W. filifera in Albuquerque

44 posts in this topic

Hello Everyone,

 

I have just joined the forum after having been brought here by a google search for cold hardy palms. I saw some other posters also from New Mexico and thought I'd add some photos of mine.  I live on the west side, about 5,100 feet in elevation.  Summers here are very hot, with some rain; while winters can get very cold. The palm pictured was one of 3 five gallons I bought at a nursery in Phoenix back in 2006. It has not been protected very much other than occasional Christmas lights to give some supplemental heating. When I planted this tree there were no other trees in the yard and it enjoyed a south facing very sunny location next to my wall.  The same year I planted it I also planted an Arizona Sycamore in the middle of the front lawn. This tree has grown extremely fast and now has to be trimmed back to allow some more light for my Cali!  Back in February of 2011 the temperature at my house got down to -6.6 F and only recovered to between 5-10 F during that day, with -2 F the following night before temperatures rebounded above freezing.  This palm had NO protection during that cold snap as the Christmas lights had already been removed.  I thought for sure it was a goner, but by early May I saw the beginnings of a green spear growing out of all that crisp death!  Since then the palm has been growing very well and in most winters I only lose the fronds which are splayed low and therefore have the most exposure to the radiational affects of the open sky. 

 

Well, let's hope for a gentle winter this year! We are supposed to have normal temperatures and above average precipitation due to El Nino. So far, that's been the case.

 

Good luck!

-Chris Anderson

 

11/19/2015:

Washingtoia filifera 11.19.2015.JPG

 

5/23/2013:

Washingtonia filifera 2013.05.23.JPG

Edited by ChrisA
Adding dates for photos
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Welcome Chris! Nice to see a fellow palm grower here. i live in Rio Rancho and lost my filifera during the 2011 event, but had some trachies and a med palm survive unprotected.  Got some filifera going again, this time from seed. Some are almost 5' after being direc sowed 19 months ago.  looks like yours is doing the "sun" lean! Nice palm! Jim

Edited by jwitt
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Thanks Jim! Sorry you lost your filifera in that cold blast.  I've tried Mediterranean Fans before and have never lucked out with them, a friend of mine in town has one planted right at the base of a large black locust tree that survives probably due to the protection it receives from the canopy.  Others I have tried are Washingtonia robusta (lived quite a long time with winter protection), Trachycarpus fortune (planted in 1998-ish, still should be living - family moved from this property in 2009), and Phoenix canariensis (seedlings lived a few years with protection).  Does your Mediterranean maintain its leaves through the winter?

 

I'd love to see some photos of your 19 mo. old seedlings, 5 feet is fast growth!  I was going to get around to taking some photos of the palms I've been tracking around town that have been there a while; especially the zoo. There is a trunking Sabal-type that I don't think is a Sabal minor  over in the Africa/Primate area that has been growing very well and has not been damaged in our winters. Have you seen it?

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After seeing some of the other threads on California Fan palms, I suppose mine is not a true filifera either as it does not have pure green bases to the petioles either

 

Here is a closeup of the crown with a dollar bill for scale.  I know it's tacky, but it's all I had nearby that is easily recognizable size-wise.

Also added is a photo of my two Butiad which I will plant next spring.  I got them at lowes for $2.50 each. Today they're enjoying a beautiful bright sunny day, about 65 degrees.

 

The Mexican Blue Barrell cactus will not get planted. This isn't Phoenix! Lol!

image.jpg

image.jpg

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I personally think a bit of robusta in your filifera is a good thing here. As far as my med palm, I had it in my courtyard in a spot with winter shade to exactly help with the winter leaf loss. It worked til 2011. The problem was the extremely slow growth. I moved it to the south wall in 2014 and it sailed thrulast winter with increased speed. The jury is still out. I got it from las cruces, so that may help also.  I have not had any luck with med palms until this one.  I will try to post some pics of my "seedlings".  The mother is in Cleburne, tx and while not pure, nearly so for my taste. I do have some more seed if you would like.  But seeds in the ground with a cooler bleedoff is my ticket for filifera growth here.  IThere is a poster on here (sailorbold) ,almost my neighbor, doing some neat things with butia, jub hybrids. He also has  filifera trachy, euc,  and some other cool stuff. Not sure if you have seen his posts.

 

The palm at the zoo is a palmetto from what I have heard. I have not seen it.

Edited by jwitt
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Thank for the information Jim. What do you mean by a cooler bleedoff?  I think I will have to try again with a Mediterranean fan, last fall that had several at Jericho of the Altas Mtn. Blue variety that I've read are supposed to be hardier than the green form. I've been ravenously searching through this forum to catch up on all the New Mexico posts (including SailorBold and the County Agent down in Dona Ana County) and posts specific to the palms I am interested in; namely Sabal, Butia, Washingtonia and Jubaea.  I love to see what species people are using to push the limits. As I've said in the late 90's to early 2000's I had many plants that are very marginal for Albuquerque and used to build a greenhouse around the entire plot they lived in until it become too much of a hassle. Then I'd be dreading each approaching winter, wondering if they would survive!  So now it looks like I will get back to it, but hopefully not stress too bad if something doesn't pull through a chilly winter. The last 10 winters have been so carefree, other than occasionally protecting my washy, as my sycamore, alligator-bark juniper, yucca, cork oak and Mexican elder are all completely hardy here regardless of the cold. :)

I would definitely be interested in some seeds from your stash of Washingtonia filibusta! Do you know of anyone growing pure Jubaea in Albuquerque? I'd love to share palm information and what palms we know of in town as I like to keep tabs. I have to admit I do not know of and have never seen palms in Rio Rancho before, but don't go there but maybe 5 times a year to visit some friends who live almost in Jemez Springs! ;) 

I have a friend in town who has a Livistona chinensis in a very sheltered, and shaded, part of his yard. It is planted right at his house wall facing east and it has been there for years. Seldom does it lose its leaves, but it hasn't grown at all really in all those years.

 

What kind of eucalyptus is SailorBold growing?  From the post photos I've run across it looks like either a young gunnii or a cinerea? I have a Coolibah (E. microtheca) on the opposite side of the wall from the washy and it normally dies back nearly to the ground each winter. I had one mild winter (~2007-2008 when the coldest weather came around Thanksgiving and stayed until mid December when the cold pretty much didn't return) where it stayed alive nearly to the top and actually produced flowers that following summer! It's died back entirely every other winter

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Chris

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Interesting discussion -- such a different climate to mine.

I also am amazed that Albuquerque once hit a low of -6.6 Fahrenheit, and I can hardly believe that a washingtonia filifera survived this, even with some defoliation and recovery time.  That temperature would be quite low even for any northern U.S cities and any Canadian cities close to the US border.  I suppose your 5,100 feet above sea level plays a role in this.

 

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The high altitude certainly does play into the cold, but that was very unusual to get so cold.  We get into the single digits normally maybe once every 10-20 years.  The record low was recorded in the late 60's when the official temp went down to -17F.  Record lows in other western cities is also surprisingly low, for instance Las Vegas (for all its palms) has seen temperatures down to 8 F in 1963; Phoenix 16 degrees F in 1913, Salt Lake City -30F in 1933, San Antonio 0 in 1949.  For the inland west we are not only higher in elevation but also further from any moderating effects of warm oceans and humid air that takes more energy to cool or displace.  It is very easy for a dry air mass to get chilly quickly which is why our normal daily temperature swing is often more than 35 degrees. Summer highs of 100 have nighttime lows of about 65 degrees, a winter high of 55 or 60 will often have a night down into the mid 20's!  

 

At least when we get these outbreaks it's much worse in the northern states! :)

 

For Albuquerque my biggest gripe is that we average over 100 days when the temperature drops below freezing, the vast majority of those nights are between 24 and 31, but we will get colder nights into the teens maybe about 10 of those days. Normal winters may have a day or two that do not rise above, however those spells are short lived!  The number of freeIng nights is what makes it harder for even cold hardy palms to survive. On average we are an 8a zone but far different than a North Carolina 8a because they might only see freezing temperatures in less than half the number of days as us.

 

Given the droughts, fires, soil and wind here it's pretty amazing that anything grows!!! :)  This climate has created some stunning and hardy natives that are popular choices in local landscaping: mesquite, saltbush, desert willow, and a slew of beautiful perennial flowers that struggle elsewhere.

 

 

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Actually pretty rare for our thermal areas of town to remain below 32f for over 24 hours. We do have extreme lows but not the consecutive hours of below freezing in big arctic events that a warmer Dfw  or Atlanta has. High elevation, solar radiation, and plant mass are key to marginals here. Dryness also helps some plants for cold hardiness.  Sailorbold has had several species of euc over the years. The zoo had 40'+ gunni until 2011.

 

I have a big gripe with the hardy natives, or actually the absence of one. The metro should be awash in live oak if we were into native plants!  They are here, but nocommon in our landscapes.  My gripe!

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Lol!  I agree, there should be more to landscaping than purple leaf plums and Carolina poplars!  I've got a cork oak and mexican blue oak (Querus oblongifolia - native to southern AZ) which are doing great here.  There are a good deal of mature southern live oaks in town as well as escarpment oak.  The native turbinella oak makes for a stunning tree in the Sandia foothills!  Wish they'd plant those more often....  In my area you're lucky if the homeowners do any landscaping. {sigh}...

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Chris- a cooler bleedoff is used on an evap cooler. So when my cooler is running, my filifera are flooded with some high mineral alkaline water. You can contact me at jwittkowske@gmail(dot)com for the seeds.

Edited by jwitt
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I'll have to look into that! :) . My swamp cooler runs a whole heck of a lot, that would be some good amount of water.  All that calcification doesn't hurt it?  I REALLY have to replace my cooler as it's gotten pretty crusted.

 

Sending you an email now!

 

Thanks again,

-Chris

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Ahhh... I knew they exist.. a new Palm person in Albuquerque!   Welcome aboard! 

 

Your 'filifera' looks great!  good job!  Is that a north wall it is planted near?  facing east..?  just curious

The euc. is a silver drop gunnii.. planted very small. Its now over 10 feet and really grew well this year.  The trunk has a curve in it but don't know how to fix that..  I once heard microtheca was a hardy type for ABQ but I guess that isn't so from what you were saying. The spinning gum might be another option and I have been reading further into that one.. might give it a try.

I have a couple cerifera variety I put in the ground this spring.. (supposedly hardier) but I cant tell you much other than they are just going pinnate.

In the next couple of years I want to add Jubaea to my collection.. once I get the site worked out.  I currently have a jubaea x butia I planted this year.

 

 

 

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Hey SailorBold! Thanks for the welcome!

 

The wall the Cali is planted next to faces south and is buffetted by another wall to the west, which creates a cozy corner facing southeast.  Glad to hear your gunnii is doing so well!  I think some curvature adds some interest to the shape.  I'd love to see a recent picture.  I remember the zoo ones, they were so big and beautiful before they fried back, although I'm sure they would've regrown to their former glory if they hadn't decided to re-do the whole area (although I LOVE the new gator exhibit).  There are some "much" younger ones planted in the Australia section along with some Callistemon (not citrinus obviously, and unfortunately), which have survived the same freezes which have knocked the taller trees back.

 

The microtheca is always touted in the literature to be hardy to 5F, however with a few different specimens they always seem to FRY at temps lower than 20.  It's hard to say exactly as they do not show the damage from the cold for a few weeks or longer.  If they were truly hardy to 5F we'd have some monsters in Albuquerque, but sadly they are not even very sustainable in Las Cruces! At a different residence I had planted a Coolibah directly at a south facing wall which survived several years with a thickening trunk. I'd usually lose nearly all the leaves but it would sprout new ones in the late spring.   Eventually, the tree succumbed due to a contractor.....  But hey! This should be about palms! :)

 

So, what other successes or trials have you had with palms in Albuquerque?  Since they talked about run-away global warming for all these years I had hoped my palms would have faired better but so far for me it's been touch and go. :). I thought by now robusta would be a shoe-in! 

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Incidentally, here are a few more palms from the neighborhood taken last weekend.  What do you make of the first one?  I originally thought (from a quick drive by observation) that it was a needle Palm.  But upon closer inspection it seems to be a very young ( or trunk buried) Mediterranean Fan Palm! It sailed through last winter with no appreciable damage I know. The second is a nearby, and fairly tall, Trachycarpus fortunei on a northeast corner of the house.

 

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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Chris- They love alkaline water w/minerals! On a side note, coolers come set up for sea level and do not move the needed air at this elevation unless the motor pulley is increased and motor amperage is set near FLA. 

Back to palms. I put filifera seeds(hand piclked in Cleburne, TX 2012, after the big freeze there wiped out robusta) in the ground here in March 2014. 

January 2015 20150113_075308_zpsvcaxpzkn.thumb.JPG.49

March 2015

2014-10-16100938_zpsfbedd081.thumb.JPG.d

11/28/2015

5664070dbe07c_IMG_20150831_082348_zpsdgk

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Wow Jim!  Those look like they came along GREAT this year. What a difference from March. All filifery with their fuzz as well.

Do you have any photos of the mature specimens in Cleburne, TX? Do you know what temps they've been exposed to?  I should imagine in that area, near Dallas, they have been damaged by ice storms and some record cold temperatures down near zero farenheit?

We've got some MUCH colder weather coming after a few more days in the 60's. I see several nights in the upper teens coming up next week! I've got my California wrapped in Christmas lights already, so that should take the edge off.

 

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Looks great, but I think it's way too close to the house. I would move it a few feet further away while it's still small.

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On 12/6/2015, 4:01:06, jwitt said:

Chris- They love alkaline water w/minerals! On a side note, coolers come set up for sea level and do not move the needed air at this elevation unless the motor pulley is increased and motor amperage is set near FLA. 

Back to palms. I put filifera seeds(hand piclked in Cleburne, TX 2012, after the big freeze there wiped out robusta) in the ground here in March 2014.

Could you take a closeup of the trunk / growing bud area the same way Chris did? Yours seems to fit the bill for the pure filifera descriptions I've read

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This is the mother plant in Cleburne.  

2013-12-27111705_zpsb0b05f02.JPG

Edited by jwitt
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Nice Palm there in Cleburne! If I didn't see the palm there I could think, judging by the background, that the photo was taken somewhere in NM. :D

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That is one of three in front of that Mexican food restaurant.  There were a lot of mature robusta in Cleburne and Keene before 2010, and only a small handful survived that winter. 

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What temperature did the temp get down to? How cold were the days?  We had a bad freeze in NM in 2011 and I was shocked that any robusta survived. Yet in Las Cruces we had several that made it in spite of -5F at night and a high of +5 to +10!

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On 11/24/2015 1:04:32, ChrisA said:

After seeing some of the other threads on California Fan palms, I suppose mine is not a true filifera either as it does not have pure green bases to the petioles either

 

Here is a closeup of the crown with a dollar bill for scale.  I know it's tacky, but it's all I had nearby that is easily recognizable size-wise.

Also added is a photo of my two Butiad which I will plant next spring.  I got them at lowes for $2.50 each. Today they're enjoying a beautiful bright sunny day, about 65 degrees.

 

The Mexican Blue Barrell cactus will not get planted. This isn't Phoenix! Lol!

image.jpg

image.jpg

To me the easiest way to identify robusta is to look for a purple color on the base of petiole .  Pure Filifera will never have any purple in it.

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I think Cleburne had 4-5 consecutive days below freezing and an ultimate low in the 7b-8a range. All Robusta were killed(seeding size) except one in Keene, which is 5 miles east.

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9 hours ago, jwitt said:

I think Cleburne had 4-5 consecutive days below freezing and an ultimate low in the 7b-8a range. All Robusta were killed(seeding size) except one in Keene, which is 5 miles east.

Yes, the one that lived in Keene has about 20' of trunk but is on the south side of a two story hotel less than 5' from the wall itself.  The other three against the hotel died.  Keene and Cleburne did see 10F.

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Yes, definitely some Mexi in my so called Cali! It's got the Christmas lights on it so hopefully that'll help. We've had some very chilly temps already and so far it is un-phased. My low has been about 18 degrees.  Apparently a good cold snap on its way next week with several nights forecasted in the mid teens. I though El Nino was supposed to moderate the temperatures and make it COOLER but wetter. :)

 

Happy Holidays!

-Chris

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The low at my house has been 31 (twice).  My bananas will still have the majority of their foliage going into January which is very, very rare.

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Good day All,

 

Here is an update of my filibusta in Albuquerque.  It's having a great year and has grown much. In spite of a very wet winter combined with moderate chill, which damaged scattered fronds, it had grown with a vengeance!  I just need to trim up the California Sycamore that attempts to grow down over it.

 

 

IMG_3125.JPG

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Looks awesome!

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Dear Chris and friends..

Thanks very much for the beautiful visuals.

And Chris my palm fronds that join the trunk was never as bright reddish as seen in your palm.And the leaves never were so stiff and errect as your washy exhibit.

And my washy leaves are pale green and their growth rate is also not as fast. The hook like thorns are not very sharp and hard. I assume that 5 to 10 years from now the thorns could gradually disappear. The fronds are long lengthy and droopy.

If I don't trim my washy it looks very close to the washy growing in front of the restaurant as seen in the stills seen above.i.e trunk base is broad and tappers to the leaf growing area towards the top.

To keep our washy I had to ammend the garden soil which was clayey.Now the palm is growing only on rocks and blue metal chips.

Anyway all washies to my eyes looks very beautiful. ..

Love,

Kris.

 

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On 12/6/2015, 5:01:06, jwitt said:

Chris- They love alkaline water w/minerals! On a side note, coolers come set up for sea level and do not move the needed air at this elevation unless the motor pulley is increased and motor amperage is set near FLA. 

Back to palms. I put filifera seeds(hand piclked in Cleburne, TX 2012, after the big freeze there wiped out robusta) in the ground here in March 2014. 

January 2015 20150113_075308_zpsvcaxpzkn.thumb.JPG.49

March 2015

2014-10-16100938_zpsfbedd081.thumb.JPG.d

11/28/2015

5664070dbe07c_IMG_20150831_082348_zpsdgk

That grew that much in about a year? Dang! (I am talking from the snow to the current picture)

Edited by PalmTreeDude
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I love filifera!

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On Fri Nov 17 03:28:59, PalmTreeDude said:

I love filifera!

Me too

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On 8/17/2017, 10:44:45, ChrisA said:

Good day All,

 

Here is an update of my filibusta in Albuquerque.  It's having a great year and has grown much. In spite of a very wet winter combined with moderate chill, which damaged scattered fronds, it had grown with a vengeance!  I just need to trim up the California Sycamore that attempts to grow down over it.

 

 

IMG_3125.JPG

That looks Fan-Tastic!   love it! :drool:

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How about an update?

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Thanks for the bump Dave!  Here is a photo I took this morning.  This winter (knock on wood) hasn't been too bad. There have been many cold nights since the beginning of December, however the days have been warm and sunny for the most part.  No days have been below low 40's. The coldest night so far has been 16 degrees and on average I've been down around twenty for about 20 of the last thirty nights.

 

IMG_3814.JPG

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That thing is going to be huge soon.  I can't wait to see it when the trunk reaches above the rooftop.

Wow, those are some very cold temperatures.  It must be one very cold-hardy palm.

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Thanks Sandy, I can't wait until it gets over the roof too!  Hopefully in two more years or so, the fronds will no longer be impeding my front walkway.

It has been quite cold hardy, so far. Lately the cold we've received has happened without frost as dewpoints have been in the single digits or below zero which has kept relative humidity very low. Currently the temperature is 55 degrees F with a dewpoint of 6 degrees F which shows a relative humidity of 15% according to my weather station.

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Wow, Chris. The low temperatures that your Washingtonia goes through without damage are absolutely incredible. It shows how much of a difference the relative humidity makes to this palm when it is cold. 

You have inspired me to have another go with a Washingtonia even though the humidity in my climate is the complete opposite of yours. 

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