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How far N in Florida can coconut palms reliably grow?

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Zeeth
10 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

To be honest, I was kind of shocked that those 2 had any damage at all.  The maypan had some leaf burn as well, but the very well established Malay Dwarf was unscathed.  Usually I don't even start worrying unless the temperature is going to be below 40F, but I may have to make an exception the first year or two for the new guys.  There is no doubt your low temperatures were higher than mine, being that you are further south and toward the coast.

I think it was the fact that we went from 90˚ to 40˚ within a few hours rather than the absolute low. 

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WillW421

I know this is an old thread but I have a question I’m asking out of curiosity. Do any of you think it would be possible to grow a coco tree in Carrabelle, Florida, it’s about as far south as you can get in the panhandle and some maps I have seen list it as a zone 10 microclimate, temperature history I’ve reasearched seems to favor this “experiment” but I figured I would ask some people with experience. As a side note I have seen many queen palms successfully growing down here which I believe are supposed to be zone 10 plants. Regardless any info is appreciated, thanks

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kinzyjr

@WillW421 Pretty much anywhere north of St. Petersburg or Cocoa Beach is asking for major issues.  Looking at your record lows, unless you want to put a lot of effort into protecting them, don't do it:

201804031745_CarrabelleFL.png

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WillW421
3 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

@WillW421 Pretty much anywhere north of St. Petersburg or Cocoa Beach is asking for major issues.  Looking at your record lows, unless you want to put a lot of effort into protecting them, don't do it:

201804031745_CarrabelleFL.png

I appreciate the feedback although the average temperature on that map is probably more accurate, I remember looking that up and the majority of the record lows were all pre 1990 I believe and it has certainly warmed up on average since then, I’ll take this post into consideration though, again thank you for the fast response!

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Walt

IMO, the short answer is NO! No way will a coconut palm survive in Carrabelle without major winter time protection. I've been growing a green Malayan dwarf coconut for 15 years. It's been fruiting for the past five years. In 2010 I had six nights below 30 degrees, and three of those nights were below 25 degrees, the coldest being 20.8 degrees. Had I not protected my coconut palm it would have been killed.

I haven't protected my coconut palm for the past five winters. This winter it got frost damaged fronds.

When my palm was small, I actually bundled the fronds, wrapped them with flannel sheets, then wrapped a blue PVC tarp over the sheets. That prevented any frost damage and worked fairly well. But when I experience temperatures into the 20s (like I did in both January and December of 2010), I use EZ Heat thermostatically controlled heating cables to spirally wrap around the trunk, up and past the meristem. I then wrap over the cables with flannel sheets, mover's quilts, etc., to hold in the small amount of heat the cables produce.

If you employed the above method, you could probably grow a coconut palm in Carrabelle, but the fronds would probably get toasted each winter, and the palm would never hold a full crown. 

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GottmitAlex

^^^ THIS ^^^

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Xerarch
3 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

@WillW421 Pretty much anywhere north of St. Petersburg or Cocoa Beach is asking for major issues.  Looking at your record lows, unless you want to put a lot of effort into protecting them, don't do it:

201804031745_CarrabelleFL.png

Another angle here that has not been mentioned, regardless of record lows or USDA zone, look at those January averages, 63/42 is not survivable for coconut long term. The rule of thumb is you need your average temp in coldest month to be 60 degrees at minimum, not the high, but the average between high and low. 

Here Walt has a huge advantage, he has got some pretty low lows but he is also far enough south that his average temps are pretty high, he can just protect against cold snaps, if your average Jan high is only 63, protection from cold snaps will be insufficient, you’ll need to actually add heat during cool but not cold days. 

Some on this forum will zone push that 60 degree rule of thumb down to 57-58 with moderate success with some extra protection, but pushing down to that 52.5 average in Carrabelle would really be a stretch in my opinion. 

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PalmatierMeg

No. What most people don't realize is that coconuts and other tropical palms are not just cold sensitive, they are cool sensitive. Long periods of highs below 70F and lows below 50F are lethal for them. Locally, coconuts are common along the coast but disappear from the landscape east of I75 - inland winters are too harsh. Also, rain and cold temps are deadly. Your winters are more continental than in Central and South FL and you receive much more rain - cold rain. Down here winters are very dry. The little rain I receive comes ahead of an impending cold front triggering brief showers while temps are relatively balmy. By the time that arctic blast hits hours later the rain is long gone. In the 25 years I've lived here it has rained when temps fell below 50 just once: 1/10/10.

Unless you have a large, heated greenhouse or conservatory the long term prognosis for coconuts is grim. They are cheap and easy to find if you want to treat one as an annual but that option would frustrate and depress me.

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Walt
10 hours ago, Xerarch said:

Another angle here that has not been mentioned, regardless of record lows or USDA zone, look at those January averages, 63/42 is not survivable for coconut long term. The rule of thumb is you need your average temp in coldest month to be 60 degrees at minimum, not the high, but the average between high and low. 

Here Walt has a huge advantage, he has got some pretty low lows but he is also far enough south that his average temps are pretty high, he can just protect against cold snaps, if your average Jan high is only 63, protection from cold snaps will be insufficient, you’ll need to actually add heat during cool but not cold days. 

Some on this forum will zone push that 60 degree rule of thumb down to 57-58 with moderate success with some extra protection, but pushing down to that 52.5 average in Carrabelle would really be a stretch in my opinion. 

That's correct. My January average high is 73 degrees. There's enough minimal over all heat for my coconut to survive -- if I can protect it on just one night (maybe two) every 5 years or so. But that's at my place. There are coconuts up in town(2 miles away) that I've been tracking since 2002, and they don't get protection, and have survived, even the 2010 cold, due to it being warmer at night due to higher elevation; same for coconuts immediately lake side. But they were hurt, not so much from absolute cold, but from 11 days of abnormally cool to cold temperatures. These palms exhibited boron and manganese and K deficiency the following spring, but then quickly grew out of it. The palms were really looking good for years until they were battered by Hurricane Irma, and they've still not fully recovered.

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wrigjef
On 9/13/2015 at 1:07 PM, rick999 said:

Hello everyone.  I came across this site after researching the hardiness of coconut trees.  I'm about to try an experiment here at my home.  As a former south Floridian I quite miss it and my little secret is that I have built around myself a refuge architecturally speaking what I miss about Miami.  One of those things is that I miss coconut trees.

The situation is that I find myself living in New Orleans.  I'm presently redesigning my back yard and one of the items I am going to plant is a COCONUT TREE!!!  

 

Rick

Rick,  

Did you ever end up planting a Coconut Palm in New Orleans?  

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wrigjef
On 9/13/2015 at 1:07 PM, rick999 said:

Hello everyone.  I came across this site after researching the hardiness of coconut trees.  I'm about to try an experiment here at my home.  As a former south Floridian I quite miss it and my little secret is that I have built around myself a refuge architecturally speaking what I miss about Miami.  One of those things is that I miss coconut trees.

The situation is that I find myself living in New Orleans.  I'm presently redesigning my back yard and one of the items I am going to plant is a COCONUT TREE!!!  

 

Rick

Rick,  

Did you ever end up planting a Coconut Palm in New Orleans?  

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wrigjef
On 9/13/2015 at 1:07 PM, rick999 said:

Hello everyone.  I came across this site after researching the hardiness of coconut trees.  I'm about to try an experiment here at my home.  As a former south Floridian I quite miss it and my little secret is that I have built around myself a refuge architecturally speaking what I miss about Miami.  One of those things is that I miss coconut trees.

The situation is that I find myself living in New Orleans.  I'm presently redesigning my back yard and one of the items I am going to plant is a COCONUT TREE!!!  

 

Rick

Rick,  

Did you ever end up planting a Coconut Palm in New Orleans?  

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wrigjef
On 9/13/2015 at 1:07 PM, rick999 said:

Hello everyone.  I came across this site after researching the hardiness of coconut trees.  I'm about to try an experiment here at my home.  As a former south Floridian I quite miss it and my little secret is that I have built around myself a refuge architecturally speaking what I miss about Miami.  One of those things is that I miss coconut trees.

The situation is that I find myself living in New Orleans.  I'm presently redesigning my back yard and one of the items I am going to plant is a COCONUT TREE!!!  

 

Rick

Rick,  

Did you ever end up planting a Coconut Palm in New Orleans?  

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wrigjef
On 9/13/2015 at 1:07 PM, rick999 said:

Hello everyone.  I came across this site after researching the hardiness of coconut trees.  I'm about to try an experiment here at my home.  As a former south Floridian I quite miss it and my little secret is that I have built around myself a refuge architecturally speaking what I miss about Miami.  One of those things is that I miss coconut trees.

The situation is that I find myself living in New Orleans.  I'm presently redesigning my back yard and one of the items I am going to plant is a COCONUT TREE!!!  

 

Rick

Rick,  

Did you ever end up planting a Coconut Palm in New Orleans?  

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wrigjef
On 9/13/2015 at 1:07 PM, rick999 said:

Hello everyone.  I came across this site after researching the hardiness of coconut trees.  I'm about to try an experiment here at my home.  As a former south Floridian I quite miss it and my little secret is that I have built around myself a refuge architecturally speaking what I miss about Miami.  One of those things is that I miss coconut trees.

The situation is that I find myself living in New Orleans.  I'm presently redesigning my back yard and one of the items I am going to plant is a COCONUT TREE!!!  

 

Rick

Rick,  

Did you ever end up planting a Coconut Palm in New Orleans?  

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wrigjef
On 9/13/2015 at 1:07 PM, rick999 said:

Hello everyone.  I came across this site after researching the hardiness of coconut trees.  I'm about to try an experiment here at my home.  As a former south Floridian I quite miss it and my little secret is that I have built around myself a refuge architecturally speaking what I miss about Miami.  One of those things is that I miss coconut trees.

The situation is that I find myself living in New Orleans.  I'm presently redesigning my back yard and one of the items I am going to plant is a COCONUT TREE!!!  

 

Rick

Rick,  

Did you ever end up planting a Coconut Palm in New Orleans?  

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wrigjef
On 9/13/2015 at 1:07 PM, rick999 said:

Hello everyone.  I came across this site after researching the hardiness of coconut trees.  I'm about to try an experiment here at my home.  As a former south Floridian I quite miss it and my little secret is that I have built around myself a refuge architecturally speaking what I miss about Miami.  One of those things is that I miss coconut trees.

The situation is that I find myself living in New Orleans.  I'm presently redesigning my back yard and one of the items I am going to plant is a COCONUT TREE!!!  Now with all the talk on this forum about the northernmost of this tree being mid FL, I'm hoping to blow that away.

This might require some extra ordinary measures to help it get through winter, but I am going to try!  The favorable conditions however are not bad.  We rarely see freezing temperatures and when it happens it does not last long.  I'm thinking of a variety of things to help get me through those periods.  The area is a horticultural 9a 9b zone so we are subtropical.  I have lime, kumquat, orange trees flourishing.  I have palm trees such as the Mexican fan palm that grows like crazy!!!  I planted several 3 years ago from a 1 GALLLON pot size and now most of them are 20 feet tall with a massive trunk!  We have 2 queen palms that are over 25 feet tall.

I know I have to do some things to make conditions good...the soil here is very water retentive with  clay at about 4 feet at my property, so I will make sure it has good drainage and I will bring in some beach sand.

The area I plan on placing it will be near the home, so it will be out of the wind and get some heat from the brick outside and pool.  I'm hoping the cooler climate in the winter will stunt the growth.....I dont want it to get too big or grow fast.  I'm hoping this because I know I might have to wrap the tree in burlap or build some sort of enclosure over it to keep it warm in the winter.  Having lived in Miami, I have to say the winter is not that much different here except it is longer.

Call me crazy but I'm going to try this!!!   If you all have any recommendations for this experiment I'd love to hear, in particular the best variety to survive cold.  Planning on having a about a 6 foot tree shipped here. Probably too late now, but in the spring once the cold has left.

 

Rick

Rick,

  Did you ever end up planting a Coco in New Orleans? 

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RJ
5 hours ago, wrigjef said:

Rick,

  Did you ever end up planting a Coco in New Orleans? 

@rick999 Hasn't been here in ~5 years ;)

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wrigjef
5 hours ago, RJ said:

@rick999 Hasn't been here in ~5 years ;)

Thanks for the info.  I read that entire thread today and he was so sure he was going to plant one.  I gave it two chances of survival in New Orleans slim and none. 

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Don B.

I planted a coconut at my house in the woods in Lake Mary, Florida (northeast suburb of Orlando) about a year ago, and it’s doing okay.  We never froze this past winter, which no doubt was a big help!  I thought of this thread while driving around town today, because I spotted a fairly tall coconut palm in a yard in Winter Park (just north of downtown Orlando), with quite a few decent-size green coconuts on it!  It’s obviously been there for quite a few years; it’s about as tall as the tallest point of the house. I’ll post pics if I can figure out how...it seems I can only post an image from a URL, and not from my phone....

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