Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Noticed something in the Bay Area

22 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

My wife and I just arrived back home from a 4-day weekend in San Francisco.

I could not help but notice the three most noticeable palms there are the Robusta, Filiferas and the Canariensis. I did spot a Jubea hiding behind a house/ranch in Sonoma.

A couple queens  (looking very badly downtown SF)

I thought SF was a 10a... 

We went to the Dolores mission and that street is lined with the first palms I mentioned. Took this pic yesterday. Pretty much boils down what I saw in the general area. (Livermore- Dublin- Petaluma-Sonoma-Napa-San Rafael, Sausalito-san Bruno- San Mateo- even in Pacifica). No, we didn't go palm hunting. 

However I was looking out for them. Granted I was driving (rental car).

I did notice Livermore was 12f warmer than San Francisco on Saturday. 84F. Completely unexpected. Is there an updated zone map of the bay area? 

 

20180513_155110.jpg

Btw, I have never seen so many and so lush canariensis palms as I did in the bay area. Just magnificent. Not talking about "well we in Socal got a bad rap with the beetle". No. I'm talking about vis-a-vis thriving canariesis. I guess it's the amount of water they get up north.

Edited by GottmitAlex
3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yes, this morning while driving down to Pacifica from San Francisco, I did spot a Kentia . Not bad looking. 

But it was a rare sight. 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alex,

Your observations are spot on.. While others can speak a bit more clearly regarding San Fran itself, Washingtonia and Canary Island Dates are essentially the only three palms i grew up around in San Jose. It wasn't until i was in Jr. High school that i started noticing Queens or the occasional King or Brahea. Can't say of sure, but i have heard that they are planting more Kentias around San Francisco lately. 

As far as climate, while considered zone 10, S.F. would qualify as a cold 10.. Greatly effected by the ocean. Livermore, and pretty much anywhere south of Downtown San Jose are a whole lot warmer overall, ( far less direct effects from the Bay / cold air off the Pacific) but it can get colder in the winter during a frost/freeze event. While listed zone 9b currently, i personally would consider most of San Jose, and a good chunk of the East Bay 10 since, if you look, you'll find much more Tropicals / wider variety of Palms then you might in San Fran. Then again, that part of the Bay Area can grow some really cool stuff that hates heat. 

 I always found it interesting how i could be sweating up a storm hiking in the hills above Santa Teressa or Almaden ( South San Jose area) during the summer, yet see the fog hanging over SF from a high enough vantage point. 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

The SF Bay Area has a multitude of microclimates. On  a summer day it can be 65F in downtown San Francisco and 85 to 95F just 30 or so miles to the east, north, or south. There are areas in the North and East Bay that experience mid and upper 20s every winter and areas of the Bay Area that rarely go below 32F. Hills, valleys, and bodies of water affect climate. 

I'm in an in-between area (Los Altos) where I'm close enough to the south end of the Bay to benefit from it's moderating temperature effects  with more or less a 10a zone in winter but far enough that I get some warmth that lacks as you get closer to San Francisco. 

Ceroxylon, Howea, Hedescepe, and Rhopalostylis flourish here but Wodyetia, Dypsis, Pritchardia, Kerriodoxa, some Pinanga, and the likes can grow also as well as fruiting mangoes, certain papaya, etc. 

 

Edited by Jim in Los Altos
4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim, do you know if San Francisco or any of the outlying areas could grow a bottle palm? I can see the potential. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, GottmitAlex said:

Jim, do you know if San Francisco or any of the outlying areas could grow a bottle palm? I can see the potential. 

I think bottles are a stretch even in most of Socal.

Queens look great in most of the Bay Area - SF is too cold for them to look their best.  They really like 80+ degree temps which are rare in SF.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree w/ Ben, 

While i personally might tip the odds favorably for successfully growing Royals in the warmest parts of the Bay Area like San Jose, and possibly in a favorable spot around the East Bay, closer to the bay itself, or over the hill in Santa Cruz,  even the warmest spots in the neighborhoods i grew up in would be tough for Bottles or other palms that want just a bit more warmth and less potential cool/cold -wet winter conditions than can occur there, at least in the ground.

That being said, i do think that a dedicated grower who has the means could squeak one by in pots. If i could have found one at the time, i might have tried it myself. 
 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Phoenix canariensis has I think a slightly different look depending on conditions, and to my eye they have a denser, darker-looking crown in cooler climates. You are probably right that they look a little better with more rain as they are quite beautiful in SF despite their warm-climate origin. In the Southeast and Florida they are also very beautiful but with perhaps a slightly lighter and more open, expansive look in the crown...just my off-the-top-of-my-head opinion, and possibly due to the more rapid growth, higher rainfall and humidity. They are a very adaptable palm! Washingtonia in my experience really suffer along the California coast as one travels northward, though the one you picture in SF looks good! They generally want heat and to my mind, at least in the USA, look their best in Vegas and the Coachella Valley (when they have groundwater and/or irrigation).

Jim rightly brings up Ceroxylon, Howea, Hedyscepe, Rhopalostylis...add Juania and several others to that list and you have many gorgeous palms that can only thrive in a few restricted areas of the globe...and unfortunately planted all too rarely due to some combination of ignorance, little availability and lack of interest, not likely to improve much considering the nurseries and Big Box stores thrive on the usual and well-known bunch. The area could stand to have many more of these wonderful palms, and the Northern California chapter of the Palm Society used to have a nice website (and may still) with lots of detailed information on the species adaptable around the Bay Area, and both Golden Gate Park in SF and the Lakeside Palmetum in Oakland will give you a good idea in person of what is adaptable in two very different climate zones in the region.

The California coast, from around Ventura up to the vicinity of the Golden Gate, is one of those favored climatic places where the real cool-climate rarities can grow, and as one moves northward through that region gains a leg up on SoCal due to improved rainfall, humidity and soil in many areas, as well as a more dependably cool-to-chilly climate year-round (and with frosts/freezes still rather infrequent) that those palms seem to enjoy most. There are a good number of beautiful Howea growing in the open in San Francisco...you must have just missed them! And who needs a fussy Pinanga when you have Geonoma undata? Darold Petty's garden right in the fog-bank about a mile from the coast in San Francisco hosts that eye-popping species plus Ceroxylon, et al. and is well documented on this forum. The climate gets much more complicated when you leave the fog-belt. The late Dick Douglas was the great trial-master of the hotter-and-colder inland areas and found many that survived there...but it is a completely different world from the slender coastal strip that can produce magnificent specimens of some of the most beautiful palms in the world.

And alas, you will not find a bottle palm anywhere near San Francisco except in a heated greenhouse...they are a very tough grow in San Diego!

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you fellas. As always in Palm talk for me: it's very educational.

Thank you again.

 

 

 

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, GottmitAlex said:

Jim, do you know if San Francisco or any of the outlying areas could grow a bottle palm? I can see the potential. 

I certainly wish it were possible. The climate is not favorable to palms of tropical nature for the most part with a few exceptions. Hyophorbe palms (bottle) are too needy of warmth both daytime and night time. Our Mediterranean climate means cool nights year round except after the hottest of days in the summer and early fall. 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a two or three mile stretch of road in Fremont that was planted with Jubaea - probably a hundred or more. This was maybe 5 years ago or so. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't remember seeing a lot of Palm species regular planted out in Nor Cal.  Even if many species would do reasonably well only P. Canariensis ,Washingtonia and Queens were seen.  I am referring to more inland areas with heat but with freezing temperatures in the winter.  I would think that Rohopalostylis and many other cool weather tolerant species would do well i the areas that to not get too hot or cold would do quite well.  Unfortunately palm growers especially those for big box stores would focus on those which would grow quickly and have some chance of survival.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jubaea said:

I don't remember seeing a lot of Palm species regular planted out in Nor Cal.  Even if many species would do reasonably well only P. Canariensis ,Washingtonia and Queens were seen.  I am referring to more inland areas with heat but with freezing temperatures in the winter.  I would think that Rohopalostylis and many other cool weather tolerant species would do well i the areas that to not get too hot or cold would do quite well.  Unfortunately palm growers especially those for big box stores would focus on those which would grow quickly and have some chance of survival.

I've made sure that any of my clients who were fine with adding palms to their new landscape designs got less common ones. My men have installed dozens of Rhopalostylis, Parajubaea, Archontophoenix, Howea, Brahea, Livistona, Dypsis, Rhaphis, Chamaedorea, hybrids, and others hear in my South Bay Area where other landscape architects would have used just Queens, Washintonia, and Phoenix if any palms at all. 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are losing sight of the fact that many rare palms are slow growing, and thus not economic for commercial growers.  Also, we have the 'chicken&egg' problem.

  People won't purchase an unknown palm, and nurseries won't stock an item that does not sell in a timely period.

Several years ago I convinced a local nursery to stock some Rhopalostylis sapida palms I had propagated.  They were large, one gallon plants, very well grown and just excellent.  No matter, they lanquished at the nursery, and it was forever before they eventually were purchased.  I won't make that mistake again. :(

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Darold Petty said:

We are losing sight of the fact that many rare palms are slow growing, and thus not economic for commercial growers.  Also, we have the 'chicken&egg' problem.

  People won't purchase an unknown palm, and nurseries won't stock an item that does not sell in a timely period.

Several years ago I convinced a local nursery to stock some Rhopalostylis sapida palms I had propagated.  They were large, one gallon plants, very well grown and just excellent.  No matter, they lanquished at the nursery, and it was forever before they eventually were purchased.  I won't make that mistake again. :(

Having first hand experience with this, i can completely understand Darold's statement..  When searching for less common stuff, i was often greeted with that odd, bewildered look of confusion.. or met with statements such as .."you sure this will survive here?" Hence why i started picking up material from down south, or the trips here to Phoenix and Tucson at that time.. 
 
On the flip side, it seems that more "rebel gardeners", as i call them across the region are searching out the more uncommon.. or assumed-to-be not possible there material.. Creative and forward-thinking Landscapers/ L.S. Designers like Jim,  or Plantsmen / collectors like Darold and others who make a point of focusing more on use of the less common certainly help demonstrate what is possible to more people as well.  

In time, these efforts, as well as creating more demonstration gardens in local parks will further drive people to seek them out.  Id certainly be working on such projects had i not left San Jose..  



 

Edited by Silas_Sancona
wording
3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MAYBE A PALM EVANGELISTS' CREED?

1. Love your palms, accept that not everyone does

2. There is more to life than [common species in locale]

3. Beauty is in experimenting

4. Show the doubters the light

5. But accept that not all will see, at least not immediately

6. Take them to your garden and show them (I have, and eyes sometimes bulge, mouths drop open, etc.)

7. Loving palms doesn't mean you hate everything else

I'm sure someone can come up with better

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

MAYBE A PALM EVANGELISTS' CREED?

1. Love your palms, accept that not everyone does

2. There is more to life than [common species in locale]

3. Beauty is in experimenting

4. Show the doubters the light

5. But accept that not all will see, at least not immediately

6. Take them to your garden and show them (I have, and eyes sometimes bulge, mouths drop open, etc.)

7. Loving palms doesn't mean you hate everything else

I'm sure someone can come up with better

Good enough for me.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@GottmitAlex, next time you get to the Bay Area, get thee to Golden Gate Park. Full of Rhopies, and a (steely) naked lady (or man) or two.

AND

Try to get @Darold Petty to show you his small glorious gem of a garden. Bring your crying towels, swooning chairs, etc. Much variety in a small place.

For starters.

Amen.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I live just outside the bay area in Modesto... this guy in my front yard kinda looks like a bottle palm!

notice it’s lil cousin d. Onhilensis next to it with about 2 ft of clear trunk, but dwarfed by my dyppy decipiens!

 

 

80D3F6F6-584A-460E-9E8B-051CEB0CD7C3.jpeg

Edited by JEFF IN MODESTO
Pic
12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff, I am So relieved to see that your palm has cleared the roof eave ! 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/16/2018, 6:44:00, Darold Petty said:

Jeff, I am So relieved to see that your palm has cleared the roof eave ! 

Yup crisis temporarily avoided... for now.

the palm is also leaning away from the house.

but it’s girth is growing ;/

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/16/2018, 5:37:37, JEFF IN MODESTO said:

I live just outside the bay area in Modesto... this guy in my front yard kinda looks like a bottle palm!

notice it’s lil cousin d. Onhilensis next to it with about 2 ft of clear trunk, but dwarfed by my dyppy decipiens!

 

 

80D3F6F6-584A-460E-9E8B-051CEB0CD7C3.jpeg

Jeff's decipiens for the win! 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0