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displaced_floridian

How far N in Florida can coconut palms reliably grow?

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_Keith

I read somewhere (maybe it was on here) one time that Downtown Orlando was widely landscaped with coconuts in the 1950s. I don't know if they were widely planted starting in that decade, or if a couple warm decades led to them becoming common by the 1950s. I know of a few larger Cocos around town that look decent and one that survived 2010.

Yes, back in the 50s there was a lot of mature coconuts in Clearwater and St Pete. There was a long warm streak back in the 50s but all that stopped in 1977, then of course the 80s was bad. Here are some postcard pictures of Clearwater in the 50s. I had another picture of a row of tall coconuts in downtown Clearwater but can't find it.

clearwaterglasshouse012213.jpg

Look, it's Ken.

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Bill H2DB

1962 was a bad freeze year in Central Florida.

Orlando set a record for December 13th , at 20 deg .

Here in Daytona , the low was 18 deg. , matching a previous record of 1940 .

I remember the day fairly well . I had planted a number of tropical things at our family house , which

of course were fried .

I was a high school kid , and made a good bit of money working to clear out frozen landscapes in the area.

The citrus groves in our area were devastated , the river stunk with floating dead fish .

The air was heavy with diesel fuel and tire smoke , as the grove owners used any method available to create heat .

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_Keith

1962 was a bad freeze year in Central Florida.

Orlando set a record for December 13th , at 20 deg .

Here in Daytona , the low was 18 deg. , matching a previous record of 1940 .

I remember the day fairly well . I had planted a number of tropical things at our family house , which

of course were fried .

I was a high school kid , and made a good bit of money working to clear out frozen landscapes in the area.

The citrus groves in our area were devastated , the river stunk with floating dead fish .

The air was heavy with diesel fuel and tire smoke , as the grove owners used any method available to create heat .

You are hitting on the real point, 60ish freeze matching record low of 40ish freeze, and we all remember the 80ish freezes. It has laid out pretty well to a 20ish year cycle give or take a few years. So, the last one ended in 89, and I suspect we are in the next cycle. Nothing new or triggered by global changes in this case, this is just the cycle of the past playing itself out one more time.

So, the moral of the story/cycle to me is plant small, cheap and early and try to catch the beginning of the next 20 year wave of warm.

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Cocoa Beach Jason

Here are some decent size cocos in Cocoa Beach (28 degrees north). Sorry photo quality is not ok.

post-7521-0-49408000-1417105882_thumb.jp

post-7521-0-36044100-1417105906_thumb.jp

post-7521-0-49520600-1417105941_thumb.jp

post-7521-0-22194000-1417106110_thumb.jp

Edited by Cocoa Beach Jason

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Jimbean

There are many more around the area. One of these days I am going to take a bunch of pictures of Brevard county.

Edited by Jimbean

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Cocoa Beach Jason

There are many more around the area. One of these days I am going to take a bunch of pictures of Brevard county.

Yeah these were just ones that are in the few streets next to me. Took pics while riding me bike today. There are many bigger ones around town.

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Mr. Coconut Palm

Gorgeous Central Florida coconut palms. The only ones in Texas approaching anything close to these are the mature ones in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in and around Brownsville, but the crowns get nipped by cold a little more in the Valley, so the crowns never look this good, but come close after a couple of consecutive mild winters.

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_Keith

The attached graphic is how I would describe the long-term range of Cocos nucifera (excluding rare events). The darker blue represents the range and from the lighter blue line south in sheltered microclimates on the south-side of lakes. I wanted to make the graphic show actually in my post, but since the forum change earlier this year it is too much of a pain.

-Michael

Great map.

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Matthew92

yes, very scary. never want to see scenes like that again. Everywhere around looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off since so many large trees, palms and plants were toasted. All the mature Casuarina were killed so far awhile there were huge stands of brown trees visible then just dead skeletons for years after. And dead queen palms as they were in just about every yard, even ,30, 40ft ones. All the groves were torched. It was a very ugly scenario, so much vegetation was killed out.

I forgot to mention but even Washingtonia robusta were midly burnt around here.

Cool, really interesting to hear specifics of damage in Orlando with those 80's freezes. Every time I've visited Orlando and Disney in the last several years I've marveled at really tropical plants showing up more and more . Driving on the highway past all the housing areas, I've even seen rubber plants and norfolk island pine. At Disney, I've seen many foxtails, triangle's, Christmas palms, and bottle palms (although some of the latter are in microclimates).

I visited in April 2010 and did notice much damage including mature foxtails in Animal Kingdom that were completely defoliated as well as many maleleuca killed along the road (a good thing!).

And this year in February I happened to be at a conference at the Coronado Resort in Disney (my profile pic location) when the Orlando area saw its lowest temps of the winter. The forecast low kept hovering around freezing, and it ended up getting only to about 36 I believe. Still, that was unbelievably chilly and I did notice some leaf burn on bananas. Also there were some topiary in the shape of Disney characters around the hotel, and I guess the plants used were really tender or something because they covered them with blankets on the cold night.

I'll just say that with all the tropicals being grown more and more around this area: there will be major carnage when a serious freeze event happens again. Orlando has behaved like zone 10 much as of late.

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palmsOrl

In Winter Park, as well as newly developed or just newly landscaped areas around Orlando, I am noticing more and more zone 10 palms and plants being planted as "staple" landscape plants. Larger specimens of Seagrape, specimen sized foxtail palms, Archontophoenix, just to name a few. The foxtail is a zone 10a palm but seems to almost be the new queen palm here. I've also seen a few more larger royals sneak their way into lanscaping. Orlando needs to give royals a try on large scale, provided they get some irrigation and fertilizer. I think they will be long term survivors in the city and inner suburbs. They may get damaged every few years, but they bounce back fast. They are gorgeous, and scream zone 10, which the city of Orlando now is with latest data included in longterm averages. I don't foresee Metro Orlando getting below 25F again, as it has on number of occasions in the past,due to all of the development. Unless we were to get a 200-500 year freeze.

Coconuts are still a no-go overall here, but they are great as long lasting annuals. Any Orlando resident who wants just on healthy large coconut could have one if extensive protection measures are taken on the very few nights when needed. The same could not be said for places like Gainesville, Tallahassee or JAX, short of building a large heatedgreenhouse over the palm.

My 11 coconuts are enjoying the summer heat and I hope to see some trunking by the end of next summer.

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empireo22

if you set it back to the original street view date in 2011. they weren't there. they had andonidias which were fried from the cold winters and most likely the coconuts would have to. it looks like they replaced them with trunking yellow Malaysian dwarfs. which is good they put some large ones in to get a good start. I bet they are fruiting by now.

https://goo.gl/maps/xGt2z

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palmsOrl

Well, I'll be! Sanford? Those are Cocos alright, as well as Bismarckia, foxtail and I see a couple healthy clumps of Adonidia there as well! Look closely. There must be at least one palm person living there. Sanford is a lovely historic city, which generally looks more like north Florida. Sanford is an extremely marginal area for those palms (the Bismarckia have a bit better chance to survive for a while), and these aren't even in the city center. Wow. The winter averages are significantly lower than Orlando's, even being just 25 miles or so north of the city. Orlando January averages are 49F/71F and Sanford's are 47F/69F (this climate information based on information obtained at the Seminole State College weather station, a summary of the monthly averages for the city of Sanford was detailed). When I was there in 2011, I noticed a bunch of larger foxtails planted in the median on the main road heading into the city. I remember thinking, hmmm, those are temporary. Foxtails are a bit tougher than they are given credit for and are great for the Orlando area semi-longterm (longterm for metro area), but will get extensive damage at 28F and will be severely damaged or killed by 25F. Mine survived 25F for a total of 3 nights in 2010.

The choice of Yellow Malayan may not have been the best, as these are more tender than the green Malayans. At least they have some size, as mentioned. Talls would have been best, though most non-palm people tend to neither be aware of this, nor know that they can obtain tall varieties from seed either online or from tall variety Cocos right here in Central Florida.

I am going to start a list of all currently known Cocos specimens in the Orlando area (including Sanford) so we can monitor them over the coming years. I will post the list on here in the near future.

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Bill H2DB

That neighborhood is well positioned to the south of Lake Monroe , which is big enough to provide a

good bit of microclimate help.

Recently I have made several trips through the Eustis / Howey in the Hills area on Fla rt 19 , and spied this Howea

from the road. It is just south of Little Lake Harris , and benefits from that surely.

The street view pic is 2 years old , and the palm is bigger , and more healthy looking now .

https://www.google.com/maps/@28.733356,-81.768408,3a,75y,186.92h,75.93t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1seiBiQ5d7EfJd6xxBkPra8Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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empireo22

That neighborhood is well positioned to the south of Lake Monroe , which is big enough to provide a

good bit of microclimate help.

Recently I have made several trips through the Eustis / Howey in the Hills area on Fla rt 19 , and spied this Howea

from the road. It is just south of Little Lake Harris , and benefits from that surely.

The street view pic is 2 years old , and the palm is bigger , and more healthy looking now .

https://www.google.com/maps/@28.733356,-81.768408,3a,75y,186.92h,75.93t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1seiBiQ5d7EfJd6xxBkPra8Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

I think what you called howea is a Ravenea rivularis. they grow fast. Howea are a lot slower and don't do so good in full sun I hear.

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Sandy Loam

I wouldn't bother looking in the region around Howey-in-the Hills because anywhere slightly northwest and west of Orlando is much colder than the city. Areas east and south of Orlando are more likely candidates with scattered warm pockets here and there.

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Walt

I remember before Google map had the street scene option I was one day looking at a small residential area on the east side of Lake Istokpoga. I was using 100% magnification, looking at the ground shadows palms cast. I wasn't specifically looking for anything, just fascinated with Google map. Then I noticed some of the shadows looked like those of a royal palm, I could all but swear to it, compared to a queen palm shadow.

Some years later Google created the street scene option. I had my doubts that they traversed this small residential area off the beaten track -- but they did. I then put the little orange man icon right on the road next to what I believed to be the royal palms. Lo and behold, there they were. So the next day I jumped in my car, with camera, and found the palms and photographed them.

There after I did a lot of street traversing around the lakes here in Highlands County. I found loads of coconut palms and subsequently went out to look at them and take photos.

There used to be a saying way back in the 20th Century with regard to the Yellow Pages phone book: Let your fingers do the walking!

Now, in the 21st Century, with regard to Google street scene and locating interesting landscape palms and plantings one can say: Let your mouse and cursor do the walking!

The below link shows some of the royal palms. Many can't be seen from Google street scene. Also, the Google photos are from June 2011, just six months after the protracted cold period of December 2010 -- where it got into the low 20s at my place just five (crow flies) from this location. Some of the royal palms look a little ragged as the lakes, canals, and ponds were low, and after 11 straight days of unrelenting cold the lake waters cooled down substantially.

With regard to lake front homes, many of the really tender tropicals are in the back yard of the house facing the lake (warmest side), hence can't be seen as well or if at all from Google street scene.

https://www.google.com/maps/@27.394964,-81.240459,3a,75y,354.64h,94.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1smqAWCaS_Sva3JGM1EXziwg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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Coconutman

I was digging around and found an old picture of a post 2010 cocos on my computer.It's on Merritt island surrounded by concrete infrastructure near the Indian river.I wonder if it's still there?

image.jpg1_zpsql5qxi4r.jpg

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Eric in Orlando

if you set it back to the original street view date in 2011. they weren't there. they had andonidias which were fried from the cold winters and most likely the coconuts would have to. it looks like they replaced them with trunking yellow Malaysian dwarfs. which is good they put some large ones in to get a good start. I bet they are fruiting by now.

https://goo.gl/maps/xGt2z

That neighborhood just east of downtown Sanford and adjacent to Lake Monroe is a great microclimate. It also helps there is a nice older Southern Live Oak canopy. I was poking around there a couple years ago and saw zone 10 palms that actually survived the 2009-10, 2010-11 winters; Adonidia, Ptychosperma, Roystonea, Wodyetia, Dypsis lutescens. I even saw a big Pandanus utilis. It had severe burn but was alive. Those coconut palms weren't there then. There are also Wodyetia downtown Sanford that survived and some Adonidia up against buildings.

Lake Monroe is a wide point in the St. John's River and is about 3-3 1/2 miles across in that area.

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Eric in Orlando

I wouldn't bother looking in the region around Howey-in-the Hills because anywhere slightly northwest and west of Orlando is much colder than the city. Areas east and south of Orlando are more likely candidates with scattered warm pockets here and there.

That area is colder than the metro Orlando area. But it is worth checking out areas adjacent to the larger lakes as there are some good microclimates near them. I have seen nice larger specimens of Plumeria, Ficus, Ravenea, etc. up there.

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Eric in Orlando

Here is the Howey Mansion in Howey-in-the-Hills, built in 1924. These photos were taken in the late 1920s. At one time there were large Royals growing there. The mansion still stands but is now abandoned. The lats pic is the house in recent times.

post-231-0-30295300-1436186824_thumb.jpg

post-231-0-98375100-1436186853_thumb.jpg

post-231-0-08867300-1436186874_thumb.jpg

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Cocoa Beach Jason

I was digging around and found an old picture of a post 2010 cocos on my computer.It's on Merritt island surrounded by concrete infrastructure near the Indian river.I wonder if it's still there?

image.jpg1_zpsql5qxi4r.jpg

This palm is still there. Just east of the river on Courtenay Pkwy (520) on the north side of the road.

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Yunder Wækraus

Our neighborhood in Indialantic has plenty of coconuts. My neighbor's backyard coconut trees are 20-30' tall and laden with coconuts. But it seems most of the trees in town are not much taller than a two-story house. Two blocks over and two blocks up from my house, on Franklyn St., there are some taller coconuts (the street terminates on an almost-peninsula called 'The Point' with the Indian River right behind the nicest houses). I really can't say whether those taller onces are pre-1989, post-'89 fast growers, or pre-'89 palms which were relocated from S. Florida after the freeze. I believe the address is 330 Franklyn Ave, Indialantic, FL. If you look for the coconut next to the mailbox, you'll see the one I'm talking about. It's certainly not the tallest coconut, but it's the tallest one in my greater neighborhood, and I believe it might be the tallest tree of any kind on its block. If any of y'all know anything about the age of this particular palm in situ, do tell. https://www.google.com/maps/@28.099056,-80.573614,3a,75y,359.38h,77.61t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sSRfcQZfRhU0ftoOZlN4t6g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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Pando

I was digging around and found an old picture of a post 2010 cocos on my computer.It's on Merritt island surrounded by concrete infrastructure near the Indian river.I wonder if it's still there?

This palm is still there. Just east of the river on Courtenay Pkwy (520) on the north side of the road.

Dec 2007: https://goo.gl/maps/m4VSG

Sept 2009: https://goo.gl/maps/KDjGR

May 2011: https://goo.gl/maps/Xnqp6

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Danilopez89

I was digging around and found an old picture of a post 2010 cocos on my computer.It's on Merritt island surrounded by concrete infrastructure near the Indian river.I wonder if it's still there?

This palm is still there. Just east of the river on Courtenay Pkwy (520) on the north side of the road.

Dec 2007: https://goo.gl/maps/m4VSG

Sept 2009: https://goo.gl/maps/KDjGR

May 2011: https://goo.gl/maps/Xnqp6

DANG! That sucks.

But one survived right?

Edited by Danilopez89

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Coconutman

Amazing recovery not to least especially for a yellow malayan dwarf.

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Cocoa Beach Jason

I was digging around and found an old picture of a post 2010 cocos on my computer.It's on Merritt island surrounded by concrete infrastructure near the Indian river.I wonder if it's still there?

This palm is still there. Just east of the river on Courtenay Pkwy (520) on the north side of the road.

Dec 2007: https://goo.gl/maps/m4VSG

Sept 2009: https://goo.gl/maps/KDjGR

May 2011: https://goo.gl/maps/Xnqp6

DANG! That sucks.

But one survived right?

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Cocoa Beach Jason

Eew if that specific one is dead that sucks. I do know of a yellow coconut right in Merritt Island right on 520 towards the indian river that is still there. Next time I go over that way I will take a pic.

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Jimbean

I was digging around and found an old picture of a post 2010 cocos on my computer.It's on Merritt island surrounded by concrete infrastructure near the Indian river.I wonder if it's still there?

image.jpg1_zpsql5qxi4r.jpg

This palm is still there. Just east of the river on Courtenay Pkwy (520) on the north side of the road.

I drive by that baby every day! :D

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Jimbean

Yeah, it is still there!

I have been taking the time as of lately to jog around town and I have noticed a lot of cool stuff. I am looking to buy a smart phone and take pics for you folks.

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Yunder Wækraus

I just met one of my neighbors today while I was doing some yard work. He owns a duplex and a house on the street, and his personal yard has beautiful tropical plants. They bought the house on this street in the early '80s, and they planted coconut trees at that time. I asked what happened to their coconuts during the freeze of 1989, and they said they had no damage whatsoever. They lost some coconunts to a hurricane, but none to a freeze. They still have a coconut tree in their front yard, but I don't think it's pre-1989. Anyway, they are accomplished gardeners, and I have no reason to doubt that the freeze of 1989 did not hit as hard on this street as other parts of the island. (Their property is only a couple of hundred feet from A1A.)

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empireo22

no damage at all during the 89 freeze....maybe they were queens. and he didn't know any difference at the time. i believe melbourne airport registered 17 your area probably saw 23 or 24.....

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Yunder Wækraus

No, this guy is quite knowledgeable. He still has a coconut in the front. He's probably 1000 feet from the ocean, and there's a steady breeze. Perhaps his yard stayed above 26.

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Zeeth

No damage seems suspect but I saw the same with two individual coconuts on Anna Maria island in 2010 so you never know, though '89 was much colder (but not as long lasting). There is a Jamaican tall coconut on AMI that is about the same height as the 87 year old Nawasi tall at Fairchild so there were definitely survivors from the freezes of the 80s and the 60s.

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Yunder Wækraus

It would be a lot better if the original coconuts were still there. The one he has is about 20' tall. I don't know how long it takes for a coconut to get that size, but I'm guessing it ain't 27 years. He lost some of them to a hurricane (was that 2005?). I guess we can never prove otherwise (unless photos exist from immediately before and after the freeze), but he's got a ton of tropical plantings. He was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale (he looks like he's between 60 and 70), so he's no stranger to tropical gardening. He and his wife mentioned that a freeze earlier in the 1980s (or earlier?) they endured while living in Satellite Beach was much worse than what they experienced in 1989 nearer the beach in Indialantic.

I think it's good to ask folks who've been in one neighborhood for a long time about this sort of stuff. Whether the info is accurate or not, it's interesting. I'll keep asking older folks when I get a chance.

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IHB1979

I asked the question last year on another forum, one local to the coastal Brevard county communities of Patrick Shores, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Indialantic and Melbourne Beach. Supposedly a few made it. I can't confirm or deny.

A friend planted coconuts after that freeze in 90' and by 2009-10 they had almost 30' of wood. I imagine an established coconut that survived the 89' freeze in this area would be larger and maybe have visible trauma in the trunk from the event?

http://www.2ndlight.com/fusetalk/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=8&threadid=162533&enterthread=y

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palmsOrl

Cocos%20Roystonea%20Range%20FL%202015%20

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palmsOrl

The above is a quickly created re-hash of approximately how far north in FL Cocos have a reasonable chance at surviving between historic freezes The range for Cocos is in green and for Roystonea in purple. Within each range, I would deem each species to be worthy of widespread planting with appropriate care and maintenance thereafter. In the northern areas of the range, healthy plants may get some burn or winter damage every couple of years, but should seldom be seriously damaged or killed by freezes. There are a few scattered microclimates north of the defined ranges that may support each species somewhat long-term while some south of the ranges may experience freezes regularly that would prevent success with Cocos and/or Roystonea. The only two such anomalies I noted on the map are the Orlando metropolitan area as this area is now warm enough for well taken care of royals to do well. The other is the area of the Archbold Biological Station which has very hard freezes on an annual basis (many years into the teens) and clearly would support neither coconuts or royals for a single year.

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