Bismarkia nobilis

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Lookin' much better Tom.

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(epicure3 @ Aug. 01 2007,00:06)

QUOTE
Lookin' much better Tom.

Yeah I was really concerned that some of my favorite palms were not going to survive, but my two largest have evolved 5 new spears(some of which have opened) since the freeze.  I do have a smaller one(in the ground only 1 1/2 years) that did nto fare so well, it has only 1 new palm and one spear at this time.  Bizzies are tougher than I thought.  I find it interesting that all exposed fronds/spears on all my Bizzies and my phx roebelinii were toasted, and they are both rated by various palm authorities for about 25-26 degrees F.  I guess the bizzies are about as cold tolerant as the ratings say.

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Nov 07 the largest bizzie has recovered with 8 new opened fronds and 2 spears rising up.  I took this aspect view as it shows the most recent opened frond.

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Nice recovery! Heat definitely helps. Hope this winter's better than last year...

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(fastfeat @ Nov. 05 2007,21:17)

QUOTE
Nice recovery! Heat definitely helps. Hope this winter's better than last year...

I have trouble imagining how it can be worse.

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(epicure3 @ Nov. 11 2007,00:26)

QUOTE

(fastfeat @ Nov. 05 2007,21:17)

QUOTE
Nice recovery! Heat definitely helps. Hope this winter's better than last year...

I have trouble imagining how it can be worse.

"Worse" would be if FL has your kind of cold this Winter... :P

Sorry...

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(m_crowther @ Mar. 14 2007,01:44)

QUOTE

(PalmGuyWC @ Feb. 07 2007,12:48)

QUOTE
My Bismarkia, about 4" high, is looking worse and worse.  Now the center fronds are turning tan.  It's low was 23F and many other nights of below freezing.  I think it's gonna bite the dust.  Oh well, leaves a nice sunny spot for something more hardy.  It was an "experiment" anyway.

Dick

My Bizzie very similar in size to Dicks, but still in a small box, just pulled the spear out, completely rotten  :(  . Low of 22F and many nights below freezing.

Another Bizzie, same size but in the ground is doing OK so far.

Update on this Bizzie. 22F for a few nights and about a week below freezing.

I thought it was a gonner for sure. It was in a small box and as described above, the spear pulled and it sat for a couple months with nothing happening, just an empty hole .

One day I figured it was time to throw it away but first I got out my sawzall and started hacking at it. About 4inches above the soil line, I was surprised to find live tissue so I figured I would leave it alone and see what happens. Within an hour it had pushed out about 1/4 inch and a day later it was out about an inch. Almost like it was jammed and cutting off the old dead trunk released the pressure.

It has grown steadily ever since. The funny thing is the seedling next to it never skipped a beat.

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Here is an image of it just a few months earlier.

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1 plant, 7' OA height

22f, multiple hours and nights below freezing

10% leaf burn, fully recovered

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One plant 7' OA height

19f, many hours and nights below freezing

10% leaf burn

Fully recovered

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Three plants, large 15 gal size

19f, many hours and nights below freezing

70% leaf burn

Fully recovered

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In late Febuary I visited a local nursery to see if I could find any left-overs from last year on sale. They had just gotten in several 25gal Bismarcks. They were huge, really nice palms for $225 ea. and had great color. Since that visit we had an extreemly mild cold snap. In some areas it dipped to 32F briefly and there was no real frost to speak of. I went back to the nurserey a few days ago and was shocked to see every one of them was fried. I can't imagine that they will not recover from such a mild event, but for now they are looking terrible. Perhaps they were grown deep in zone 10 S. Florida and given they were so mature, had no tolerance built up for cold.

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We had a 15-hour freeze on 3 Jan 2008, 23.3F, plus a few other mid-20s freezes lasting about 8 hours each in mid-January. Probably a half-dozen other light freezes and frosts above 28F. The Bismarckia showed about the same level of cosmetic damage, spotty on a few (but not all) leaves, as in 2007, when the low hit 22.8F. Damage doesn't really show until Feb/March on these. But the plant is fine, I'm sure, and should start back into growth any time. We've got our 80F days with humidity and they're here to stay, so new spears should start anytime.

Regarding the fried Bizzies at the South Louisiana nursery, I'm sure they were tender plants just brought in from Florida as you suggest. I've seen others left out at the HDs in Baton Rouge and they just take minor damage in their containers with mid-20s temps, usually looking a bit better than Washingtonia robusta. If you're looking for some unblemished specimens, yesterday I was at the HD in Kenner right near the Nola Airport, and they had 7, 10 and 15 gal Bizzies at great prices. Huge! Also lots of other palms, many species in all sizes, everything from Needles to Adonidias(!).

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My Bismark has been in the ground for almost 2 years. This summer it looks liek the root system has been established as the groth really took off. Six new fronds so far (1 just opened since the picture) and 2 more ready to open. I wrapped the trunk this winter in only Christmas lights. The palm is behind a 12 foot Mexican Fan Palm which somewhat protects it from North winds but no canopy to protect it from the frost. We had two mornings of a brief 27 degrees which warmed up quickly once the sun came up. There was also a light frost. The palm suffered no damage. The only problem it seemed to have was wind burn. We get some cold fronts from the NW that are sometimes sustained winds of 30mph for hours.

August 2008

DSCF2126.jpg

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one with 2ft of CT two 4 leafers hit 32 last night for the 2nd consecutive night. last night with frost and no damage to any of them.

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I'll guarantee it was in the VERY low 20's or possibly even the high teens, and the 15 gal bizmarkia's i had stashed underneath some allspice trees showed no damage at all.

biz.jpg

Hi Burt:

Is this the normal colorization of the Bismark in the winter? I have one slightly larger in the ground in Florida and was concerned that it was distressed because of the color. Thanks.

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My 8' specimen was exposed to several hard freezes this year. Lowest temps were in mid-low 20's and there was at least one heavy frost. It burnt pretty badly on all fronds horizontal or below. With the exception of the most recent frond that had opened only a day or two before the big frost, the fronds above horizontal had relatively little damage (maybe 15-20% at most). The young leaf lost about 1/2 the tissue. 4 months later in June, it's about to open it's second frond and there are two more emerging rapidly. Our weather has been swinging from hot and dry to cool and wet. We've had extremely wet weather for the last 3-4 weeks. I'm pleasantly surprised with it's performance. However if it survives more than a couple more years, I'm going to have to do some relandscaping in the backyard. There is no way I have space for full sized Bizzy!

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These were my temps in F. (most of these nights temps stayed below freezing for 2 to 12 hours per night. I have 5 Bizmarkia's in the ground.

Jan Hi Low

3 50 30

4 56 29

5 54 26

6 58 28

7 65 27

8 46 31

9 47 26

10 50 25

11 56 25

12 64 37

13 58 31

14 67 32

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Palm #1 was the largest and most established. Full exposure with frost on approx. 5 nights. Approx 50% damage to leaves. No damage to petioles. Expect full recovery.

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Palm #2 Full exposure and not fully established having only been in the ground for approx. 9 months. 50% leaf damage and some damage to petioles with damaged leaves. On leaf on the right collapsed but was only partially browned. The red and orange colors you see on this palm are not damage...just cool looking colors.

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More from palm #2 with damaged leaves taken off.

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Palm #3 is my best blue color Bizzy. It is going to be a stunner when it gets large. This palm received no supplemental Christmas light heat around the spear area, The others received supplemental light heat only around the spear and trunk for about 5 of the freezing nights. This little palm was covered with a tarp during 1 cold rain and on a few nights when I expected frost, but it still got frosted and was otherwise in a fully exposed position.

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Bizzy #4 is my most green Bizmarkia and I think is was also the most damaged. I would say it had approx. 60% leaf damage. This palm is expected ( like the others) to make a full recovery. All of my Bizmarkias had some growth throughout the cold which suprised me. This palm is in a lightly protected position under some large W.robustas.

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Palm #5 is my biggest shocker. It has always loved this spot that I planted it in. It gets morning sun, mid day dappled sun and shade in the evening. It has been happy since the day it was planted and I have only cut 3 leaves off in almost 2 years. It is not the most blue, but it does have pretty good color. It received NO DAMAGE in its protected area near a oak tree and large S. palmetto's. I was able to provide it with Christmas lights around the base and spear for 5 of the freezing nights. I was also able to cover it with a sheet on some of the nights that I expected frost. The last picture shows the amount of vegetation around the palm. The fence blocks the west wind.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with all of my Bizmarkia's performance during this highly unusual cold winter. We had an additional 5 sporadic nights of freezing during February. Although I did not experience absolute lows for my area, the length of freezing temps was pretty extreme. Hope this info. helps anyone in my climate zone that would like to give this beautiful palm a shot.

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Palm #5 is my biggest shocker. It has always loved this spot that I planted it in. It gets morning sun, mid day dappled sun and shade in the evening. It has been happy since the day it was planted and I have only cut 3 leaves off in almost 2 years. It is not the most blue, but it does have pretty good color. It received NO DAMAGE in its protected area near a oak tree and large S. palmetto's. I was able to provide it with Christmas lights around the base and spear for 5 of the freezing nights. I was also able to cover it with a sheet on some of the nights that I expected frost. The last picture shows the amount of vegetation around the palm. The fence blocks the west wind.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with all of my Bizmarkia's performance during this highly unusual cold winter. We had an additional 5 sporadic nights of freezing during February. Although I did not experience absolute lows for my area, the length of freezing temps was pretty extreme. Hope this info. helps anyone in my climate zone that would like to give this beautiful palm a shot.

David: Like many other folks have discovered, I too have come to realize that the silver form of Bismarkia noblis is hardier than what was once thought. I have seven silver bismarkia palms of various sizes planted in the ground. They only suffered some minor leaf damage to some of the lower most fronds. I had two nights of 28F degrees (two nights in a row), plus many nights in the low 30s this past winter.

The winter before last I had a low of 23 degrees and had more damage; all of the lowermost fronds were severely damaged, but the top upper half of fronds weren't damage.

I believe as your bismarkia palms grow they will fare even better under the same freeze condidions. My larger bismarkia palms (with some trunk) did better than my smallest ones.

I stopped tracking such things, but I recall getting up to 11 fronds per year on my bismarkia palms, so yours should regenerate a complete new canopy in short time.

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Add Bismarckia to the compost pile for Winter 2010 here in SE Texas. Looked like they had made it, put on some new growth, then April comes and they go down hill. Today uniform spear pull on many large ones, smaller ones in pots drought stressed did okay.

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One 10-gallon sized plant under live oak canopy with some mulch piled around the stem and a sheet wrapped around the fronds for protection has shown about 75% frond damage. Ultimate low was 16F with multiple lows in the uppers 20's and low 30's. Has begun put forth a new spear and appears to have survived.

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Have struggled for several years here with these.

Have had no luck with potted specimens

One planted in open two years ago died it's first winter.

Last year planted one under cover of a small Washingtonia.

It's got one spear left after a low of 20F in January.

I removed the Washingtonia.

To have a high of 100F tomorrow - we'll see what happens.

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The previous winter,my ~1m tall Bismarckia nobilis(Silver) saw -2,5C at the coldest part of the night,before sunrise,unprotected,without cold damage or with leaf tip damage/random leaflet damage but i dont know wether this was from the cold,the multiple heavy hail events and the intensely strong winds that tattered its leafs,or it blowing over from the very strong winds coupled with 430mm of rain in just a month,with 180mm of them in 1 day....But overall,it remained presentable and appealing even after all these....

After rightening it and a nice growing season that made it bigger by 1/3 and stable on its own,here comes the winter again. This winter,it saw -1,5C plus multiple heavy hail events with even close to golfball sized hail that made a layer on the ground and refused to melt,my Bismarckia is undamaged with just some slits on the leafs from the hail and hurricane strength winds(hurricanes formed and did quite some damage where they passed). I did not supported it and it did not blow over.

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Two consecutive nights with freezing temps and one day with snow. In detail on 1/9/17 from 0:00 am until 9:00   am constantly below zero with below -1 C from 5:30 am to 8:15 am and absolute min. of - 1.8 C from 6:20 am to 6:45 am. Max temperature same day 5.8 C at 1:10 pm. On 1/10/17 constant subzero from 0:00 am to 3:30 am with an absolute min of -0.5 C around midnight. Asolute max. on same day 7.1 pm at 10:06 pm, but snow remained on leaves from dawn to late afternoon. During cold spell dew point was always remaining below actual temperature. Plant well established without overhead canopy and exposed to east south. Extensive necrosis on tips, most probably where snow has resided.

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Just cosmetic frond damage. My bismarckia palms saw lower temperatures than yours in December of 2010 from a radiational freeze. About the lower half of the frond crown was burned and turned gray.

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I will take some pictures later, but there are a number of these in Houston that took significant frond damage in our big freeze but all seemed to survive. This includes two large specimens that are probably 15-20+ feet tall and probably saw 20 degrees in the open with around 12 hours below freezing.

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Back in 2010, we had a fairly extended period of cold weather, documented by some of the others from Florida on this thread.  A Bismarckia nobilis near Lake Hollingsworth suffered almost complete defoliation during this period, but has recovered and is bearing fruit.  Here are the temperatures in my area during that freeze:

Jan. 2010
Day High Low Cond.
1 66 51 Rain
2 60 39  
3 46 35  
4 53 33  
5 48 33  
6 51 30  
7 62 33  
8 60 42  
9 37 32 Rain
10 44 26  
11 57 26  
12 60 28  
13 64 35  
14 73 46  
15 75 51  
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On 3/4/2017, 4:05:40, necturus said:

I will take some pictures later, but there are a number of these in Houston that took significant frond damage in our big freeze but all seemed to survive. This includes two large specimens that are probably 15-20+ feet tall and probably saw 20 degrees in the open with around 12 hours below freezing.

15-20 feet tall?! I've only seen one about that size in Galveston...please do share pics 

There's one in Katy (right off I-10) that got nuked in 2010/2011, will lose its full crown that took forever to regain but will probably survive this winter too. It's a beast. 

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Posted (edited)

Ask and you will receive. The bigger one was recently pruned. There are also some large ones in front of an apartment complex on Old Spanish Trail near the med center. 

Bismarckia.jpg

Edited by necturus
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14 hours ago, necturus said:

Ask and you will receive. The bigger one was recently pruned. There are also some large ones in front of an apartment complex on Old Spanish Trail near the med center. 

Bismarckia.jpg

Nice! Old Spanish Trail is right in my neighborhood...time to go palm hunting. 

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Posted (edited)

Here is the Bismarckia in Katy, Texas:

This palm survived 17F in 2010, 19F in 2011, and 19F this past winter. All three freezes were cold enough to severely damage and/or kill mature queen palms. You can see its growth progression through street view: Katy Bismarckia. It has been there since at least March 2008, looks like its partner died after the 2010 freeze.

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Edited by Xenon
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