisture in one and not the other!

 

There are so many factors involved as to how long a freeze will last that I couldn't begin to decipher

How fast is the front moving,how heavy is the air mass,

Did it collide with a warm front coming out of the tropics, did the jet stream swoop in at the last minute and take it north ,instead of pushing farther south,  did the Gulf moderate the temps,did the Atlantic moderate the temps, did the wind die,did the wind pick up,did a butterfly fly south across the equator, instead of flying north across it  :;): you get my drift!!!

Enjoying the debate!

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(Cycadcenter @ Jan. 16 2007,16:33)

QUOTE
I went out and walked around my 6 acres of plants (mainly cycads) yesterday and thought they'd done pretty well in the three nights of sub 20 degres

Then I did the same walk at luchtime today and the difference was devastating,  what seemed "slight" damage yesterday is total brown today.

This is why I'm waiting a bit to add data here. It's too soon to know. Plants that looked like they maybe were OK on Sunday, look really bad today. I'm gonna give it a few weeks.

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There's something to be said about the difference in a dry freeze versus a wet freeze. For example the farmers were watering heavily during this freeze due to the moisture holding in the heat of the plant. But I understand that once the temp drops below 25F it doesn't matter if there is frost or not & severe damage will occur.

I was very cognizant about the low moisture levels and tempted to water at least potted plants but decided to hold off until yesterday. With the strong super-dry winds keeping the soil damp is hard. The issue of root rot plays a role.

This winter has been bone dry in California so watering is a must but I have noticed during warmer/wetter winters when minimums rarely drop below 50F that the palms/subtropical look raggedly anyway  ??? s

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(spockvr6 @ Jan. 16 2007,13:07)

QUOTE
One of the prayers of commercial growers with wide open fields is a bit of wind (even if it drops the temp a bit) as it can keep frost at bay.

Okay one more example of how we can't compare the two climates.(apples and oranges)

As I was watching durning your freeze event everybody was hoping for the winds to kick up to moderate or raise the temps.

Here it is usually the opposite, as the winds if very strong, usually lowers the temps. We do like a bit of wind 5 MPH to 10 MPH on a radiational night to ward off the frost,but we really don't want an advective windy freeze event!

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I think everyone is missing the point trying to compare different goegraphical regions and freeze "type". I think it is just important to record as many of the weather variables you have available when you post about your experience. Yeh, you guys are right, most freezes in FL are wetter (but not all!) and most freezes in CA are dry (but not all!). Just stick to the facts folks! True, this info from this freeze may not be useful for me in FL until I have drier radiational freeze (which the radiational freezes here in FL can be pretty damn dry as far as humidity levels!) Sure a radiational event that only makes it to 30 to 35 degrees F here in FL will probably produce tons of frost on stuff. But, a radiational freeze that makes it to 24F here would probably be dry with less frost than the great Feb 14th freeze that happened here last year (probably very similar to this recent cali freeze). IMO, the more moisture in the air, the warmer it is going to stay (i think...) with less duration below freezing. He dicho....

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I'm still trying to make sense out of why my garden seems to have escaped significant damage, when others in warmer climates further south lost so many palms.

My min/max thermometer is in a protected spot on the back porch.  Saturday morning it read 36 F and Sunday morning it read 34 F.  (My lowest temperature last winter was 34 F as well).  However, I know it got colder than that out in my garden on both Saturday and Sunday.  I'm not far from elHoagie and at a slightly higher elevation.  He reported lows of 30 F and 27 F on those nights, so for the sake of argument let's say I was 1 or 2 degrees colder than he in the open.  I spent several hours in the garden on Sunday (mainly watering) and noted no cold damage (there was wind damage from the Santa Anas we had 15 to 20 days ago).

This time of year I go to work before dawn and and return home when after dark, so my garden inspection Monday and Tuesday was limited to what I could see with a flashlight or the garden spotlights.  I have a big garden (2/3 acre) with lots of palms.  But other than a burned banana and Heliconia schiediana (both of which are in a cold trap), the only damage I saw was light burning on the leaves of one of my big majesties and on the horizontal leaves of two small Pritchardias.  I won't know until I can see the garden on Saturday if there is more.  But my big foxtail's newer leaves are still green (I sent my wife out to doublecheck at noon today), my Syagrus botryophora looks fine and my Ravenala madagascariensis shows just the usual winter spotting.

elHoagie's hypothesis is that I was saved by a combination of microclimate (a south-facing, sloping garden) and lots of high tree cover (pines, oaks, deodars and redwoods), and I think he's right.  In the case of the foxtail, its leaves are about 10 feet from the base and right next to it there is a 3 foot drop.  So the growing point is about 15 feet above the "deck" next to the pool and there must have been a several degree difference between the deck and the crownshaft (the pool probably helped).

The other factor that made a difference is that ever since I bought Palms for Southern California in 2002, I have given preference to palms that will take 27 degrees or below and I've tried to buy at least 15 gallon size.  As Palmazon said, "Size does matter."  I have more tender palms, but for me really "pushing the envelope" is to plant Archontophoenix alexandrae (no damage that I can see).

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First let me say if I had known that asking a question about whether you had FROST or not, would have fueled this east -west debate,I wouldn't have asked the question.

I just ASSUMED that frost had the same affect on you guys as it does on us.You  know what happens when you ASSUME it makes an ASS - U - ME, I guess mostly me in this case. :;):

Since Dean said they would rather have frost ,than no frost, I knew we were talking about a different animal! I  would have a no frost policy in my yard if that was possible!

It was not my intention to get into a debate about whether your dry freezes are more or less damaging that our wet humid freezes. A freeze is a FREEZE and it is going to cause damage to most crown shafted palms! Suffice it say they are different,as probably every freeze event is somewhat different.

Last but not least, looking at the pictures of the devastation is really hard,and they are not even my PALMS.Hoping every thing that  wasn't killed outright survives! We are only one event from being right there with you!

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Fred in La Canada

Jack in Altadena

Happ in Mt Washington

Great triangle of gardens & conditions.  Fred are you located in the San Rafael Hills or foothills of San Gabriels?

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I like the info, even if some has come in debate form. As the other Bill said, we can use the info from either coast depending on what type of cold front it is coming thru.  About the only thing that I don't think would apply much at all to Florida is the elevation temp changes.  Most of Florida is very flat, and I can pretty much guarantee that no one over there has a 100' deep canyon that butts up to their back yard!!   But as we are seeing, even a 10-15' change can make a difference.

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BS MAN,

As you know I have been asking questions about your cali weather (climate) for some time,obviously  I have no clue even now! :laugh:

You are absolutly right right we have no 100 foot deep canyons in our back yard! There is a ridge that runs down the  western center of central florida,the LAKE WALES RIDGE,which I guess does help som people with micro climates.I think it is like a 150 feet high! A mountain of elevation in Florida :;):

However some might have a 100 foot deep SINK HOLE in there back yard. However within a couple of years it usually turns into a small lake!

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This may have been discussed (I didn't read every single post - just glanced thru most of them). Having live in both So FL (7 years) and SoCal (10 years), what I remember from cold spells is a dramatic difference when it comes to one issue: wind! In FL I remember we would have a day or two of wet weather, followed by a very strong, BITTERLY cold wind from the north. If the temp was, say 32F, the windchill HAD to be in the low 20s at those times. In SoCal, by contrast, the coldspells I experienced (22F TWICE!) had hardly ANY wind. It would seem to me that this difference is significant??

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(gsn @ Jan. 16 2007,19:20)

QUOTE
First let me say if I had known that asking a question about whether you had FROST or not, would have fueled this east -west debate,I wouldn't have asked the question.

I just ASSUMED that frost had the same affect on you guys as it does on us.You  know what happens when you ASSUME it makes an ASS - U - ME, I guess mostly me in this case. :;):

Since Dean said they would rather have frost ,than no frost, I knew we were talking about a different animal! I  would have a no frost policy in my yard if that was possible!

It was not my intention to get into a debate about whether your dry freezes are more or less damaging that our wet humid freezes. A freeze is a FREEZE and it is going to cause damage to most crown shafted palms! Suffice it say they are different,as probably every freeze event is somewhat different.

Last but not least, looking at the pictures of the devastation is really hard,and they are not even my PALMS.Hoping every thing that  wasn't killed outright survives! We are only one event from being right there with you!

Scott,

I have stayed out of all of these frost/freeze radiational/advective discussions before because of all the complicated concepts involved, and the difficulty of communicating them accurately in a venue such as this.

Perhaps I should have stayed that course.  :) However, something you said triggered a thought as to why east and west seem to view this so differently.

Before I bring up that line of thinking, let me try to clarify an important point first.

What do you mean by frost? Are you referring to frost on the leaves of the palm? In California, when I hear someone say there was frost, I think the person is referring to frost on the ground, generally on a lawn. Sometimes they say, "I had frost on my car," explaining that it was so cold there was even frost up off the ground. But in my mind they never mean frost on the leaves of plants. In fact, I have never seen frost on the leaves of anything in my coastal garden more than a foot or so off the ground.

So, are we talking about the same thing?

Help me to clarify that first before I take the next step.

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As a 34-year resident of Florida till recently, I have to contradict BS and GSN about the elevation effects on temperature in Florida. In one of my many freeze mornings in central Florida, I went to a side yard sloping downward very gently, probably no more than a foot of elevation between two digital temperature probes 100 ft apart and hundreds of feet away from my house. The probes read current temps as being different by 5 dF, the lower temp at the lower probe. Being skeptical about the information, I switched probes and waited for them to stabilize. The probes then replicated the original observations.

Where is Walt in Lakeland on this? He is located at a relatively low elevation, and has had devastating effects from freezes. But he knows of communities on the local ridges that have mature coconuts and royal palms unaffected by freezes over many years.

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