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ruskinPalms

Microclimates

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ruskinPalms

Hi all,

This was a reply I wrote to a personal message. I think it is a good time to discuss this as now is the time that we are planting new stuff and the placement now is crucial for long term survial during winter. The original question was regarding the zones in the area and I went off on a tagent. Please correct any fallicious info in here as I do not want to lead another new palm nut in the wrong direction!

Hi Jeffrey,

I would have to think the part of Apollo Beach you are planning to live in is easily 10A except for winters like 1989 and 2003 which were advective freezes (windy) as opposed to radiational freezes which are much more common. The proximity to the water is the key here as the bay will protect you from radiational freezes. I think that even little retention ponds and small canals can provide nice microclimates during radiational freezes.  Another plus for you is that you are near the lovely TECO power plant which puts out a pretty decent plume of heated water into the bay. Manatees like to over winter near the plant due to the increased water temp there in the winter.

Too bad the old board crashed as there was an insane amount of debate and information regarding freezes and microclimates. The main concensus from the old board is that it is best to be near large bodies of water during radiational freezes and during advective freezes it is just best to be as far south as possible. You might wonder why the air is not moderated much with cold northwest winds in winter as it travels over gulf and bay waters on the way to apollo beach. I am not sure, but I think that winter cold fronts do not blow in parallel to the land and sea (which would tend to moderate air) but have a more vertical component to their vectors and cold air comes crashing down out of the atmosphere. At least that is how it was explained in one lost post from the old board and that makes sense to me since pinellas county saw the same upper 20's in January 2003 as more inland areas of Hillsborough county yet farther south stayed in the 30's.

Yes, probably anything west of 41 in lower hillsborough county is zone 10A most winters and I would even go as far to say that you can draw a line south from the 41 and highway 674 intersection in ruskin and it would start to be 10A as well based upon what I have seen. Once south of the Manatee river in Manatee county, anything west of 41 is probably 10B with offshore keys being 11A most winters. But remember, 1989 just about everything down to Fort Myers became 8B to 9A overnight and turned all tropical and suptropical plants into coleslaw. That being said, don't hesitate to plant 10A palms and even some palms like adonidia and coconuts that are rated 10B where you are at. I am in a more inland area on the south side of ruskin, north sun city-ish just to the north of the little manatee river in a new development east of 41 as it travels south of ruskin and I am planting coconuts, veitchia arecina, foxtails, royals, adonida and I am pretty sure that the area is 10A most years with 9B about every 5 years based upon some of the large ficus, large dypsis lutecens, plumerias, fruiting bananas and papayas I have seen. I am not planting these too far out in the open for several reasons but the most important is that anywhere within 5' of a house seems to give another half zone rating increase during radiational freezes (ie most of my yard is 9B but areas immediately around the house are likley not see frost most winters and are 10A microclimates) especially in dense new housing developments where the next house is no more than 10' to 20' away.

All of this information is stuff that I have gleaned from posts on the old board. Probably I misunderstood a lot of it. I think I am going to post this the main board to hopefully start some discussion on this matter again. I think it is a good topic to discuss now even though it is high summer here right now and freezes and microclimates are the last things on people's minds at this point in time. I think the info lost from the old board really helped me plan out how to plant tender palms in marginal areas with microclimate hypotheses etc. I had to start from scratch here at my new house and I have not yet spent a winter here so we'll see if what I learned will pay off! Good luck and happy palming!

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spockvr6

(ruskinPalms @ Jul. 05 2006,19:50)

QUOTE
The main concensus from the old board is that it is best to be near large bodies of water during radiational freezes and during advective freezes it is just best to be as far south as possible.

I think that more or less sums it all up Bill!

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spockvr6

(ruskinPalms @ Jul. 05 2006,19:50)

QUOTE
but the most important is that anywhere within 5' of a house seems to give another half zone rating increase during radiational freezes

There is no doubt that being near a house makes a difference.   One frosty morning demonstrates this without a doubt!

But, I am not convinced that there is an actual air temperature difference (and thus by definition a zonal difference) between a location 5 ft from a house and one further out.  I made quite a few air temperature measurements while walking around my yard last winter with a very fast acting thermocouple and I failed to measure any significant temperature increase near a house wall versus a location farther away.  I did however measure massive temperature differences at various heights above the ground on nights with still air.

But, that doesnt mean being near a wall isnt beneficial.  If obviously is since it keeps frost away.   The frost doesnt form in proximity to the wall due to radiational heat transfer between the wall and surrounding surfaces which "see" the wall (these surfaces include plant leaves).  But, air temperature measurements will not detect this surface temperature increase since radiational heat transfer between surfaces does not significantly affect the air temperature of which that radiation is "passing through".

This is my current understanding......perhaps others can chime in with more detailed explanations.

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NBTX11

(ruskinPalms @ Jul. 05 2006,19:50)

QUOTE
 Another plus for you is that you are near the lovely TECO power plant which puts out a pretty decent plume of heated water into the bay. Manatees like to over winter near the plant due to the increased water temp there in the winter.

Is that the large plant I remember seeing from I-75 on the right hand side when going south driving from Brandon to Bradenton. (I used to live in Brandon).

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SubTropicRay

Very nice Bill.  I couldn't have said it better myself.

Ray

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Dave-Vero

I was reading Frank Craighead, Sr.'s 1971 book on the Everglades.  His experience in that area indicates that wet areas fare better than dry ones.  I concur tht advective freezes (cold, dry wind blowing across the landscape) minimizes those local water-related microclimate differences here in Florida.  

However, it's notable how the distributions of tropical trees follow the coasts.  I'm sure water helps because native gumbo limbos hanging over the saltwater Indian River lagoon on south Tropical Trail, Merritt Island, Florida (Brevard County, zone 9b) survived the big freezes of the 1980s while trees left out in the open on Cocoa Beach died.  I'm pretty sure, but don't have any evidence, that tropicals living in intact coastal thickets/forests (hammocks) fare better than those left as isolated specimens.

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Stan

I know your conversation is Florida,but since it is micro climates,Yesterday while we in Hayward were having 103 heat San Francisco at the same time was 73. There is only twenty flat miles between both citys.

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SubTropicRay

Stan,

I think the word microclimate may be an understatement in that case.

Ray

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Dave-Vero

The refurbished SF Opera House still doesn't have air conditioning.  Supposedly they fixed the very warm microclimate of the upper balcony.

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