2018 Florida Freeze

568 posts in this topic

16 hours ago, Sandy Loam said:

Now that several months have passed, I have a clearer idea of how my palms were damaged by the big January 2018 freeze (two freezes, separated by only a week and a half).  This was the worst freeze since 2010 in my region. 

Obviously, all of my cold-hardy Palms had no damage, including queen palms. However, I had four types of crownshaft Palms too: Roystonea Regia, pseudophoenix sargentii, kentiopsis oliviformis and archontoiphoenix cunninghamiana.  None of these are appropriate for my zone 9a climate (almost 9b), but they were an experiment. 

The archontoiphoenix cunninghamiana are now all dead.  They had a good run for several years, but January 2018 did them all in.

The kentiopsis oliviformis may have suffered significant cold damage, but have now both come back again.  They still don't look perfect, but they are growing out big healthy leaves now. None died.

Roystonea Regis:  I had four or five juvenile Palms of this species and none survived.  I understand that this palm grows more cold-hardy with age, but that may just be palm gossip.

Pseudophoenix sargentii --I had four of these (fairly juvenile) and all died except for one.  It is not exactly back to normal either.  It has grown out a half leaf, but barely. The leaf looks stalled and I am not sure whether this palm will ever fully recover.

A few surprises in the non-palm world:

-hibiscus rosa-sinensis:  killed to the ground

- cordyline australis "red star" and "red Sensation": no damage at all

-Copper leaf:  killed to the ground and does not seem to be coming back.  I am surprised because these apparently do find in winter in nearby Jacksonville.  I had just planted this a week before the big freeze hit.

- Brazilian red cloak:  I had also purchased this tree just a week before the big freeze, sroots were not established and it was accustomed to living in much hotter South Florida.  The freeze killed it completely and it has not ccome back.

-Aloe hurcules:  killed

- bromeliads: have mostly come back to normal now, but were severely damaged in January.  Only the matchstick bromeliads suffered no cold damage at all.

-clusias:  dead

I could continue with a longer freeze report, but I will stop there.

 

My red copper defoliated about 80% every winter in Orlando but comes back vigorously. I'm surprised yours didnt make it. Maybe it had some other health problems?

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On 5/14/2018, 7:59:16, Chatta said:

Land O Lakes Coconut Palm (S.R 54 just pas US 41) Looks rough but It looks like it could survive.... This one definitely took a hard hit

20180514_130707e.jpg

How the heck is that thing still alive after all this time? I thought it would have died after the 2017 winter and surely after 2018. That part of LOL must still be 9B, but you wouldn't think that coconut could survive as long as it has. 

16 hours ago, Sandy Loam said:

Now that several months have passed, I have a clearer idea of how my palms were damaged by the big January 2018 freeze (two freezes, separated by only a week and a half).  This was the worst freeze since 2010 in my region. 

Obviously, all of my cold-hardy Palms had no damage, including queen palms. However, I had four types of crownshaft Palms too: Roystonea Regia, pseudophoenix sargentii, kentiopsis oliviformis and archontoiphoenix cunninghamiana.  None of these are appropriate for my zone 9a climate (almost 9b), but they were an experiment. 

The archontoiphoenix cunninghamiana are now all dead.  They had a good run for several years, but January 2018 did them all in.

The kentiopsis oliviformis may have suffered significant cold damage, but have now both come back again.  They still don't look perfect, but they are growing out big healthy leaves now. None died.

Roystonea Regis:  I had four or five juvenile Palms of this species and none survived.  I understand that this palm grows more cold-hardy with age, but that may just be palm gossip.

Pseudophoenix sargentii --I had four of these (fairly juvenile) and all died except for one.  It is not exactly back to normal either.  It has grown out a half leaf, but barely. The leaf looks stalled and I am not sure whether this palm will ever fully recover.

A few surprises in the non-palm world:

-hibiscus rosa-sinensis:  killed to the ground

- cordyline australis "red star" and "red Sensation": no damage at all

-Copper leaf:  killed to the ground and does not seem to be coming back.  I am surprised because these apparently do find in winter in nearby Jacksonville.  I had just planted this a week before the big freeze hit.

- Brazilian red cloak:  I had also purchased this tree just a week before the big freeze, sroots were not established and it was accustomed to living in much hotter South Florida.  The freeze killed it completely and it has not ccome back.

-Aloe hurcules:  killed

- bromeliads: have mostly come back to normal now, but were severely damaged in January.  Only the matchstick bromeliads suffered no cold damage at all.

-clusias:  dead

I could continue with a longer freeze report, but I will stop there.

 

I'm surprised to hear your aloe died, I thought it was good to about 20f... Roystonea do get more cold hardy with age, but I kind of doubt mature ones would have survived the winter up there. I'm really surprised to he's your KO made it, but that's great news!

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Yeah, I guess it's true what they say about bud - hardiness having almost no correlation to leaf - hardiness.  My Kentiopsis Oliviformis have definitely been bud - hardy (I now have four of them; added two more since the winter). However, it's not a palm that anyone would want to put front and centre in any landscaping this far north.  They're good for extra summer/autumn foliage at the backdrop of your "jungle" ONLY because they won't look good in January or February most years up here.   

My takeaway from January 2018 is that it is amazing what a 3 Degree difference can make.  That was the only difference between what my tropical Palms tolerated successfully for many years. At least one night a year, they had seen maximum lows 26 or 27 degrees for eight years straight, then suddenly 23-24 degrees hit, and they were dead.  That's all it took.  If you have a 26 Degree yard, you can do so much more with your landscape than the person who has a 23 or 24 Degree yard
 

PJ, I am surprised that your copper leaf shrub defoliated in Orlando because I see some around there which look fine much of the year.  Were you located somewhere north or west of the city ( colder patches)?  I love how they grow into huge, thick hedges down in South Florida.

If anyone else out there has palm damage/recovery updates from this past January's two freezes, please post your updates here.  People are always glad to hear about pleasant surprises, especially. 

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January 2018 report:

Looking back at the freeze on Jan. 18th, it appears that Weather.com has adjusted their numbers.  Previously, they recorded 25F for that night.  Their numbers are now more in line with what my weather station recorded that night (28F).  Another issue that arises when I crunch the numbers is that the temperature seems to have varied significantly, depending on where it was recorded.  For reference, I’ve included readings from WeatherUnderground, Weather.com, and Accuweather.com.  You will notice differences that are significant to those of us who grow palms and tropical/subtropical plants.  For example, WeatherUnderground recorded lows of 28F and 24F on January 4th and January 18th, respectively.  For the same days, Weather.com recorded lows of 32F and 28F.  As @Sandy Loam mentioned, those 4 degrees make a significant difference.  @RedRabbit had mentioned months ago that our airport recorded temperatures in the mid-20s, which prompted me to check my weather station against the major weather sites.  At that point, I realized that the readings for each of the sites varied and that might explain the differences in damaged plants from one property to the next observed by many of us.

 

From previous comments and conversations, I think it helps to look at the winter or the month as a whole, as well as the advective nature of the freeze, to understand why the damage was more significant for this event than other events in the same temperature range.  We did have a less severe cool-off at the beginning of the month that was mostly radiational in nature. @Zeeth had pointed out that we had unseasonably warm temperatures just before the worst freeze on the 18th.  You can see days at or near 80F with lows in the 60s the week before we got the freeze.  That may have been enough to put plants in active growth.  In my case, when the freeze got here on the 18th, the wind blew between 10mph and 15mph all night.  My property is setup to break the wind in the back, but it is open in the front.  Overall, the average for the month using any of the sites was much below the 74F/50F average.  The below average temperatures overall coupled with 2 cold spells with a significant warmup in between might explain some of the weird but significant damage.

 

No damage: Phoenix dactylifera (exposed, west side), phoenix roebelenii (exposed, west side), phoenix theophrasti (potted), rhapis excelsa (exposed, north side), bismarckia nobilis (semi-covered, north/west side), cycas revolute (exposed, west side), chamaerops humilis var. cerifera (wind protected with canopy), citrus: orange, Persian lime (wind protected without canopy), bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) (wind protected without canopy), rhapidophyllum hystrix (wind protected with canopy), sabal minor (wind protected with canopy)

Minor damage: philodendron bipinnatifidum (exposed, west side), sugarcane (wind protected with canopy), bambusa oldhami (semi-wind protected), avocado (semi-wind protected, ‘Black Prince’?), mango (semi-wind protected, ‘Glenn’?)

Moderate damage: Coconuts (Malay dwarf, Maypan, Atlantic/Jamaican tall) - varying degrees of passive protection from wind plus fronds tied up and covered with towels or blankets.

Defoliation and recovery: coccoloba uvifera, bananas: dwarf cavendish, ice cream, neighbor’s mango tree (exposed), Green Malay dwarf coconut at another location (exposed)

 

Death: archontophoenix alexandrae - from a fungal infection.  The foliage had ~50%-60% burn and it appeared the palm would recover before going into decline. Green Malay dwarf coconut at another location (exposed) - this was a twin planting where one survived somehow and the other did not.

201809150050_Jan2018_AllWeather.png

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On 9/14/2018, 5:15:31, Sandy Loam said:

Interesting.

I now have a fakahatchee Royal palm (still in pot), so it will hopefully prove more cold hardy.  My coldest temperature on the coldest night of the freeze was 24.3 F in one part of my yard and 23.4 in a different part of my yard.

That's also good to know about ponytail Palms.  I did not experience any trunk "mush" , thank goodness. 

Other Palms which had no damage in the big January freeze here are:  Rapids Excelsa, chamaedorea Microspadix, chamaedorea radicalis (both types), bismarckia nobilis, without any protection.  I am sure there are others which have not come to mind right now.  Many of my succulents and cacti were unharmed too, although some were completely killed after several years of thriving.

The ponytail that was mush is the one shown in the below photo. It grew back with five trunks, but I noticed today when I took this pic it now has a sixth small trunk. I didn't think the ponytail would come back, but it did. The odd thing I experienced this past winter is that my Brazilian red cloak shrub (you can see it up against the house, near the front) wasn't frost damaged. Yet, my coconut palm was severely frost damaged, as well as my large royal palm (not shown). My big FIcus altissima tree (not shown) in my front yard had no frost damage on leaves. My Brazilian red cloak shrub was about 10 feet or more high, and I cut it back hard this past spring. It's grown back substantially, although not quite as high yet. I had many Archontophoenix alexandrae and A. cunninghamia frost burned this past winter, ones that were more exposed. Others in more protected areas weren't hurt at all.

Ponytail 9-15-18.jpg

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wow. Perhaps my mistake with Brazillian Red Cloak was planting it a few days before the big freeze.  I assumed that it would defoliate in winter this far north, but I expected it to come back in the summer. 

 

It's good to hear about the resilience of pony taill palms. 

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i found this coconut jus south of the crosstown in hyde park tampa 

i saw the ones off the howard frankland today in the westshore district, they look good... recovering nicely. hopefully its a warm winter

20180912_131209.jpg

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Good find! Here's the coconut I planted at my brother's house in Davis Island. It did pretty well through the winter. 

signal-2018-09-07-171947.thumb.jpeg.6e04

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