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Caryota_gigas

Frost experiments from down under

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Caryota_gigas
Hi Micheal

Very interesting to see how well the Hedyscepe did with -3.5c a really tough customer ,hardier than howea forsteriana it seems and to think i was worried about mine when our low this winter was 0.1 C ( i am very close to the water ) .

do you have any howea outside in your garden ??

Cheers Troy

I do have Howea in the ground, but only very small protected ones which did fine.

Cheers,

Michael.

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Caryota_gigas

This small in-ground Dypsis oropedionis made it through with some minor spotting. This palm was however under a beach umbrella through all frosty periods. I think exposed to the frost it would have been badly damaged as seedlings were in my other experiments. A palm that will take a fair degree of cold so long as it is protected from Jack Frost.

post-636-1251229048_thumb.jpg

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Caryota_gigas

I have plenty of other frosty pics, but I wont bore you with all of those... instead lets wrap up the seedling experiments...

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Caryota_gigas

Below is a list of palm seedlings (I know.. the first one is not a palm) that I placed out in the frost to see how they would cope this Winter. Some had one freeze, while others had up to 6 frosts on an individual plant. I will try and summarise how each plant has handled this abuse. If I have missed a species from earlier posts, please let me know.

Cycas revoluta

Trachycarpus fortunei

Sabal mauritiiformis

Beccariophoenix alfredii

Brahea aculeata

Rhopalostylis sapida "Chatham"

Dypsis oropedionis

Aiphanes horrida

Allagoptera arenaria

Areca triandra

Beccariophoenix alfredii

Beccariophoenix madagascariensis "Southern form"

Dypsis ambositrae

Dypsis onilahensis

Jubaeopsis caffra

Phoenix canariensis

Phoenix loureiroi

Plectocomia himalayana

Serenoa repens

Chambeyronia macrocarpa

Dypsis decipiens

Howea belmoreana

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Caryota_gigas

Lets start with those that didn't do so well...

Surprisingly nothing outright died. Most palms in these trials had to deal with temps between -1.5°C (29.3°F) and -2.5°C (27.5°F) and frost directly on the leaves. And remember most of these are seedlings between 100mm and 250mm.

The palm that showed the most immediate damage was (unfortunately) Dypsis oropedionis.

This species seems to be able to handle cold... but not frost.

The frosted seedling was exposed to temps of -1.6°C for 1 night and covered in frost.

It now has 3 brown leaves, though isn't actually dead... yet.

Another seedling the same size was under 2 plastic plant pots right next to the frosted plant and received no damage. I have many other small seedlings of this species scattered about my property, and those outside all Winter have fared well under natural cover from frost.

A larger in-ground specimen (pictured above) has done fine through the cold, with just slight marking... this plant was protected from frost all Winter but still experienced temps down around -3°C (26.5°F).

In conclusion I feel D. oropedionis is a species that will take short cold snaps down to -3°C unscathed even at a very young age, provided the leaves are kept free of frost, and probably roots are kept on the dry side during such temps.

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Caryota_gigas

Aiphanes horrida and Areca triandra both coped better than I had expected with only the most horizontal surfaces receiving damage. These are plants considered too tropical for NZ. I have 2 small A. triandra in ground that have come through Winter with flying colours. Each trial plant received a couple of frosts, looks a little ugly now, but are still comfortably alive. Im very pleased with these plants.

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Caryota_gigas

Dypsis... from least hardy to most... I would put in the following order based on this Winters experiments;

D. oropedionis

D. baronii

D. onilahensis

D. ambositrae

D. decipiens

My in-ground D. baronii's look awful after this Winter, usually they fare fine. Even a D. decaryi came through better than the D. baronii's. Having said that, the D. baronii's are all more exposed to frost than any other in-ground Dypsis I have on my property.

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Caryota_gigas

Howea belmoreana, Chambeyronia macrocarpa, Rhopalostylis sapida "Chatham"

These plants I feel were all on their limit, but came through alright with no lasting damage. I have found these will take moderate infrequent frost without issue. My in-ground C. macrocarpa recieves frost each year and comes through undamged... that was until this year. These 3 will take the odd -1.5°C temp fine, but not too many, or much lower I feel, as young plants.

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Caryota_gigas

Cycas revoluta

Trachycarpus fortunei

Sabal mauritiiformis

Brahea aculeata

Allagoptera arenaria

Jubaeopsis caffra

Phoenix canariensis

Phoenix loureiroi

Plectocomia himalayana

Serenoa repens

All of these did fine with mild freezes, no lasting damage on any and many could go a lot colder than what these went through I'm sure.

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Caryota_gigas

But the winners in my opinion...

Beccariophoenix

I am surprised... though very pleasantly.

When Beccariophoenix was first on the scene here I ignored it thinking they would maybe grow in warm micro-climates in NZ, but would never look good... and I stand by that thought to an extent... but all Beccariophoenix are not created equal.

The 2 species / varieties I trialed for frost tolerance this year were B. alfredii, and what was sold through RPS as Beccariophoenix (Southern form), which has the exact definition on RPS as B. madagascariensis.

I have found B. alfredii to be a quick grower and last year several seedlings got frosted by accident. I shifted most into the GH after that but left some out in the open to see how they would cope with more frost. We only had 4 frosts last year, and the B. alfredii's did fine, so I planted a couple of these small seedlings as they also seemed to cope fine with strong sun.

This year I have inflicted 6 frosts on one of the plants that was frosted last year... and once again... no damage!

This is a palm I will be utilising much more in the future.

The B. sp. "Southern form" which some say is the "true" B. madagascariensis is another winner. It appears to have no windows and is a bit slower than B. alfredii... but when it comes to frost / cold tolerance it seemed to do as well as B. alfredii.

These are very cold hardy plants for a climate such as mine. Im not saying you should plant one in Sweden or anything. There are much hardier palms, but this one shone through in these trials, and I did focus a lot of attention on these 2 species. These plants can take the cold well, but may also need a good amount of heat to keep them ticking along well. So these may not be suitable for places like England... but I would give it a shot.

I will be replacing my extremely frost intolerant Archontophoenix's with Beccariophoenix's this year after seeing how well the Beccariophoenix seedlings have done.

Well... thats about it...

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peachy

Michael I cannot thank you enough for all of this invaluable information. Now I can start working on my east facing front garden that up until now has only had a couple of the old 'toughies' in the ground. Knowing I can plant so many species and get a real tropical look to the place is just so fantastic. On the weekend I planted a palm right out on the front boundary. Need I tell you that it is a Beccarriophoenix !!!!!

With eternal gratitude,

Peachy

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Caryota_gigas

I take no responsibility for any plants lost when planted because of my results :D

Though Im sure the Beccariophoenix will be fine. I went and checked the B. sp "Southern" at my Mothers place the other day, (Her property is about 15km away and higher elevation. No frost but not as much heat either.) It gets no attention, is about 700mm tall, in full sun and gets belted by the wind almost continually... it looks fine except for some yellowing and browning at its tips.

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Caryota_gigas

Well I thought it was all over, but Metservice, the national weather forecasting agency have screwed me again.

Frost number 15 this morning, 11 more than last year.

This has by far been the worst Winter I can recall.

As for Metservice, the overnight low they predicted last night was 5°C. In reality it got down to -1.5°C at my place. The last 2 days they predicted 4°C and it didnt go below 6°C. The night before the low was said to be 6°C, but in reality was 9°.

Tonight it is said to be 5°C again... so in reality that could mean anything from -2°C to 8°C.

Does anyone else experience such pathetic predictions from their weather forecasters?

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Tyrone

Thanks for that invaluable info Michael. Very useful info there. I don't get frost here, but some parts of Perth do, so if I'm doing a tropical landscape for someone in these areas I have a better understanding of what will do well and look good despite the conditions.

Best regards

Tyrone

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Caryota_gigas

Frost 16 today... will it ever end...

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edric
Well I thought it was all over, but Metservice, the national weather forecasting agency have screwed me again.

Frost number 15 this morning, 11 more than last year.

This has by far been the worst Winter I can recall.

As for Metservice, the overnight low they predicted last night was 5°C. In reality it got down to -1.5°C at my place. The last 2 days they predicted 4°C and it didnt go below 6°C. The night before the low was said to be 6°C, but in reality was 9°.

Tonight it is said to be 5°C again... so in reality that could mean anything from -2°C to 8°C.

Does anyone else experience such pathetic predictions from their weather forecasters?

Yes, last week we had three days, where it was a 60% chance one day, and 50% the next two, and it didn't rain until the fourth day, you wouldn't want to be a weather man in this day, and age, it's global warming, the weather will keep getting more unpredictable, and increasingly more radical as time progresses, Ed

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Caryota_gigas

For those who have asked me in other threads and in PM's, here is an update from my Winter frost experiments and in-ground casualties...

Once a lovely Pritchardia martii...

post-636-1258273826_thumb.jpg

Lara the chook helps me romove the edging...

post-636-1258273949_thumb.jpg

The drastic solution...

post-636-1258274023_thumb.jpg

The final product...

post-636-1258274151_thumb.jpg

The full circle???

post-636-1258274183_thumb.jpg

I don't think so!!!

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Caryota_gigas

A plectocomia on the compost heap.

post-636-1258274309_thumb.jpg

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Caryota_gigas

This Caryota was 6 foot at the beginning of winter... now it is 3... and fighting for its life.

post-636-1258274394_thumb.jpg

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Caryota_gigas

Schizolobium parahybum... no more. This gets frosted each year and comes back... not this time.

post-636-1258274589_thumb.jpg

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Caryota_gigas

seedling frost experiments to follow... soon...ish...

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AJQ

Michael, which Caryota is that?

My "Himalaya" has survived several -2C's, many sub zero and 2 separate hits of -3.9C.

The thing is, that it is Sooooooo Sloooooow!

Regards Andy.

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Caryota_gigas

Its a himalaya! My Caryotas suffered more than ever before, but this is the only one that was small enough, and in the wrong place to be hit badly.

My large C. obtusa was badly damaged, but usually comes through frost OK.

My C. monostachya and C. mitis are fine, though under a lot of natural protection from bamboo and Strelitzias. My S. nicoli got burnt for the first time too. 2 C. ochlandras did the best, both looking fine... surprising seeing as the biggest one has been burnt in previous warmer years. C. solitaire did very well. 2 of my 3 C. "mystery" are looking real shabby.

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Caryota_gigas
Hi Ben,

Yeah its pretty low at our place, at the bottom of a getle slope with a creek nearby. Gets damn hot in Summer.

I am thinking seriously about hardy palms for the first time. I will be ripping out my Archontophoenix alexandrae and A. purpurea, both over 8 feet tall, as they just get completely buggered by the frost each year. I will most likely be replacing them with 2 Beccariophoenix.

My in-ground C. quindiuense has a small amount of damage on the flatest surfaces.

All my Pritchardia seddlings, in my unheated GH, are fine.

Michael.

Hey Michael,

I volunteer to come and remove that purpurea for you!

Cheers,

Ben

Hey Ben,

You can come and remove that A. purpurea now if you want... though it is dead.

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Caryota_gigas

Even at this size my A.purpurea was no match for this years frost. My largest ever palm casualty.

post-636-1258487682_thumb.jpg

post-636-1258487725_thumb.jpg

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Caryota_gigas

A . alexandrae... alive... but only just. I will not be keeping this palm any longer.

post-636-1258487778_thumb.jpg

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Jonathan
A . alexandrae... alive... but only just. I will not be keeping this palm any longer.

post-636-1258487778_thumb.jpg

Bummer.....theres nothing else to say really.

Sad to see such bigguns bite the bikkie, and a timely reminder to all us zone pushers.

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peachy

Well being a humble woman and not prone to boasting, maybe I shouldnt mention how with all due care and diligence, i have managed to keep a lapidorhaccis alive thru the last couple of sweltering days. (and a pair of hedyscepes too) Tomorrow the big A/C system is being cleaned out and I can bring a lot of the cool climate things inside.

Peachy

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peachy

Well being a humble woman and not prone to boasting, maybe I shouldnt mention how with all due care and diligence, i have managed to keep a lapidorhaccis alive thru the last couple of sweltering days. (and a pair of hedyscepes too) Tomorrow the big A/C system is being cleaned out and I can bring a lot of the cool climate things inside.

Peachy

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Alberto
Schizolobium parahybum... no more. This gets frosted each year and comes back... not this time.

post-636-1258274589_thumb.jpg

The Schizolobium parahybum or´guapuruvu´´can survive heavier frosts than your did,but only when big and with very fat trunks....

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Bennz
Hi Ben,

Yeah its pretty low at our place, at the bottom of a getle slope with a creek nearby. Gets damn hot in Summer.

I am thinking seriously about hardy palms for the first time. I will be ripping out my Archontophoenix alexandrae and A. purpurea, both over 8 feet tall, as they just get completely buggered by the frost each year. I will most likely be replacing them with 2 Beccariophoenix.

My in-ground C. quindiuense has a small amount of damage on the flatest surfaces.

All my Pritchardia seddlings, in my unheated GH, are fine.

Michael.

Hey Michael,

I volunteer to come and remove that purpurea for you!

Cheers,

Ben

Hey Ben,

You can come and remove that A. purpurea now if you want... though it is dead.

Overwhelming generosity, I love it. Probably be there tomorrow.

How old was the Schizolobium? I've been wanting to try this tree foryears, seem hard to find.

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Jonathan
Well being a humble woman and not prone to boasting, maybe I shouldnt mention how with all due care and diligence, i have managed to keep a lapidorhaccis alive thru the last couple of sweltering days. (and a pair of hedyscepes too) Tomorrow the big A/C system is being cleaned out and I can bring a lot of the cool climate things inside.

Peachy

Ok, now I cant let you get away with that....its Lepidorrhachis....I think.

Glad its alive still though!

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Caryota_gigas
Hi Ben,

Yeah its pretty low at our place, at the bottom of a getle slope with a creek nearby. Gets damn hot in Summer.

I am thinking seriously about hardy palms for the first time. I will be ripping out my Archontophoenix alexandrae and A. purpurea, both over 8 feet tall, as they just get completely buggered by the frost each year. I will most likely be replacing them with 2 Beccariophoenix.

My in-ground C. quindiuense has a small amount of damage on the flatest surfaces.

All my Pritchardia seddlings, in my unheated GH, are fine.

Michael.

Hey Michael,

I volunteer to come and remove that purpurea for you!

Cheers,

Ben

Hey Ben,

You can come and remove that A. purpurea now if you want... though it is dead.

Overwhelming generosity, I love it. Probably be there tomorrow.

How old was the Schizolobium? I've been wanting to try this tree foryears, seem hard to find.

I will even lend you a spade!

The Schizy had been in-ground 3 or 4 years. Each year it would get cut down in size by about half (by frost), but always come back. They grow quick, and love heaps of water... just make sure you keep them out of the frost.

They are not too hard to find in this neck of the woods. I got mine from JDP.

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Caryota_gigas

Here is what it looked like in March.

From the roof...

post-636-1258656650_thumb.jpg

And closer to terra firma...

post-636-1258656716_thumb.jpg

post-636-1258656743_thumb.jpg

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Bennz
Here is what it looked like in March.

From the roof...

post-636-1258656650_thumb.jpg

And closer to terra firma...

post-636-1258656716_thumb.jpg

post-636-1258656743_thumb.jpg

I Want one! Whats JDP? Was it Alan B talking about trying them as a timber crop? Would be a impressive plantation...! Know anyone selling GOLs (my budgetary limitation)?

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Caryota_gigas

JDP - John Prince

I don't think they would make a good timber crop. They grow quick, the quciker something grows, the softer the timber. Plus you could only do it in warm frost free areas in Northland.

I don't know anyone who has lttle ones at the moment, but I'm sure someone must do. A message on the Yahoo group might yield a grower.

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peachy

I bought a schitzolobium something or other (I am sure the last part was different but the tree looks the same) when I was first here. It took me 8 years before I found any more for sale but I now occasionally see them in nursery sections of the big chain hardware stores. Mine lose their leaves at the end of winter then as the new ones grow, they get little yellow flowers. They are sold as yellow jacaranda or mexican tree ferns or sombrero trees. Mine start with a green trunk, that feels sticky when they are very young. They grow very very quickly here, incredibly so, but lose the green in the trunk after a few years. Frost makes mine drop their leaves, as they burn immediately. The 2 really bad frosts since they were planted (-5) burnt the newly forming growth on top of the trunk, but otherwise they were untouched. They are mess makers when they drop their old leaves, sticks all over the place, but for the rest of the year they are delightful trees. My oldest one, now 12 years in ground, has branched from the crown and is now a massive shade tree that covers quite a large area but is so high that palms etc grow under the shade without ever reaching the canopy. Maybe they are the same tree as you have or a variation of same. But they are well worth having. They love water, light feeding. The roots spread a long way but close to the surface so I found mulch all year round very effective for protection and moisture conservation when they are young.

Peachy

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Caryota_gigas

Here is a piece I wrote for the latest PACSONZ magazine;

"The winter of 2009 is one I would like to forget… unfortunately this will not be easy with the lasting damage and dead plants still staring at me each day when I look from the kitchen window. Last year at our property (located in West Auckland) we had 4 frosts the year before was ten… this year was at least 17, with the first 2 being accompanied by the coldest temps I have seen at our property of -3.5°C. These 2 frosts along with another reaching -2.5°C were on consecutive nights and did the most damage, the remaining 14 frosts just added insult to injury. Some of you will be aware that I was running frost trials throughout winter on certain species. I tested potted seedlings of 22 palm and cycad species in the frosts multiple times, but will focus this article on my in-ground plants.

During the last 3 winters, including this one, I have had a semi-permanent cover over 2 palms, both planted in an open frost prone area of the lawn. This area is extremely hot and sunny in summer, but also very open to the frost in winter. The plants are (were), Pritchardia martii and Bismarckia nobilis. Some may say “Why cover the Bizzie?” Well I figured it might survive the frost o.k. But I also want it to look good and grow strong and fast, so why not give it every chance I can. Once it is a bit larger I will let it fend for itself. That is an option that the P. martii will never have. It has come through winter before with flying colours, but this year, even under cover it got damaged beyond recovery, and no amount of Hydrogen peroxide has rescued its rotting heart.

But that wasn’t the only casualty. Several small Dypsis baronii have also succumbed, and the Caryota maxima ‘Himalaya’ may need a miracle to pull through. This is the first year I have lost any plants to frost damage. I even lost large potted plants in the shade house.

Those that are not dead look like they should be. I have a garden of palms that looked fantastic last year, and are now brown, tattered, and fighting for life. I am finally going to rip out my Archontophoenix’s. Each year they get damaged and it annoys me until they grow back to potential… this year they were completely defoliated, and I’ve had enough. They will make way for hardier palms in the future. Even Agave attenuata’s were damaged by the frost. This has never happened at our property before. All cycads however came through unscathed.

Everything in the open has been damaged, including the Chambeyronia macrocarpa which usually puts on a display of diamonds, before returning to its usual self a few hours later. This year the diamonds spread… and turned brown. (see pics)

It’s amazing how much difference a little natural overhead protection can make.

I lost, and had badly damaged, plants that can (supposedly) take cold and frost… yet others which many would write off as a waste of time in our climate have come through with flying colours. Palms such as Areca triandra, Caryota mitis, Dypsis lutescens, Geonoma brevispatha, Hyophorbe vershaffeltii, Prestoea acuminata, Wettinia praemorsa all did fine under light overhead protection from other trees.

Life is about experiences and knowledge. This winter has taught me a lot. I have run many experiments in the cold, and tortured many plants which have all added to my craving for knowledge, so I feel all loses have not been in vain… having said that, I hope it is a long warm summer so the palms have time to recover for next year… "

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Alberto

Thanks Michael for your experiments! It inspired me to also try to cultivate some of that ´´tender´´paqlms that survived your frosts!

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