Big Archontophoenix in Northern California

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https://www.google.com/maps/@37.9795898,-121.7848433,3a,28.5y,232.41h,89.23t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_ueSU-YWHi2dUyerAe3Ibw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

Hello all, I saw this tree from the main road yesterday and had to Go back to Google to find it. It's pretty darn big and probably one of if not THE only Arch. in the city. They usually struggle and flounder up here. Winters in this area are just a bit too cold and wet and they just barely get going again by the end of summer.

This picture is probably 3 or 4 years old and It's probably about 18' total height at this point. What's even more impressive to me is that this palm is on the NORTH side of the house so it's definitely seen some cold weather.

 

I know, it's a pretty common item to all the folks south of here and in the western bay area (the "real" bay area) but it's unique out here. I think I'm going to ask if I can take some seed if it's available. Curious if this might be one of Inge Hoffman's "kids"?

58e7cd6ec8f15_kingpalm.thumb.JPG.b549e59

 

I sure hope they don't do like the La Quinta Coconut to this one....

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Cool find! I think that if the delta area got more heat in summer, archontophoenix would do very well there. There are lots of Archonotophoenix starting to show up in people's yards here in the San Joaquin Valley because a lot of the nurseries here are starting to carry them - starting with the big box stores actually! Our winters tend to be colder here overall, but we also do get a lot of heat in summer, which helps them to recover quickly. Here is an old one in Fresno that has been there for a number of years. The scar on the trunk is from the 2007 freeze. It looks like it's growth has been stunted since then, judging by the distance between trunk rings above the scar as compared to below the scar. The pictures are from the beginning of Feb. 

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/52639-palmy-day/&do=findComment&comment=798198

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5 hours ago, Patrick said:

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.9795898,-121.7848433,3a,28.5y,232.41h,89.23t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_ueSU-YWHi2dUyerAe3Ibw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

Hello all, I saw this tree from the main road yesterday and had to Go back to Google to find it. It's pretty darn big and probably one of if not THE only Arch. in the city. They usually struggle and flounder up here. Winters in this area are just a bit too cold and wet and they just barely get going again by the end of summer.

This picture is probably 3 or 4 years old and It's probably about 18' total height at this point. What's even more impressive to me is that this palm is on the NORTH side of the house so it's definitely seen some cold weather.

 

I know, it's a pretty common item to all the folks south of here and in the western bay area (the "real" bay area) but it's unique out here. I think I'm going to ask if I can take some seed if it's available. Curious if this might be one of Inge Hoffman's "kids"?

58e7cd6ec8f15_kingpalm.thumb.JPG.b549e59

 

I sure hope they don't do like the La Quinta Coconut to this one....

I wouldn't mind a few seeds if you score some. I have one in the front yard but it's still pretty young and got beat pretty bad this past frosty winter.

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Good news! I talked to the owner and after explaining the situation he said I could harvest the seed, lucky me! Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that the landscspers don't  trim preventatively, as they tend to do around here. There WAS seed ripening on the tree, about the size of capers, and I explained that when they are ripe they turn red. I told him it would still be 3 months or so; so I think he understood. English was not his primary language. I speak so-so spanish but failed to try it out this time. Of course I tried out the conversation I would have had on the drive home! See the pictured below, this thing had a BEEFY crownshaft and it must be 10 years old? Not sure as I havent grown any here successfully.

 

So, any guesses as to it's  age and any guesses how long it will take for the seed to ripen- good thing it's heating up! Thanks for the insight. Stand by for the photos I have to reduce their size

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24 minutes ago, NorCalKing said:

I wouldn't mind a few seeds if you score some. I have one in the front yard but it's still pretty young and got beat pretty bad this past frosty winter.

No problem! But that's  just it, my winters are about the same as yours and you JUST DON'T SEE sizeable kings around here...

 

It seems around here there is a certain genetic strain that truly is cold hardy. I guess this is suburban genetic selection? Save the wheat and corn for the farmers ;)

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4 minutes ago, Patrick said:

No problem! But that's  just it, my winters are about the same as yours and you JUST DON'T SEE sizeable kings around here...

 

It seems around here there is a certain genetic strain that truly is cold hardy. I guess this is suburban genetic selection? Save the wheat and corn for the farmers ;)

Absolutely! Mine seems very frost wary. I never dipped below 27f last winter (And that was only 3-4 hours) and I've lost most foliage.

I haven't seen any large ones here in Livermore. Although supposedly there are some out in the wild if you believe this thread. http://www.cloudforest.com/cafe/gardening/california-one-kind-rare-palms-and-tropicals-t3233.html

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27 minutes ago, NorCalKing said:

Absolutely! Mine seems very frost wary. I never dipped below 27f last winter (And that was only 3-4 hours) and I've lost most foliage.

I haven't seen any large ones here in Livermore. Although supposedly there are some out in the wild if you believe this thread. http://www.cloudforest.com/cafe/gardening/california-one-kind-rare-palms-and-tropicals-t3233.html

Well,,,,, Axel. He is a very enthusiastic gardener.

 

I have tried cunninghamias several times and they always disappointed. They just flounder with our cold. They take all summer to get going again then see another winter and POW! Then I learned that there ARE genetic strains that can take a fair amount of cold (Inga Hoffmans for example). Maybe someone else knows the story as I am not as well versed. A king out here is possible, if you have the RIGHT king.

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16 hours ago, Patrick said:

I have tried cunninghamias several times and they always disappointed. They just flounder with our cold. They take all summer to get going again then see another winter and POW! Then I learned that there ARE genetic strains that can take a fair amount of cold (Inga Hoffmans for example). Maybe someone else knows the story as I am not as well versed. A king out here is possible, if you have the RIGHT king.

Mine have never had an issue with cold here; they seem to struggle more in our brutally hot summer.  Coming out of winter they usually look good - it's coming out of summer that is the issue!  I'm probably a few degrees warmer than you though, and have elevation.

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6 hours ago, Ben in Norcal said:

Mine have never had an issue with cold here; they seem to struggle more in our brutally hot summer.  Coming out of winter they usually look good - it's coming out of summer that is the issue!  I'm probably a few degrees warmer than you though, and have elevation.

Yeah mine got burnt bad this year (even though last year last colder). But I seem to do ok in the heat. Weird.

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1 hour ago, NorCalKing said:

Yeah mine got burnt bad this year (even though last year last colder). But I seem to do ok in the heat. Weird.

I think I'm a few degrees warmer than you in the valleys, as well...not a hint of burn on anything here (never got under 30 though.)

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I love the Archies. Palms that is.

While I'm glad they're growing up there, be prepared for 2007 one of these days.

Meantime, keep posting lovely pics for me to like.

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Not to thread jack my own topic, but...

 

Dave's got me thinking. I wonder if this one went through the 07 freeze. I don't know their growh speed at all. I have a small one in my yard and it has been very slow but that's because of it's location I believe.

Any thoughts on the age of this palm AND any thoughts on how long those seeds I'm eyeing will take to ripen up so I can grab them?

 

Thanks!

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10 hours ago, Patrick said:

Dave's got me thinking. I wonder if this one went through the 07 freeze. I don't know their growh speed at all. I have a small one in my yard and it has been very slow but that's because of it's location I believe.

I had the same thought.  Growth rings are fairly close, so my guess is it was there - depending on what size it was put in at.

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Posted (edited)

I'm in Rocklin and I have had one in the ground since 2010. Now I probably have a 100 of them in varying varieties and heights. We had a long cold winter and I haven't had any damage whatsoever in years so I think planting a lot of stuff closer together certainly helps. 

Nice specimen there in Antioch. My Lowe's sells through 15g and 25g Kings like crazy, and I can never find them growing anywhere! Right now they probably have 20 or 30 15g in Stock and 5 or 6 boxes. 

Jim probably has the largest archies in NorCal and there are some specimens around just hard to find! There is one in Folsom, nice single I found growing in someone's backyard. It has been there for many years but it has some elevation. I will have to go over sometime and talk to the owner and get his story. 

Edited by enigma99
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On 4/8/2017, 7:51:37, DoomsDave said:

I love the Archies. Palms that is.

While I'm glad they're growing up there, be prepared for 2007 one of these days.

Meantime, keep posting lovely pics for me to like.

Actually 2013 was about as bad as 2007 in NorCal and my stuff made it through. Let's hope the next test is a few years away :)

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11 hours ago, enigma99 said:

Nice specimen there in Antioch. My Lowe's sells through 15g and 25g Kings like crazy, and I can never find them growing anywhere! Right now they probably have 20 or 30 15g in Stock and 5 or 6 boxes. 

Jim probably has the largest archies in NorCal and there are some specimens around just hard to find! There is one in Folsom, nice single I found growing in someone's backyard. It has been there for many years but it has some elevation. I will have to go over sometime and talk to the owner and get his story. 

I think they are being bought and get fried over the winter, then replaced with something else if I had to guess. I've tried cunninghamias several times in the past and they just didn't have what it takes to survive- though I'm not one to go to great leingths to keep a palm around. I cover for freezes, get out the peroxide when needed, fertilize but I certainly don't baby.

The thing that got me thinking that I *might* be able to get away with certain cunninghamias was when I first saw Inga Hoffman's king (I had previously given up). She sourced the seed from a high altitude location where they weren't supposed to be growing in back when she ran the seed bank. The story was something like that anyways. The palm is very large and beautiful and even made it through the 89 freeze. It showed me that through genetic selection it may be possible. I have one of her babies from that tree in my yard now. So far so good, but I do have it in a pretty protected spot- I wasn't going to take any chances with this one. I wish I could get some more seed or seedlings from Inga's tree too. I guess in theory if I keep this one I have alive long enough I will get seeds...

 

They pushed kings hard also in- what was that 2003 or so when palms were really popular? It was the trendy thing to plant your yard out with palms back then and many folks were doing just that with all their housing bubble 0 interest loan new dwellings. They were pushing foxtails up here too and of course none of those are around either.

I saw cunninghamia boxes at one of the big box stores the other day and thought, "Oh, they're pushing Kings again... greeeeeat...." I suspect that most of these fry over their first winter. There is a house across town from me that planted, several years ago, almost exclusively kings all over ther yard, it looked great! Today there is only one king left and it is right up against the house in a little nook. All the others died presumably from the cold.

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3 hours ago, Patrick said:

I think they are being bought and get fried over the winter, then replaced with something else if I had to guess. I've tried cunninghamias several times in the past and they just didn't have what it takes to survive- though I'm not one to go to great leingths to keep a palm around. I cover for freezes, get out the peroxide when needed, fertilize but I certainly don't baby.

The thing that got me thinking that I *might* be able to get away with certain cunninghamias was when I first saw Inga Hoffman's king (I had previously given up). She sourced the seed from a high altitude location where they weren't supposed to be growing in back when she ran the seed bank. The story was something like that anyways. The palm is very large and beautiful and even made it through the 89 freeze. It showed me that through genetic selection it may be possible. I have one of her babies from that tree in my yard now. So far so good, but I do have it in a pretty protected spot- I wasn't going to take any chances with this one. I wish I could get some more seed or seedlings from Inga's tree too. I guess in theory if I keep this one I have alive long enough I will get seeds...

 

They pushed kings hard also in- what was that 2003 or so when palms were really popular? It was the trendy thing to plant your yard out with palms back then and many folks were doing just that with all their housing bubble 0 interest loan new dwellings. They were pushing foxtails up here too and of course none of those are around either.

I saw cunninghamia boxes at one of the big box stores the other day and thought, "Oh, they're pushing Kings again... greeeeeat...." I suspect that most of these fry over their first winter. There is a house across town from me that planted, several years ago, almost exclusively kings all over ther yard, it looked great! Today there is only one king left and it is right up against the house in a little nook. All the others died presumably from the cold.

Patrick, your expiences surprise me. I've had kings all over my yard for 5+ years now, and never a hint of winter stress. Summer stress yes, winter stress no.

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I was curious and spent a bit of time looking around and found another smaller Archontophoenix nearby.  https://www.google.com/maps/@37.9787326,-121.7808728,3a,75y,286.03h,101.3t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sqQGLGqrVfpDvyNy6orlg9w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

I suspect that this area is just in a good micro-climate with a bit of elevation and not that that particular king is extra hardy.  There also seem to be several P. robelinii in the area.

 

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2 hours ago, Jubaea said:

I was curious and spent a bit of time looking around and found another smaller Archontophoenix nearby.  https://www.google.com/maps/@37.9787326,-121.7808728,3a,75y,286.03h,101.3t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sqQGLGqrVfpDvyNy6orlg9w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

You can also see that same plant has been there for at least four years.

Honestly, absent an exceptional event, kings seem pretty darn solid around here to me.  People in PT are even growing them down in the valleys, and it hits mid-20s in those places every single year.  I believe two things explain why they aren't more widespread:

1. People throw them in to 100+ degree sun out in the open, essentially straight from the shade house.  They burn to a crisp.

2. Half the "big box" pots have the "drought tolerant" sticker on them, just like the Queens, and they are anything but.  People treat them like a cactus.  They dry up.

People know nothing about the cultural requirements of these plants, in particular straight from a shade house, and that hampers success.  But these are summer problems, not winter problems.

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15 minutes ago, Ben in Norcal said:

You can also see that same plant has been there for at least four years.

Honestly, absent an exceptional event, kings seem pretty darn solid around here to me.  People in PT are even growing them down in the valleys, and it hits mid-20s in those places every single year.  I believe two things explain why they aren't more widespread:

1. People throw them in to 100+ degree sun out in the open, essentially straight from the shade house.  They burn to a crisp.

2. Half the "big box" pots have the "drought tolerant" sticker on them, just like the Queens, and they are anything but.  People treat them like a cactus.  They dry up.

People know nothing about the cultural requirements of these plants, in particular straight from a shade house, and that hampers success.  But these are summer problems, not winter problems.

Mine survives just fine here in the valley. It's just how it looks coming out of winter is another story.

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Posted (edited)

My experience has been that Kings are one of the easiest to grow. This winter was the coldest in years yet no damage. Took pictures of some of them today

Small 6' in front are alexandraes

IMG_0976.jpg

IMG_0977.jpg

IMG_0978.jpg

This the only damage I got, from 50mph+ winds, but still green. I am going to just cut it off soon. Tried to strengthen it but failed

IMG_0979.jpg

Even smaller Kings are green

IMG_0980.jpg

Edited by enigma99
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Patrick, the owner of the house could perhaps tell you what year that Archontophoenix Cunninghamia was planted.

 

By the way, here is someone else who has collected bungalow palm seed from an even better location in Australia than Inge Hoffman's (for cold-hardiness, at least):

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/35620-searching-for-frost-hardy-archontophoenixbungalow-palm/

It  may be time to ask the seed germinator in that post for an update on how his trees have been doing since 2013.  I seem to recall that he/she was located somewhere in the United States.

 

 

 

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It may be possible to check in Google street view to see if there are older photos taken.  I seem to remember a slide bar that allowed me to look in my old neighborhood going back to 1998!  Not sure if that function still exists.

 

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