2018 Freeze - South Carolina

13 posts in this topic

Now that it's July I wanted to report in on losses and survivors in the January 2018 freeze.  I had 5-6 consecutive nights below 20F, with absolute lows of 14F and 13F.  Highs in the low-mid 30's.  All plants fully exposed, no canopy unless noted.  Ground froze to at least 2-3" in many areas of the yard.  Most of the results are somewhat expected, I did not protect anything as the severity of the freeze caught me off guard (it was forecast for low-mid 20's here). 

Palms in the ground:

Butia odorata (mature) Silver form, 50% defoliated.  (5-7 gal) - Smaller silver Butia 50-100% defoliated but survived without aid.  Many seedlings were killed.

Butia sp. (5 gal) - green form.  100% defoliated and spear rot, barely survived.

Butia x Syagrus (approx. 5 gal) - killed.

Chamerops humilis (3 gal) - blue and green forms.  All killed (3 separate palms), but a single sucker on one palm survived.  Spear damage to mature palms in town.

Livistona decora (5 gal) - killed

Livistona chinensis (3 gal) - 100% burn but survived without aid.

Phoenix dactylifera - Not mine, but I noted that a ~15 gal palm in town survived with 100% defoliation (under canopy).

Rhapidophyllum hystrix (3 gal) - no damage

Sabal minor (3 gal) - no damage

Sabal Causarium (3 gal) - 2 palms survived with burn on old leaves only

Trachycarpus fortunei (3-15 gal) - Total of 5 palms from 3-7 gallon had spear pull, one died from rot.  15 gallon palms had minor burn.

Trachycarpus "waggie" (2 gal) - killed

Washingtonia "filibusta" (3 gal) - killed

Cycads in the ground:

Cycas revoluta (12" trunk) - growth point was killed (top 3-4" of trunk turned to mush).  The lower trunk is alive, but has not formed leaves yet in 2018. 

Cycas panzihuaensis (2" to 5" caudex) - all plants in the ground survived with 50-75% defoliation, and flushed without issue in spring.

Dioon edule (2-5" caudex) - of 5 plants in the ground, the two largest (4-5") survived.  Smaller plants died. 

Zamia floridana - killed (caudex was buried 2-3" deep)

Other plants of interest:

Quercus insignis - survived, but killed back to old growth.  This oak defoliates under light frost, but leaves shielded from frost remain evergreen into the high teens - low 20's.

Eucalyptus gunnii - two plants, both killed to the ground, only one came back

E. cinerea - minor damage

Citrus "Calamandarin" - killed to the ground

European olive (unknown variety) killed back to the main trunk - 1" diameter. 

 

 

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Great update here.

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Posted (edited)

Steve, thanks for the update. Are you up in the Greenville area?

Thanks

 

 

 

Edited by RJ
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Location would help, wouldn't it?  I'm in Aiken SC and probably a warm 8A.

Couple more random thoughts:

- C. panzihuaensis continues to impress.  I was weeding over the weekend and found another one next to some bushes - it got tossed on the ground last fall, as the taproot rotted and it failed to flush for the entire year.  This was a small plant (1.5-2" caudex) that I did not expect to survive such a loss.  However sometime this spring it flushed a normal leaf and was starting to put roots down.  I'm hoping that we will start to see hybrids of this species that perform equally well.

- On the other end of the spectrum, Chamaerops is the biggest disappointment.  I don't think these are worth it except in protected spots.  For being the most available "hardy" palm in Home Depot, there are relatively few survivors around town.  They don't seem to grow out of spear rot issues like the windmills do.

Steve

 

 

 

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Aiken is 11.9-12.3F per the USDA interactive map.  Middle of the road 8A. 

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I am surprised about the small Livistona surviving. I guess it wouldn't be able to take such beatings regularly in an 8B zone? 

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21 hours ago, Swolte said:

I am surprised about the small Livistona surviving. I guess it wouldn't be able to take such beatings regularly in an 8B zone? 

It might survive if it gets a break from defoliation every other year (not likely).  It's taking pretty much the full growing season to replace the lost foliage.

 

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  I think there is a a nice tall L. Decora at the Zoo in Columbia. 

 

I would like to try a  Livistona chinensis var.suglobosa but I can't seem to locate one for the life of me (or seeds) 

https://www.trebrown.com/plant_info.php?species=Livistona+chinensis+var.+subglobosa

 

 

 

Edited by RJ
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"Quercus insignis - survived, but killed back to old growth.  This oak defoliates under light frost, but leaves shielded from frost remain evergreen into the high teens - low 20's."

 

Where the heck did you obtain the unobtainium? That is a very difficult oak to source. 

Edited by RJ
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RJ - I happened to find an oak collector who'd gotten a few acorns - to my knowledge he never got any more.  I'm fairly confident the oak will survive in zone 8, but not sure if it can fruit here.  This oak is represented in some botanical collections so there's hope it will become available in the future.  The city arboretum in Aiken has an extensive rare oak collection and they've got one (although it's small like mine).  Per my internet research, there's also one in Savannah, one in Raleigh (JC Raulston), and one in Texas (Peckerwood gardens) that was reported to have acorns in 2016.

Steve

 

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22 hours ago, Turtlesteve said:

RJ - I happened to find an oak collector who'd gotten a few acorns - to my knowledge he never got any more.  I'm fairly confident the oak will survive in zone 8, but not sure if it can fruit here.  This oak is represented in some botanical collections so there's hope it will become available in the future.  The city arboretum in Aiken has an extensive rare oak collection and they've got one (although it's small like mine).  Per my internet research, there's also one in Savannah, one in Raleigh (JC Raulston), and one in Texas (Peckerwood gardens) that was reported to have acorns in 2016.

Steve

 

Amazing. In your travels you every come across another one keep me in mind.

I've started a few oaks this fall, Chinese evergreen oak Quercus myrsinifolia , Japanese Blue oak - Quercus glauca , Japanese Stone oak - Lithocarpus edulis. And of course out native Live oak. Also thinking about starting some Texas Live oak. Thinking it might be slightly better adapted further inland then Southern Live Oak. There must be a reason not a lot of live oak is planted around here. Perhaps you know??? 

 

Edited by RJ
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1 hour ago, RJ said:

Amazing. In your travels you every come across another one keep me in mind.

I've started a few oaks this fall, Chinese evergreen oak Quercus myrsinifolia , Japanese Blue oak - Quercus glauca , Japanese Stone oak - Lithocarpus edulis. And of course out native Live oak. Also thinking about starting some Texas Live oak. Thinking it might be slightly better adapted further inland then Southern Live Oak. There must be a reason not a lot of live oak is planted around here. Perhaps you know??? 

 

Live oak should be fine in Columbia given good soil drainage - people just haven't planted them there.  I'm currently trying Q canbyi, Q suber, Q hemisphaerica, Q myrtifolia, Q. polymorpha? (unsure of ID) and Lithocarpus glaber from acorns (plus the species you mention, except texas live oak).  I might try more but I only have so much room.

There are a ton of other evergreen oaks and stone oaks that are zone 8 hardy but nobody bothers to cultivate them.  Many of the mexican species have big leaves - Q. rysophylla has a nice look to it and is easier to obtain.  I had one but it died when planted out (some oaks are a little bit tricky when started in pots).  Many species are "unobtanium" as you mention, possibly harder to source than insignis - Q. tarhumara (handbasin oak), Q lamellosa, etc. 

I'm eventually going to try air layering branches from the Q. insignis - will let you know if it works.

Steve

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I looked into the Canbyi oak but I don't think I ever found a source of acorns. I usually start my trees from seeds. I would like to get my hands on some Lithocarpus henryi acorns. Up north I had 75 acres and more varieties of trees that I planted then I can recall. Evergreen trees weren't an option for me. Case in point my old home is having weather of 9*F and 21 MPH winds right now. Yuck I don't miss that. 

 

I use the stuewe and sons deep pots for starting my seeds. I can fit 20 seedlings in about a 12"x18" rack and the pots are about 12" deep, great for trees that have large taproots like hickory and oaks. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by RJ
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