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Persistent Cold Air in Florida

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BobbyinNY
I always used to look at So Florida's climate with envy, but after this freeze I won't. It's a cruel climate. It lets you grow really tropical things for years, and then one winter it torches everything. Not just mildly but horrendously. So psychologically for many years you've won and you're growing the sort of garden they can grow in SE Asia for example with Coconuts, Betel Nuts and Lipsticks, P pacifica and they flower and fruit and look fantastic, and then bang all dead and only Queens and mules grow. I often complain about our winters and how Coconuts are so marginal here, but our winters are much more consistent, and if a palm makes it for a couple of years it's going stay long term. But a climate that lulls you into a sense of serious tropicality then burns everything is just cruel.

All the best guys.

Tyrone

Tyrone, Bubba brings up a good point. Its hard to compare when half a world away, but the bottom southern 150 miles or so of the state is truly different than the northern half.

Absolutely....

That's why I totally reconsidered my move when I originally started thinking about it a few years ago, and now the ONLY place for me is Ft. Laud/Miami area.... not just for the weather, but also for the nightlife & culture (not to mention it's proximity to the Keys :) )

You've been talking about moving for years. You're never leaving LI. :winkie:

Oh, I am... trust me..... I'm just trying to get all the pieces in place so that I don't have to work twice as hard for half the pay...lol

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Dave-Vero

I don't think south Florida is quite as expensive as Long Island, but that deficiency is being worked on.

The coldest stretch since 1940, reports a Sun-Sentinel blog (Ft. Lauderdale).

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Rusty on Pine Is.
Florida.....Trachy heaven :rolleyes:

Largely apocryphal based on my latest observations......

Rusty

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epicure3
I always used to look at So Florida's climate with envy, but after this freeze I won't. It's a cruel climate. It lets you grow really tropical things for years, and then one winter it torches everything. Not just mildly but horrendously. So psychologically for many years you've won and you're growing the sort of garden they can grow in SE Asia for example with Coconuts, Betel Nuts and Lipsticks, P pacifica and they flower and fruit and look fantastic, and then bang all dead and only Queens and mules grow. I often complain about our winters and how Coconuts are so marginal here, but our winters are much more consistent, and if a palm makes it for a couple of years it's going stay long term. But a climate that lulls you into a sense of serious tropicality then burns everything is just cruel.

All the best guys.

Tyrone

Tyrone, Bubba brings up a good point. Its hard to compare when half a world away, but the bottom southern 150 miles or so of the state is truly different than the northern half.

Absolutely....

That's why I totally reconsidered my move when I originally started thinking about it a few years ago, and now the ONLY place for me is Ft. Laud/Miami area.... not just for the weather, but also for the nightlife & culture (not to mention it's proximity to the Keys :) )

You've been talking about moving for years. You're never leaving LI. :winkie:

Oh, I am... trust me..... I'm just trying to get all the pieces in place so that I don't have to work twice as hard for half the pay...lol

Hope it works out soon for you. Get those flip-flops on. B)

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Paul The Palm Doctor!
Please tell me that Fairchild Gardens has not been decimated! I would find that hard to believe!

I'll tell you, Bubba, it's looking good to very good. I was there today. Mostly defoliation of tropical flowering & shade trees, but they do that normally around now anyway. Palms looked very good...all varieties that I saw anyway. West of that area is where things got a lot more "scorched." Fruit and spice park is looking "toasted" now.

Paul

Paul,

I saw in another thread that you have Iriartea in your garden!!? That's the spirit I like to see around here. Did it make it? I believe those are hardier than Socratea, so who knows... Speaking of Socratea, Gaylord Palms in orlando has one growing well in their giant indoor atrium :)

Yes, Jon, the 9 Iriartea deltoideas did really well. We bottomed out at about 34-36 F. so I really can't complain about their cold-tested performance!

Dr. Paul

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spockvr6
I don't think south Florida is quite as expensive as Long Island, but that deficiency is being worked on.

LOL! True enough!

I do know that if you want a condo in Miami, there are a few million available............

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BobbyinNY
I don't think south Florida is quite as expensive as Long Island, but that deficiency is being worked on.

LOL! True enough!

I do know that if you want a condo in Miami, there are a few million available............

Yeah, the main difference is Housing availability inventory - simple supply & demand.. We don't have much here, and South Florida has tons... But even when you do buy something cheap, the Hoa's will nickel & dime you to death.

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Dave-Vero

Housing inventory is possibly spotty in some locations, but overall, there's still a huge overhang of houses up for sale, and foreclosures create further stress. Prices for non-luxury housing in my county are still very low.

Some HOA's are obviously having trouble with owners falling behind.

I was up at Sebastian Inlet State Park today. Coconut palms in the area (Indian River County side) were mostly looking very good, just a little browning. At the park, it took some effort to find cold damage. Even black ironwood (Krugiodendron ferreum) was looking fine, close to its northern range limit. We don't have any native tropical palms that sneak up the coast, other than Coccothrinax argentata, which makes it to Palm Beach County.

The non-native Acrocromia totai has been found growing wild in Brevard County in an empty lot on US 1 in the Sharpes area.

Dypsis lutescens grows wild in Martin County (scrub vegetation with sand pine, Rocky Point Hammock Park, Salerno)

Phoenix reclinata grows wild in Pinellas and Brevard Counties.

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Paul The Palm Doctor!

I have never seen too much browning of any palms in Southeast Florida and I've lived here since 1979. It "froze" once in '81 at 30 F.; once in '83 at 32F. and that event was on March 2!! Then, twice in '89 with two mornings: one at 30F. and the other at 31 F. (Those were the famous X-Mas freezes!) There have been a few times in the mid-upper 30's F., but that's about it! I lost two coconuts in the '81 freeze because I over copper fungicided them! (Should have left them alone!)

2005 was a different story! Hurricane Wilma's aftermath! Pretty messy! We are prone more for hurricanes as we stick out into the warm waters like a sore thumb! Those storms will decimate palms here way more than will freezes! However, hurricanes occur very irregularly in one's own neighbourhood. I've only lived through twoi: Andrew & Wilma (and they were 13 years apart, so I don't get too riled about them hitting where I live, in fact about a year or so after a hurricane, you'd never know one was there. (I know that was NOT the case with the 1926 & '35 'canes in the Fla. Keys, and Hugo in S. Carolina; Camille & Katrina in MS, Katrina & Rita in LA, and the most recent hurricane in TX!) Our SE Fla. building codes are incredible! These houses are fortresses! THey stay; palms however, get blown over, though unfortunately!

So, from a botanical standpoint, extreme SE Florida does really LOOK different day-by-day from the rest of the state, but like everything in life, there are some rather significant drawbacks. I won't enumerate them here; we all know that Miami has its own unique "mystique!" There is no American city that is another Miami. That's good and its bad. But I HAVE lived in this area for over 30 years so its aura MUST have enchanted me enough to stay here. (Even though I'm building a house in Panama, I will most likely keep the Florida home too as its almost paid off, and I like the supermarkets better here than in Panama although, its kind of looking more like Florida in Panama as time goes by!!

Would I recommend moving here?? I couldn't say but if you like pretty postcard views framed by still mostly green coconuts, and totally green Royals, I'd say, sure: "come on down!"

Dr.Paul

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SunnyFl
Housing inventory is possibly spotty in some locations, but overall, there's still a huge overhang of houses up for sale, and foreclosures create further stress. Prices for non-luxury housing in my county are still very low.

Hmmmmm. I wonder if the area is looking for public school teachers??? cuz if they are....

Seriously, I am about to give up on living over here.

Bobby, you are smart to head for S. FL - I am hearing and seeing even worse things in St. Pete. Natives and Zone 9 plants have been wacked.

BTW -re: the Fairchild "rumor" - on p. 22 of this thread, I posted that I heard that even Fairchild had trouble. Found where I read this - it was on Palmpedia, a poster from Vero wrote, "I just got back from Fairchild "Tropical" Gardens tonight. They were not spared the wrath of this spell either." Here's the link, it's Post #8:

http://www.palmpedia.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1169

So it wasn't a rumor, it was a casual observation that was being passed on.

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Dave-Vero

Fairchild has lots of cold-sensitive (as opposed to frost or freeze-sensitive) palms, so damage is not surprising. They weathered 1989 with relatively little trouble, if I remember correctly.

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JayW

After seeing 3 nights in the teens, my Bizmarkia is not looking good at all. 1 branch broke in the wind yesterday, feels "mushy" and it has a lot of bronze, yellowish streaks showing up now. I don't think it's dead, the center spear actually looks ok, I guess we will see what happens. If it kicks the bucket... it will be replaced by a Pindo!

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Davidl

JayW,

I would mix up some copper and pour into the crown. Treat again in a month or so. You can try using peroxide maybe it would help.

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JayW
JayW,

I would mix up some copper and pour into the crown. Treat again in a month or so. You can try using peroxide maybe it would help.

I'll probably use the Peroxide. Someone mentioned using it last year as I had a Euro lose it's spear last winter, and treated it with peroxide. Now it's doing great! Thanks!

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gsytch

Events like this is why most of my plams are hardier types, or like the Areca that comes back quickly. My Caryota mitis, a HUGE clump near the house about 30' tall, looks fried but the stems are greenish, so by April I will prune it away and by summer it should be ok. My Triangle in the front looks spared. All the Phoenix are fine, Euros and Trachys, a Foxtail in a sheltered spot looks fried but I am hopeful it will grow out the top. Luckily, this is easily the coldest since '96 but that event was a night or two. All Livistona are fine. But the yard looks so toasted and we had almost 2" of rain overnight, meaning mushes!lol Greg B)

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spockvr6
and we had almost 2" of rain overnight, meaning mushes!lol Greg B)

Yes......alot of wet icky foliage this morning :rage:

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bubba

In the coming weeks, more damage will be revealed. Once again, it was not the super low temperatures but 11 days of temperatures that were 15 degrees F. below normal. Our typical cold events last 3 days and then back to normal. Even if you have a record setting event like 1989, it warms back up quickly.

It is amazing to me how well Larry has done all the way up in Tarpon Springs. In coastal South Florida virtually everything in the way of plants and Palms is Tropical in nature. Brown Seagrapes and yellowing Coconuts are not enjoyable when you enjoy all things that are Tropical. I believe virtually all specimens recover but look for an ugly time-frame before things turn around as it heats up. That stated, many cold events happen in Feb. and I do not even want to think about that possibility.

In a way, it is comforting to know an event like this but worse took place in 1940!

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amazondk

Bubba,

I guess it is comforting to know that the next ice age has not arrived yet either.

dk

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SunnyFl
In the coming weeks, more damage will be revealed. Once again, it was not the super low temperatures but 11 days of temperatures that were 15 degrees F. below normal. Our typical cold events last 3 days and then back to normal. Even if you have a record setting event like 1989, it warms back up quickly.

It is amazing to me how well Larry has done all the way up in Tarpon Springs. In coastal South Florida virtually everything in the way of plants and Palms is Tropical in nature. Brown Seagrapes and yellowing Coconuts are not enjoyable when you enjoy all things that are Tropical. I believe virtually all specimens recover but look for an ugly time-frame before things turn around as it heats up. That stated, many cold events happen in Feb. and I do not even want to think about that possibility.

In a way, it is comforting to know an event like this but worse took place in 1940!

I think this is exactly right. And yes, it is always amazing what Larry manages to grow up in Tarpon, really impressive. I agree with your observation about the browned seagrapes and yellowing coconuts, and I'd add to that, fried foxtails and the old spindles and bottles down the road that are now a memory and an empty spot in someone's yard.

Here, it was frost. I honestly believe we would have lost nothing had it not been for that final morning - frost so thick you could scrape it into a small "snowball" (which we did). And it covered just about everything. Looking around, I knew it would be lethal. We weren't prepared for it - never happened here in the years we've lived here. Didn't think frost would be a problem up on the Disston Ridge, but apparently it did. Gotta lotta rethinking and re-planning to do come April.

Bubba, it was so bad - the Storm 2K board, a poster showed a picture from Miami of a car windshield obscured by frost, and someone had scraped the date and the word FROST into it. Snow flurries and sleet over most of the peninsula - worst I've ever seen.

I have an amateur-met friend - he just emailed me his thoughts about El Nino and how it acts as it peaks. We can't let our guard down - more cold may be right around the bend.

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epicure3
In the coming weeks, more damage will be revealed. Once again, it was not the super low temperatures but 11 days of temperatures that were 15 degrees F. below normal. Our typical cold events last 3 days and then back to normal. Even if you have a record setting event like 1989, it warms back up quickly.

It is amazing to me how well Larry has done all the way up in Tarpon Springs. In coastal South Florida virtually everything in the way of plants and Palms is Tropical in nature. Brown Seagrapes and yellowing Coconuts are not enjoyable when you enjoy all things that are Tropical. I believe virtually all specimens recover but look for an ugly time-frame before things turn around as it heats up. That stated, many cold events happen in Feb. and I do not even want to think about that possibility.

In a way, it is comforting to know an event like this but worse took place in 1940!

I think this is exactly right. And yes, it is always amazing what Larry manages to grow up in Tarpon, really impressive. I agree with your observation about the browned seagrapes and yellowing coconuts, and I'd add to that, fried foxtails and the old spindles and bottles down the road that are now a memory and an empty spot in someone's yard.

Here, it was frost. I honestly believe we would have lost nothing had it not been for that final morning - frost so thick you could scrape it into a small "snowball" (which we did). And it covered just about everything. Looking around, I knew it would be lethal. We weren't prepared for it - never happened here in the years we've lived here. Didn't think frost would be a problem up on the Disston Ridge, but apparently it did. Gotta lotta rethinking and re-planning to do come April.

Bubba, it was so bad - the Storm 2K board, a poster showed a picture from Miami of a car windshield obscured by frost, and someone had scraped the date and the word FROST into it. Snow flurries and sleet over most of the peninsula - worst I've ever seen.

I have an amateur-met friend - he just emailed me his thoughts about El Nino and how it acts as it peaks. We can't let our guard down - more cold may be right around the bend.

It is a very interesting winter indeed. We are about to get 5-8" of rain this week which is a little out of the ordinary (like way out). The last time we had these kind of rains was in the winter of 2005. I think that February will also be very interesting.

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spockvr6
It is amazing to me how well Larry has done all the way up in Tarpon Springs.

Its just south of the Arctic Circle up here I tell you!

LOL.

In seriousness, semi-coastal North Pinellas isnt really much different low-temp wise than central and even the interior of south Pinellas. So, there are no real kudos due to me.

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spockvr6
a poster showed a picture from Miami of a car windshield obscured by frost, and someone had scraped the date and the word FROST into it.

I posted this in another thread. I too have never seen anything like this since I left Maine 15 years ago!

2497057500037238133S600x600Q85.jpg

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cobra2326

Wow, I was down in the dunedin area on Sunday afternoon, and things weren't looking too good. Large foxtails were totally brown as were coconuts, Dypsis lutescens, plumeria, some poincianas, etc. Our coconut was partially protected and as a result has 1 green leaf left. Hopefully the winter is over!!??

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Jimbean

So, how did my zone map hold up?

untitled.gif

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Dave-Vero

In Indian River County, I doubt there was any advantage to being near the coast, except for those maybe within a quarter mile or so of the Indian River or on the barrier island. Amazingly, the Indian River seems to have provided a bit of cold protection and there were some instances of ocean air sneaking ashore.

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gsn
In Indian River County, I doubt there was any advantage to being near the coast, except for those maybe within a quarter mile or so of the Indian River or on the barrier island. Amazingly, the Indian River seems to have provided a bit of cold protection and there were some instances of ocean air sneaking ashore.

Dave,

I'm not sure I understand your post? The second sentence seems to contradict the first?

I know some of south Merritt Island was spared the coldest temps,as it is buffered(in between) by both the Banana River,and the Indian River.

The Indian River,at least here in north Brevard, on the mainland side, even right next to the river DID NOT seem to help.

Foxtails fried right at the rivers edge, just like mine! :(

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Jimbean
In Indian River County, I doubt there was any advantage to being near the coast, except for those maybe within a quarter mile or so of the Indian River or on the barrier island. Amazingly, the Indian River seems to have provided a bit of cold protection and there were some instances of ocean air sneaking ashore.

Dave,

I'm not sure I understand your post? The second sentence seems to contradict the first?

I know some of south Merritt Island was spared the coldest temps,as it is buffered(in between) by both the Banana River,and the Indian River.

The Indian River,at least here in north Brevard, on the mainland side, even right next to the river DID NOT seem to help.

Foxtails fried right at the rivers edge, just like mine! :(

From 528 southward and US1 eastward everything zoned 10A made it very well. I have yet to check out Melbourne area, but I rolled into Port St. John yesterday and saw everything zoned 10 defoliated and 9B burnt or defoliated (Brazilian peppers, queen palms, etc.).

Here is a question for those experts: Where I planted a royal palm (which is defoliated now) there is a Chinese fan palm that is 20% damaged, and several queen palms that are around 10%-30% damaged, in supposedly for long durations of 23F to 28F for a total of five days, what are the chances that the royal palm survived?

Edited by Jimbean

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bubba

Dave, I am also a bit puzzled by your contradiction. Is it your opinion that being close to a warm body of water is not helpful?

Scott, What was the water temperature of the Indian River near you. Because of the duration of the cold, it would have to be colder than normal? Also, as a knowledgeable ex-pat/PBC, how close is the Gulfstream in Titusville to the Coast? Your explanation of the Mountain on the stream was the best I ever heard. What kind of bump does it give us for temperatures during cold would you guess?

Jim, I bet it defies odds if it was mature. Take a look at Mark Heath's Coconut Palms outside of the heat island in Orlando.

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Jimbean
Scott, What was the water temperature of the Indian River near you. Because of the duration of the cold, it would have to be colder than normal? Also, as a knowledgeable ex-pat/PBC, how close is the Gulfstream in Titusville to the Coast? Your explanation of the Mountain on the stream was the best I ever heard. What kind of bump does it give us for temperatures during cold would you guess?

http://www.iitap.iastate.edu/gccourse/ocea...ages/slide4.gif

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y209/nint...GulfStreamA.gif

Edited by Jimbean

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Dave-Vero

During the recent cold spell, our night winds were consistently from inland. To judge from coconut palms, there's some advantage to being very close to the Indian River or on the barrier island. I suspect that truly local conditions (whether a plant is fully exposed to the night sky or whether it's in a windy spot) mattered at least as much as being at the Indian River.

When the night wind is from due north, coastal areas become considerably warmer than inland, and the effect can go quite some distance inland.

Jim, 23 degrees killed royals in Vero Beach in 1989, but quite a few survived. Yours has a good chance of coming back and looking none the worse for it.

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gsn
Dave, I am also a bit puzzled by your contradiction. Is it your opinion that being close to a warm body of water is not helpful?

Scott, What was the water temperature of the Indian River near you. Because of the duration of the cold, it would have to be colder than normal? Also, as a knowledgeable ex-pat/PBC, how close is the Gulfstream in Titusville to the Coast? Your explanation of the Mountain on the stream was the best I ever heard. What kind of bump does it give us for temperatures during cold would you guess?

Jim, I bet it defies odds if it was mature. Take a look at Mark Heath's Coconut Palms outside of the heat island in Orlando.

bubba,

I can't tell you the exact temps of the Indian River durning the extended FREEZE event. However I have measured the water in the lagoon at 38F degrees before this year,and that was with typical fronts 2 or 3 days at most of cold ,then a warm up. The IRL is a very shallow body of water(average depth 5 feet) so it cools and warms quickly ,depending on the ambient air temp.

If I had to hagard a guess with the extended cold for over a week, that the durning the night it was probably only in the mid to low 40's(maybe lower) at most,which is probably why it was vitually no benefit here in Titusville?

The Gulfstream here is anywhere from 30 to 40 miles offshore depending on currents and conditions, it varies.

So not much of a factor, but I'm sure if it wasn't there it would get even colder here though.

I'm sure it helps in Palm Beach, it being a barrier island, how much, who knows? You have kinda the same situation there as Merritt Island here ,you are bordered by the Atlantic on the east,and Lake Worth on the west,surrounded by water. Much less of a factor on the mainland in West Palm Beach though I would think? That is why just east of Belvedere and I-95 ,airport country, is the COLD HOLE!

Edited by gsn

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Walt
So, how did my zone map hold up?

untitled.gif

Jimbean: Well, I'd say your map is fairly accurate, IMO (at least leading up to this latest cold event). I especially agree with the yellow highlighted area of the Lake Wales Ridge being zone 9b. In fact, I all but know as a fact that most winters are 10a up on the ridge.

And the "lake effect" off the S.E. end of Lake Okeechobee is dead on the money, as one weather site I frequent clearly showed the graphic "lake effect" every night of that long cold spell.

I estimate that 95% of cold weather events in my area (Lake Placid, Florida) are radiational. The town of Lake Placid is up on the ridge (70 feet higher than at my place outside of town). All my exposed zone 10 palms were fried, but not so up in town, where I believe it can sometimes run 10 degrees warmer. up in the air inversion layer.

In fact, there hasn't been a radiational freeze in the past 13 winters I've lived here where zone 10 palms up in town were burned. Only once have I seen cold damage, and that was from an advective cold event back in January of 2003, when zone 10 palms were cold wind dissicated.

I took the below photos back on January 11th, after the coldest nights had passed. These palms are up in town. When I go to town later this week I will recheck these palms plus some others, but I doubt there will be damage because most papaya leaves weren't damaged.

LakePlacidcoconutpalm.jpg

LakePlacidroyalpalm.jpg

LakePlacidcoconutpalms.jpg

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gsytch

Yourzone map may want to be revised for SW pasco. I have not seen a temp below 25F here in New Port Richey since the famous Xmas freezer of '89. My low during this past event was 27.8F (which started going up after time that night) but in Hudson it was 20F. I saw temps similar to Larry throughout except that one clear, fairly calm night. Greg in New Port Richey

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Jimbean
Jimbean: Well, I'd say your map is fairly accurate, IMO (at least leading up to this latest cold event). I especially agree with the yellow highlighted area of the Lake Wales Ridge being zone 9b. In fact, I all but know as a fact that most winters are 10a up on the ridge.

As a general rule for my map, you can grow any plant one zone colder for most years. So Royals planted after 1989 in the yellow (9B) area made it well up to this year, and most will probably make it through this year also.

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_Keith
Jimbean: Well, I'd say your map is fairly accurate, IMO (at least leading up to this latest cold event). I especially agree with the yellow highlighted area of the Lake Wales Ridge being zone 9b. In fact, I all but know as a fact that most winters are 10a up on the ridge.

As a general rule for my map, you can grow any plant one zone colder for most years. So Royals planted after 1989 in the yellow (9B) area made it well up to this year, and most will probably make it through this year also.

Good rule, and I think right on the money.

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palmsOrl

A 38 F water temp. in Florida, WOW! About the zone map, I believe that small area of zone 9b centered on metro Orlando is more like a 10a. The USDA zones are meant to represent an average. Thus, saying this is a "9b year" or a "9a year" isn't really accurate since the zones have nothing to do with any single year. Even during this 2010 freeze, the lowest temp at the Orlando Exec. Airport (which I believe best represents the Orlando urban heat island) was 29 F. This is reflected by the lack of damage to tender plants downtown, compared to that observed in the suburbs. Clearly, the long term average lowest annual low temp. in the heat island is a solid 10a. If this event is the new worst case scenario for metro Orlando, then we really have it made.

-Michael

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_Keith

Remember, it only takes a night or two of Zone 9b to wipe out a decade of Zone 10a.

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spockvr6
Remember, it only takes a night or two of Zone 9b to wipe out a decade of Zone 10a.

Or.....a bunch of supposed 10a nights in a row apparently will do the same thing.

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SunnyFl
Remember, it only takes a night or two of Zone 9b to wipe out a decade of Zone 10a.

Or.....a bunch of supposed 10a nights in a row apparently will do the same thing.

Or....

one Z10a night with bad frost....... :rage: :rage: :rage:

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Eric in Orlando

I drove down the FL Turnpike last Wed. to Ft. Lauderdale. Around Vero Beach/Ft. Pierce there is lots of new housing along the turnpike. This is aways inland and west of I95. In the last few years I have seen a lot of big coconuts and royals being planted. When I drove by last week they looked good, just some minor damage mostly on older fronds. Even Dypsis lutescens in the open looked good. I was suprised since this is inland away from the coast. In fact I saw no real damage while driving or in FTL. A lot of the coconuts were showing COOL damage; the lower fronds were spotting/yellowing but no cold/frost damage. I even saw Delonix still with green leaves. Adonidias and Carpentarias looked fine.

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