Latitude vs elevation vs body of water and C.H. Zone "depression"

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I've spent many hours upon hours researching and trying to better my understanding of geography and how that plays a part into growing our beloved palms. I want to touch on many different things here, but mainly pose this question: Which is more important and benefits our warm, sun loving palms the most? Latitude, elevation or a body of water?

From my research and understand (I could be wrong), I feel like the proximity to a body of water, is the most important aspect if you want ideal conditions for palms. For example, New York city is zoned for 7B and is roughly 600 miles north of Columbia, SC, which is an 8A. Despite the fact that yes, New York city is an urban jungle with many heat holding elements which help this 7B rating, it's astounding and very interesting that a city so far north can be rated a 7B- and I think this mostly has to due with its proximity to water.

I can drive to the beach in well under 2 hours, yet being 110 miles from the Atlantic ocean bears a stark reminder that I'm always fighting a battle of more extreme temperatures and am negated the "heating effect" of the ocean during the cold winter months. This sucks and gives me cold hardiness zone depression!

One thing I do feel like I have on my side is my latitude and my elevation. I'm right at 34 degrees north latitude and around 340-345 feet in elevation. What's more important in this aspect? Would you rather be 100 miles more southward or 500 feet lower in elevation?

Lastly, I'm going to harp on my cold hardiness zone "depression" one last time. Growing up and into my teens, I was around palms frequently and of course then, I wasn't the palm fanatic I am now and largely paid little attention to them. But if you would have asked me if I felt my hometown I grew up in was fairly tropical and warm weather year around, I would have practically agreed with you for the most part. I would have thought, "Yeah, for sure, we can grow most any palm tree we want down here because it gets so hot, why couldn't we?" I considered Columbia to be tropical-esque and had a "beachy" feel to it, besides the fact of being over 100 miles away from the coast. Quite honestly, the city of Columbia and downtown should probably be considered an 8B, with the outlying areas and suburbs an 8A. But basically what I'm getting at, I didn't realize how un-tropical and un-beachy the area I really live in is until I really got to know palms and met all of you Floridians, Californians and Hawaiins! And it stinks! I'm basically limited to Trachy's, Sabals, a couple of Butias and a marginal Washingtonia filifera (8B-ish).

Feel free to discuss and describe your area, and if you feel sorry for me enough, cheer me up a bit and offer me some therapy! Haha

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Well there are more palms to try than you have listed. Nannorohps, different cocoid hybrids, Livistona species, various Sabal species, Trithrinax etc.......our world is shrinking into what is available to grow. Not to mention all of the tropical looking dicots.

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If you want to feel better about your climate, just look at mine, we hit -15 F this winter. You're suffering the same symptoms as all of us, we all want more than we can grow, the California guys wish they had coconuts and Pritchardia pacifica, the south Florida guys try to grow Cyrtostachys only to have it turn to mush whenever the temps go into the 40's.

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Exactly, I bemoan the inability to grow crownshafted palms and most pinnate palms in zone 9a. If you like the Lotus Land look their are many agave's, cactus etc. that can give you a cool looking yard as well...for your zone.

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/39849-palms-are-cool-but-dont-leave-out-the-cactisucculentscycads-and-aloe/?hl=lotusland

I prefer the jungle look, so I have to rely on things like Loquats, magnolia's, cold hardy palms, cast iron plants, perinials like elephant ear varieties, gingers, etc. etc. etc.........there are cool things you can try, even in your zone. Look at these lists for tropical looking dicots. Of course with the right tree canopy....you can push your palm selection even further. Don't forget hardscape with fountains etc.

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/40515-zone-8-and-9-canopy-trees/

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Good question. I think it does help more being so close to the gulf but I have also seen a hard frost decimate some zone pushing palms that I had years ago. For a reference, my nursery is less than 10 miles from the gulf in an area known to Floridians as the Big Bend.

On the positive side you have some of the most beloved and popular species of palms in the US. A lot of folks in more palm-friendly zones own those same species also.

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I've spent many hours upon hours researching and trying to better my understanding of geography and how that plays a part into growing our beloved palms. I want to touch on many different things here, but mainly pose this question: Which is more important and benefits our warm, sun loving palms the most? Latitude, elevation or a body of water?

From my research and understand (I could be wrong), I feel like the proximity to a body of water, is the most important aspect if you want ideal conditions for palms. For example, New York city is zoned for 7B and is roughly 600 miles north of Columbia, SC, which is an 8A. Despite the fact that yes, New York city is an urban jungle with many heat holding elements which help this 7B rating, it's astounding and very interesting that a city so far north can be rated a 7B- and I think this mostly has to due with its proximity to water.

I can drive to the beach in well under 2 hours, yet being 110 miles from the Atlantic ocean bears a stark reminder that I'm always fighting a battle of more extreme temperatures and am negated the "heating effect" of the ocean during the cold winter months. This sucks and gives me cold hardiness zone depression!

One thing I do feel like I have on my side is my latitude and my elevation. I'm right at 34 degrees north latitude and around 340-345 feet in elevation. What's more important in this aspect? Would you rather be 100 miles more southward or 500 feet lower in elevation?

Lastly, I'm going to harp on my cold hardiness zone "depression" one last time. Growing up and into my teens, I was around palms frequently and of course then, I wasn't the palm fanatic I am now and largely paid little attention to them. But if you would have asked me if I felt my hometown I grew up in was fairly tropical and warm weather year around, I would have practically agreed with you for the most part. I would have thought, "Yeah, for sure, we can grow most any palm tree we want down here because it gets so hot, why couldn't we?" I considered Columbia to be tropical-esque and had a "beachy" feel to it, besides the fact of being over 100 miles away from the coast. Quite honestly, the city of Columbia and downtown should probably be considered an 8B, with the outlying areas and suburbs an 8A. But basically what I'm getting at, I didn't realize how un-tropical and un-beachy the area I really live in is until I really got to know palms and met all of you Floridians, Californians and Hawaiins! And it stinks! I'm basically limited to Trachy's, Sabals, a couple of Butias and a marginal Washingtonia filifera (8B-ish).

Feel free to discuss and describe your area, and if you feel sorry for me enough, cheer me up a bit and offer me some therapy! Haha

Here in California, terrain is everything. Just 5 miles North of my house is the North end of the valley floor for Scotts Valley, a convergence point for several canyons that drain cold air out of the mountains. All washingtonia were fried to a crisp in last Winter's one week freeze, most likely 20F as the ultimate low, so USDA 9a at best. Yet 3 miles up hey 17 and up in elevation from that same freeze-cursed location there are many USDA 10b areas that didn't drop below 35F. The USDA actually classifies the entire Summit area as USDA 10b. In my garden, the upper garden didn't drop below 31F and my lower, more wind protected garden hit 27F, this temp difference ran over about a 50-75 feet drop in elevation.

The reason terrain makes such a difference in California is that our cold is usually radiational in nature. Very dry air can advect into California, but it's never below freezing because of the Mountain ranges protecting us from Arctic outbreaks. During such radiational freezes, the lowest, most wind protected locations suffer the worst cold. Too much elevation puts you in harms way in terms of snow fall, but some elevation is key. Water is also a significant factor, proximity to water in California can eliminate the threat of a freeze, but it comes at the cost of adequate heat accumulation. Berkeley is USDA 10a but it rarely gets over 68F. Santa Monica is USDA 11a but rarely gets over 75F during the Summer.

Unfortunately, the East Coast is exposed to convective freezes, that means any elevation is a real killer as lapse rates during these convective freezes are steep and can make the difference between a half to almost a full zone. Proximity to water at lower elevation is critical. If you look at the zone map, you can see how the coastal strip stays super mild.

When I lived in a horrible climate from a horticultural perspective, I packed up and moved. It was well worth the effort. I lived in a frost free climate that rarely dropped below 45F at night but it was totally a heat deprived climate. I packed up and moved further inland where I have to deal with a little more frost, but not enough to limit the species of palms I can grow. In fact, the number is bigger because of the increased heat accumulation. I dug up all my palms literally 6 months after planting them and it took two years before I could liberate them from their containers and put them back in the ground. I realize that on the East Coast you need to drive much further than a few miles to find a better climate, so perhaps moving is less feasible. But I understand the dilemma. For me, on the East Coast, the only place I would consider living is South Florida.

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If you want to feel better about your climate, just look at mine, we hit -15 F this winter. You're suffering the same symptoms as all of us, we all want more than we can grow, the California guys wish they had coconuts and Pritchardia pacifica, the south Florida guys try to grow Cyrtostachys only to have it turn to mush whenever the temps go into the 40's.

This helps haha. Very true statement. I always say to myself, "man, if only my area was a 9A, I'd be content". If I was a 9A then I'd want to be a 10A... and so the vicious cycle would continue.

Exactly, I bemoan the inability to grow crownshafted palms and most pinnate palms in zone 9a. If you like the Lotus Land look their are many agave's, cactus etc. that can give you a cool looking yard as well...for your zone.

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/39849-palms-are-cool-but-dont-leave-out-the-cactisucculentscycads-and-aloe/?hl=lotusland

I prefer the jungle look, so I have to rely on things like Loquats, magnolia's, cold hardy palms, cast iron plants, perinials like elephant ear varieties, gingers, etc. etc. etc.........there are cool things you can try, even in your zone. Look at these lists for tropical looking dicots. Of course with the right tree canopy....you can push your palm selection even further. Don't forget hardscape with fountains etc.

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/40515-zone-8-and-9-canopy-trees/

Very interesting looks. Went by my nearest garden center and walked around and found many fascinating non-palm, but very tropical looking. I've always loved the look of agave plants. Those seem extremely cold hardy as some research that I did, revealed they can grow as far north as Nebraska and Michigan.

Good question. I think it does help more being so close to the gulf but I have also seen a hard frost decimate some zone pushing palms that I had years ago. For a reference, my nursery is less than 10 miles from the gulf in an area known to Floridians as the Big Bend.

On the positive side you have some of the most beloved and popular species of palms in the US. A lot of folks in more palm-friendly zones own those same species also.

I've always been a bit surprised at how cold gulf areas can get when the conditions are right. I figure you're around 30 degrees north and you've got the gulf at your disposal, you'd be nearly unstoppable. Weird how things work, especially when Canadian air gets involved...

I've spent many hours upon hours researching and trying to better my understanding of geography and how that plays a part into growing our beloved palms. I want to touch on many different things here, but mainly pose this question: Which is more important and benefits our warm, sun loving palms the most? Latitude, elevation or a body of water?

From my research and understand (I could be wrong), I feel like the proximity to a body of water, is the most important aspect if you want ideal conditions for palms. For example, New York city is zoned for 7B and is roughly 600 miles north of Columbia, SC, which is an 8A. Despite the fact that yes, New York city is an urban jungle with many heat holding elements which help this 7B rating, it's astounding and very interesting that a city so far north can be rated a 7B- and I think this mostly has to due with its proximity to water.

I can drive to the beach in well under 2 hours, yet being 110 miles from the Atlantic ocean bears a stark reminder that I'm always fighting a battle of more extreme temperatures and am negated the "heating effect" of the ocean during the cold winter months. This sucks and gives me cold hardiness zone depression!

One thing I do feel like I have on my side is my latitude and my elevation. I'm right at 34 degrees north latitude and around 340-345 feet in elevation. What's more important in this aspect? Would you rather be 100 miles more southward or 500 feet lower in elevation?

Lastly, I'm going to harp on my cold hardiness zone "depression" one last time. Growing up and into my teens, I was around palms frequently and of course then, I wasn't the palm fanatic I am now and largely paid little attention to them. But if you would have asked me if I felt my hometown I grew up in was fairly tropical and warm weather year around, I would have practically agreed with you for the most part. I would have thought, "Yeah, for sure, we can grow most any palm tree we want down here because it gets so hot, why couldn't we?" I considered Columbia to be tropical-esque and had a "beachy" feel to it, besides the fact of being over 100 miles away from the coast. Quite honestly, the city of Columbia and downtown should probably be considered an 8B, with the outlying areas and suburbs an 8A. But basically what I'm getting at, I didn't realize how un-tropical and un-beachy the area I really live in is until I really got to know palms and met all of you Floridians, Californians and Hawaiins! And it stinks! I'm basically limited to Trachy's, Sabals, a couple of Butias and a marginal Washingtonia filifera (8B-ish).

Feel free to discuss and describe your area, and if you feel sorry for me enough, cheer me up a bit and offer me some therapy! Haha

Here in California, terrain is everything. Just 5 miles North of my house is the North end of the valley floor for Scotts Valley, a convergence point for several canyons that drain cold air out of the mountains. All washingtonia were fried to a crisp in last Winter's one week freeze, most likely 20F as the ultimate low, so USDA 9a at best. Yet 3 miles up hey 17 and up in elevation from that same freeze-cursed location there are many USDA 10b areas that didn't drop below 35F. The USDA actually classifies the entire Summit area as USDA 10b. In my garden, the upper garden didn't drop below 31F and my lower, more wind protected garden hit 27F, this temp difference ran over about a 50-75 feet drop in elevation.

The reason terrain makes such a difference in California is that our cold is usually radiational in nature. Very dry air can advect into California, but it's never below freezing because of the Mountain ranges protecting us from Arctic outbreaks. During such radiational freezes, the lowest, most wind protected locations suffer the worst cold. Too much elevation puts you in harms way in terms of snow fall, but some elevation is key. Water is also a significant factor, proximity to water in California can eliminate the threat of a freeze, but it comes at the cost of adequate heat accumulation. Berkeley is USDA 10a but it rarely gets over 68F. Santa Monica is USDA 11a but rarely gets over 75F during the Summer.

Unfortunately, the East Coast is exposed to convective freezes, that means any elevation is a real killer as lapse rates during these convective freezes are steep and can make the difference between a half to almost a full zone. Proximity to water at lower elevation is critical. If you look at the zone map, you can see how the coastal strip stays super mild.

When I lived in a horrible climate from a horticultural perspective, I packed up and moved. It was well worth the effort. I lived in a frost free climate that rarely dropped below 45F at night but it was totally a heat deprived climate. I packed up and moved further inland where I have to deal with a little more frost, but not enough to limit the species of palms I can grow. In fact, the number is bigger because of the increased heat accumulation. I dug up all my palms literally 6 months after planting them and it took two years before I could liberate them from their containers and put them back in the ground. I realize that on the East Coast you need to drive much further than a few miles to find a better climate, so perhaps moving is less feasible. But I understand the dilemma. For me, on the East Coast, the only place I would consider living is South Florida.

Very interesting stuff, Axel. I knew that with the mountain ranges and elevations there are many variants, but you broke it down to a total science- very cool stuff. I've been amazed at some places like you said, that don't drop below freezing yet the temperatures rarely rise above 70 or 80 something. I couldn't imagine, for the life of me, a summer without temperatures being in the low to mid-90's almost every day. Thanks for the insight and this will definitely be a post that I refer back to.

By the way... how does it work for lets say, a small lake or pond? Does it have the same effect as living right on or near the beach? How far do the temperature benefits work for an area of land against this body of water?

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To get any heat effects from a smaller body of water you have to plant at the waters edge and preferably on the south side. When strong winds come (advective) it will not be enough to make much of a difference. But for radiational freezes it will be several degrees warmer at the waters edge.

Wind block is pretty critical as palm tissue dries out during cold events (this is why cold damages plants).....wind exacerbates the problem significantly.

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Sorry Smithgn, I don't feel too sorry for you. I live in Seattle and we are way north (even much more than NY). We are at 47 degrees North Lattitude, which is parallel with Quebec City, Canada, and north of most of the state of Maine, for example. We can grow Trachys, Med. Fan Palms (sometimes), Butia (in some places), and maybe a Sabal Minor. That's about it. I think your theory about bodies of water holds true, since we would no way be able to grow palms here without the large body of water known as the Puget Sound (inland Sea). You most likely wouldn't enjoy our 75-85F degree summers and rainy winters, but Windmill palms do grow extremely well here.

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Sorry Smithgn, I don't feel too sorry for you. I live in Seattle and we are way north (even much more than NY). We are at 47 degrees North Lattitude, which is parallel with Quebec City, Canada, and north of most of the state of Maine, for example. We can grow Trachys, Med. Fan Palms (sometimes), Butia (in some places), and maybe a Sabal Minor. That's about it. I think your theory about bodies of water holds true, since we would no way be able to grow palms here without the large body of water known as the Puget Sound (inland Sea). You most likely wouldn't enjoy our 75-85F degree summers and rainy winters, but Windmill palms do grow extremely well here.

Luke, I feel more sorry for you. :) I don't know how you guys cope with 9 months of rain and cold. I feel I am too far North up in Norcal already, and 3-5 months of rain and cold a year is already too much.

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Sorry Smithgn, I don't feel too sorry for you. I live in Seattle and we are way north (even much more than NY). We are at 47 degrees North Lattitude, which is parallel with Quebec City, Canada, and north of most of the state of Maine, for example. We can grow Trachys, Med. Fan Palms (sometimes), Butia (in some places), and maybe a Sabal Minor. That's about it. I think your theory about bodies of water holds true, since we would no way be able to grow palms here without the large body of water known as the Puget Sound (inland Sea). You most likely wouldn't enjoy our 75-85F degree summers and rainy winters, but Windmill palms do grow extremely well here.

Well, to make you feel a bit better, I was astounded to find out not too long ago the type of climate Seattle had and was equally impressed at the fact palms could grow there just fine for the most part. But agreed, the body of water certainly helps. One thing that I do envy about Seattle that Columbia, SC can't have. By the way, what is Seattle cold hardiness? Gotta be in the 7's, correct?

So what I'm gathering here is that moderate summer temperatures can slow a palms growth? At what point does a temperature get too high for a palm and stunts its growth? I saw a post on here from not too long ago about a dude in San Diego that created a mini greenhouse (heat-house), to some extent, and nearly fried his Bismarckia. Does this apply to all or most palms?

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Sorry Smithgn, I don't feel too sorry for you. I live in Seattle and we are way north (even much more than NY). We are at 47 degrees North Lattitude, which is parallel with Quebec City, Canada, and north of most of the state of Maine, for example. We can grow Trachys, Med. Fan Palms (sometimes), Butia (in some places), and maybe a Sabal Minor. That's about it. I think your theory about bodies of water holds true, since we would no way be able to grow palms here without the large body of water known as the Puget Sound (inland Sea). You most likely wouldn't enjoy our 75-85F degree summers and rainy winters, but Windmill palms do grow extremely well here.

Well, to make you feel a bit better, I was astounded to find out not too long ago the type of climate Seattle had and was equally impressed at the fact palms could grow there just fine for the most part. But agreed, the body of water certainly helps. One thing that I do envy about Seattle that Columbia, SC can't have. By the way, what is Seattle cold hardiness? Gotta be in the 7's, correct?

So what I'm gathering here is that moderate summer temperatures can slow a palms growth? At what point does a temperature get too high for a palm and stunts its growth? I saw a post on here from not too long ago about a dude in San Diego that created a mini greenhouse (heat-house), to some extent, and nearly fried his Bismarckia. Does this apply to all or most palms?

You're making a lot of generalizations about palms. There are heat loving palms and there are cool loving palms. Palms from higher elevations usually prefer cooler conditions. Example of heat loving palms are cuban royals, copernicia and bismarckia. Example of cool loving palms include kentia, trachycarpus, hedyscepe and ceroxylon.

The bismarckia experiment actually demonstrated that bismarckia are incredibly heat tolerant. Justin added a heater in addition to the greenhouse heat, bringing temps into the 150-160F range. He pushed the growing point of his bismarckia over 160F almost killing it.

Seattle is 8b, but less palm species grow in Seattle than in Texas' 8b climate because palms loose hardiness in cooler wet Winter conditions and with less Summer heat. A high degree of Summer heat allows a lot of sugar and energy reserves in palms that make them hardier in the Winter, i.e. lower freezing point in the leaves and growing bud. Sadly, the only palm that is viable long term in Seattle is trachycarpus fortunei. Butia grow for a while but eventually die or lose spear. This doesn't happen in Texas. Another example are livistona, which are not hardy in Pacific Northwest's 8b but are perfectly hardy in the Southeast's zones 8b.

Ironically you can grow more palms in a Southeastern zone 7b and 8a than you can in a coastal Oregon zone 8b and 9a. The Pacific Northwest is not a choice palm climate. In Northern California, only the coastal zones 10a are decent for palms because they support a lot of the cloudforest palms that require a frost free climate. For example Darold Petty's garden in San Francisco. Many of the Norcal coastal zones 9b that are fogged in all Summer and have no Summer heat are terrible for growing palms, most palms struggle there.

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Yep, I agree with most of what Axel is saying here. I would contend that other forms of Trachycarpus are also viable long term here in Seattle (we have mature Waggies, etc.) but basically the Windmill Palm is the variety that sustains here long term. We also have a few different microclimates in the Seattle area. The area I live in which is slightly Southeast of the city is zone 8b. Most of the Seattle-Tacoma area near the water is zone 8b, but palms do a little better there than where I live. There is even a small area of 9b near the Washington coast, but as Axel rightly pointed out, those coastal zone 9a/b areas don't get warm at all in the summer. There is an area called Ocean Shores, WA which is technically in a 9b zone, but summer temps top out in the low 70s and most of the summer highs are in the 60s. Very few palms (other than Windmill varieties) can even grow with that low of high temps. That (and the rain) is essentially the challenge of growing palms up here. But at least we can grow some (most of the country cannot grow any). When you compare Seattle to places like Colorado, Utah, Minnesota, Dakotas, the Midwest, the Northeast, and Alaska, we look pretty good by comparison. The thing you have to remember too about Seattle is that most people do not move (or stay) here because of the climate. The majority of people settle here, I believe, because of the tech. economy. High-paying jobs are plentiful and the cost of living isn't as high as the Northeast or California in general (e.g. you can buy a nice brand-new house where I live for $300K with a view and commute to Seattle within an hour or less to make six figures). Washington also has no state income tax, so that's why a lot of Bill Gates type people make there primary residence here to avoid a lot of taxes and have multiple homes elsewhere. So if you add it all up, it's a pretty decent place to live, just not for growing palms.

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Yep, I agree with most of what Axel is saying here. I would contend that other forms of Trachycarpus are also viable long term here in Seattle (we have mature Waggies, etc.) but basically the Windmill Palm is the variety that sustains here long term. We also have a few different microclimates in the Seattle area. The area I live in which is slightly Southeast of the city is zone 8b. Most of the Seattle-Tacoma area near the water is zone 8b, but palms do a little better there than where I live. There is even a small area of 9b near the Washington coast, but as Axel rightly pointed out, those coastal zone 9a/b areas don't get warm at all in the summer. There is an area called Ocean Shores, WA which is technically in a 9b zone, but summer temps top out in the low 70s and most of the summer highs are in the 60s. Very few palms (other than Windmill varieties) can even grow with that low of high temps. That (and the rain) is essentially the challenge of growing palms up here. But at least we can grow some (most of the country cannot grow any). When you compare Seattle to places like Colorado, Utah, Minnesota, Dakotas, the Midwest, the Northeast, and Alaska, we look pretty good by comparison. The thing you have to remember too about Seattle is that most people do not move (or stay) here because of the climate. The majority of people settle here, I believe, because of the tech. economy. High-paying jobs are plentiful and the cost of living isn't as high as the Northeast or California in general (e.g. you can buy a nice brand-new house where I live for $300K with a view and commute to Seattle within an hour or less to make six figures). Washington also has no state income tax, so that's why a lot of Bill Gates type people make there primary residence here to avoid a lot of taxes and have multiple homes elsewhere. So if you add it all up, it's a pretty decent place to live, just not for growing palms.

Oh yeah, there's a reason Seattle is one of the largest metro areas in the country; I've honestly heard nothing but good things about it. I don't think I'd mind it, especially as long as there is no extreme cold. Don't know how I'd do with the mild summers but I'm sure its pleasant- guess I'm too used to how it is down here.

That's truly amazing how an area around 47 degrees north would have 8B and above. Heck, consider this, even places in North Texas and Oklahoma get much more frigid than Seattle could ever become. My cousin went to Texas Tech and he use to tell us about the contrasting summer heat and the frigid cold winters- at 33 degrees north (If I'm not mistaken).

I wonder how the rain could be the enemy when it rains more on average annually, in the deep south? I suppose its like you said in your other post, many days with some sort of drizzle and precipitation. Down here, the sun almost always comes out after a quick hitting, heavy thunderstorm and dries things up surprisingly quick. We do of course have our 3 or so days of damp and wetness that come and go.

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I've spent many hours upon hours researching and trying to better my understanding of geography and how that plays a part into growing our beloved palms. I want to touch on many different things here, but mainly pose this question: Which is more important and benefits our warm, sun loving palms the most? Latitude, elevation or a body of water?

From my research and understand (I could be wrong), I feel like the proximity to a body of water, is the most important aspect if you want ideal conditions for palms. For example, New York city is zoned for 7B and is roughly 600 miles north of Columbia, SC, which is an 8A. Despite the fact that yes, New York city is an urban jungle with many heat holding elements which help this 7B rating, it's astounding and very interesting that a city so far north can be rated a 7B- and I think this mostly has to due with its proximity to water.

I can drive to the beach in well under 2 hours, yet being 110 miles from the Atlantic ocean bears a stark reminder that I'm always fighting a battle of more extreme temperatures and am negated the "heating effect" of the ocean during the cold winter months. This sucks and gives me cold hardiness zone depression!

One thing I do feel like I have on my side is my latitude and my elevation. I'm right at 34 degrees north latitude and around 340-345 feet in elevation. What's more important in this aspect? Would you rather be 100 miles more southward or 500 feet lower in elevation?

Lastly, I'm going to harp on my cold hardiness zone "depression" one last time. Growing up and into my teens, I was around palms frequently and of course then, I wasn't the palm fanatic I am now and largely paid little attention to them. But if you would have asked me if I felt my hometown I grew up in was fairly tropical and warm weather year around, I would have practically agreed with you for the most part. I would have thought, "Yeah, for sure, we can grow most any palm tree we want down here because it gets so hot, why couldn't we?" I considered Columbia to be tropical-esque and had a "beachy" feel to it, besides the fact of being over 100 miles away from the coast. Quite honestly, the city of Columbia and downtown should probably be considered an 8B, with the outlying areas and suburbs an 8A. But basically what I'm getting at, I didn't realize how un-tropical and un-beachy the area I really live in is until I really got to know palms and met all of you Floridians, Californians and Hawaiins! And it stinks! I'm basically limited to Trachy's, Sabals, a couple of Butias and a marginal Washingtonia filifera (8B-ish).

Feel free to discuss and describe your area, and if you feel sorry for me enough, cheer me up a bit and offer me some therapy! Haha

If I lived 500 feet lower in elevation, I'd be living on the banks of the Ohio River and would gain a 1/2 a hardiness zone moving to a 6b/7a depending on exact location. I still wouldn't be able grow anything other than needles and sabal minor. If I lived 100 miles to the South, I'd be in the same zone I am now. All of this is dependent on my current location and zone stuck in the middle of the continent and very far from a large body of water.

I actually don't mind this at all though. This winter was pretty severe for us, but the only record we set this year was for the amount of snow. I would take a slightly more mild winter (with absolute low's for the season around 0*F) with the same amount of snow we received (about 40 inches) every winter. This winter was the prettiest winter in Cincinnati i can remember. We had so many sunny days this winter. The snow, cold and sun we had this year sure beats grey, cold and rainy for 3 months.

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Funny how zones work... I beg to differ with you on the snow haha, but I do see your point. By living in Cincinnati does that qualify for a 1/2 zone improvement also? I always thought dense cities would benefit from this?

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Hey, I'm up here in Kansas, where we see 5F probably 3-4 times a year...it could always be worse...I'm trying to grow Trachy, Butia, Sabal palmetto, Sabal minor, and Washingtonia filibusta hybrids...Next year at this time, I probably won't have half of those, but it's part of the fun of the hobby:)

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Your question " Which is more important and benefits our warm, sun loving palms the most? Latitude, elevation or a body of water?"

Here in cental New Mexico, at over a mile high(5280') what helps us most with our few palms is the sun and its effect on our dry climate. Amazingly low temps with rapid warmup allowing trachies and filifera to survive -10f temps and in some locales near yearly dips into the zero range. Oh do I wish we had water and big bodies of it.

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Funny how zones work... I beg to differ with you on the snow haha, but I do see your point. By living in Cincinnati does that qualify for a 1/2 zone improvement also? I always thought dense cities would benefit from this?

The suburbs are typically a 1/2 zone to a full zone colder than the warmest micro-climates in the area and the rural areas outside the city are about a 1/2 zone colder than the suburbs. Elevation and proximity to the Ohio River are large influencers on absolute lows. The elevation around ranges from about 1,100 feet abs, to 380 feet abs and the Ohio River is about a 1/2 mile wide in most areas around town and has only frozen over once in the past 100 years (1978 i believe) so that can moderate temperatures. I say an accurate hardiness zone scale for this area would be 7a-5b with most areas a 6b-6a.

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Hey, I'm up here in Kansas, where we see 5F probably 3-4 times a year...it could always be worse...I'm trying to grow Trachy, Butia, Sabal palmetto, Sabal minor, and Washingtonia filibusta hybrids...Next year at this time, I probably won't have half of those, but it's part of the fun of the hobby:)

You're right, it is the fun. Part of it for me, is planting something that you know that otherwise you wouldn't see at all in the area. I've tried to grow palms that are a full zone higher than my listed 8A. No worries, I've lost 6 palms, small and large, overall in just a year. Its part of the fun ha.

Your question " Which is more important and benefits our warm, sun loving palms the most? Latitude, elevation or a body of water?"

Here in cental New Mexico, at over a mile high(5280') what helps us most with our few palms is the sun and its effect on our dry climate. Amazingly low temps with rapid warmup allowing trachies and filifera to survive -10f temps and in some locales near yearly dips into the zero range. Oh do I wish we had water and big bodies of it.

Oh and how I wish we had a DRY winter like you all have. I've actually watched a video of palms in New Mexico. They were showing one guy who I suppose was the local arborist, touring the damage of the palms after a bad freeze. All the fronds were completely roasted, but I remember him saying that they would grow back. I'm sure the lack of precipitation/moisture during the freeze helped in making these palms survive.

Funny how zones work... I beg to differ with you on the snow haha, but I do see your point. By living in Cincinnati does that qualify for a 1/2 zone improvement also? I always thought dense cities would benefit from this?

The suburbs are typically a 1/2 zone to a full zone colder than the warmest micro-climates in the area and the rural areas outside the city are about a 1/2 zone colder than the suburbs. Elevation and proximity to the Ohio River are large influencers on absolute lows. The elevation around ranges from about 1,100 feet abs, to 380 feet abs and the Ohio River is about a 1/2 mile wide in most areas around town and has only frozen over once in the past 100 years (1978 i believe) so that can moderate temperatures. I say an accurate hardiness zone scale for this area would be 7a-5b with most areas a 6b-6a.

Wow! Next house I move into will be next to a river! 7a- impressive for Ohio. I learn something new everyday.

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