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Brahea Axel

B. Alfredii under-rated

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Brahea Axel

You could say the same of brahea armata, but I dont think its an emergent canopy palm. The best, widest crown, sabal palmettos I have seen were in half day or less sun. Im not sure they grow better in full sun, they tend to be more compact of crown in full sun. Of course the water at each site is probably more important than sun in florida.

You can't say the same thing about brahea armata, where did you get that idea? Many of the braheas don't tolerate shade. They need full sun in order to grow. It's not that they are slow in shade, they die in full shade. B. armata can grow in part shade because in its native habitat it can grow in narrow canyons as well as the broader fully exposed arroyos. However, part shade does slow them down. Full forest canopy shade kills them, very different from sabals.

Here's a picture of brahea armata in its native habitat: Arroya Catavina in Baja. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/texbuckner/3877471242/ for more details. When you see that, you will understand that a forest canopy is not the right thing for brahea armata.

Catavina Boulder Field in Baja California Norte:

Sure I can say it. I grew 7 brahea armatas, some to 13' overall in my AZ house, 2 were in part shade(ash, Chinese elm, paolo verde) probably only 3 hrs sun max a day. they grew fine, slower, a little more green and less dense of crown. they just didn't grow as fast and isn't look as impressive. In santa cruz I don't know... Its marginal for brahea armata in terms of warmth so perhaps there are confounding factors. santa cruz also had wet winters with the cool, and that leads to root rot. the most wet spots will be in shade. I have observed that sabal palmettos in part shade(1/2 day) do better than those in all day sun, those with some shade grew bigger more robust palms. the pattern of brahea armata fits my experience so far with alfredii, bigger more robust palms in 6+hrs of sun. that doesn't mean that it proves anything, but it disputes the anecdotal evidence comparing alfredii to sabal palmetto.

I have a brahea armata in part shade, only 3 hours of sun, no root rot, fine in Santa Cruz, just slower. But that's a far cry from full canopy. I doubt an armata will tolerate full canopy, even if it did, a green armata isn't that interesting. I bet b. alfredii will do fine under full canopy, just slower, no different from a rhopie. Less photosynthesis means slower growth.

Not to switch topics, but those photos go a long way to explaining Brahea armata's drought-tolerance and indifference to fertilizer.

Brahea edulis thrives in shade, at least here in San Francisco, flowering and fruiting prodigiously, but of course also thrives in sun even in hot valleys. I assume that its companions in habitat like Pinus radiata var. binata and Quercus tomentella used to cast a lot of shade before the goats killed most of them off.

Fascinating, this makes a lot of sense. I had one in part shade and it grew prodigiously. The oak is now gone, and the edulis loves the full sun. I guess Geoff Stein was wrong on that one. In the light of this comment, I think there are more parallels between brahea edulis and b. alfredii than there is between brahea armata and b. alfredii.

From what I've seen alfredii is way faster than no-window, two or three times the growth rate easy. Full sun is definitely best, even for small plants in gallon pots, especially for alfredii.

Which isn't to say they also won't grow under canopy, though.

Dave, any thoughts on 'Windows'? Mine is growing in mostly shade and looks spectacular in shade.

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DoomsDave

Axel, if you can get Windows to grow, I'll either suspect witchcraft or wonder about our state of knowledge.

I've found that species impossible to grow anywhere in So-Cal, even the warm ridgetops of LA.

No windows (is that what you mean?) is very slow all the way round. I haven't noticed much difference between sun or shade. Slow as Congress with constipation in January . . . .

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Brahea Axel

Axel, if you can get Windows to grow, I'll either suspect witchcraft or wonder about our state of knowledge.

I've found that species impossible to grow anywhere in So-Cal, even the warm ridgetops of LA.

No windows (is that what you mean?) is very slow all the way round. I haven't noticed much difference between sun or shade. Slow as Congress with constipation in January . . . .

Dave, it's a Windows. I got a windows, 'no windows' and alfredii to get more knowledgable about the genus. I think I might get Windows to grow in a corner with full overhead protection with light and heat coming in from the South in my rainforest alley (which is super humid), and I may need to throw in a ride on my broom during the next full moon. :)

'No Windows' is planted in full sun on my hillside where I really don't want it to grow much because it's right next to the walking path. It probably won't grow much anyway, which is ok.

I seriously doubt I can get windows to any size, but it looks so cool as a medium sized non-trunking palm. If I can keep it looking good in its super sheltered spot for a couple of years I'll be happy. Then it will probably go off to the compost bin. I think the no windows will become compost much sooner than windows because no windows is way too slow here.

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sonoranfans

Do you mean part shade in Arizona or Florida for the Sabals? I've gotten the best and most robust Sabal growth in full to mostly full sun with very slow growth but long petioles in shaded areas. Again just my experience.

Ive seen pics of your place.... looks almost all shade to me. My shadiest areas in my yard get 3hrs direct unimpeded morning sun, then all shade for the rest of the day. The best sabals Ive seen in florida(greatest crown width plus density) have been in half day sun. those in full all day sun grow more compact, full of crown but compact. I went around trying to find one as big as my sabal blackburniana in AZ(measured 17' across in the crown, 5+ foot fans). Because "blackburniana" was called sabal palmetto by taxonomists I decided to search this out. the closest I could find was 1/2day sun in palm harbor in a wet area. I was also looking for thicker petioles. It wasn't quite as big of frond, but it and a couple nearby were pretty big(~15'?). Most sabal palmettos I see in full sun and look like about 10-12' across. there are also a couple near me in yards with large live oaks (trimmed up a bit 30' under canopy) that have big crowns.

BTW I agree those in full shade(live oak forests) are elongated but thin looking...

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krishnaraoji88

That's because I never post photos of the desert back yard where most of my Sabals grow. I didn't figure there would be much interest in Sabals, Brahea, and other common palms :) I have 5 "blackburniana" out there but they haven't started trunking yet. Also there is quite a bit more sun than the photos show, because of the tree layout it varies quite a bit throughout the day.

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Zeeth

My anecdotal account so far is that my B. alfredii that I have in full sun (one of the only spots in my yard that at no point is shaded) seems to be the slowest so far of the 7 that I have in the ground, though I've only had them in the ground for a year. The ones that get full sun for about 5 or 6 hours, then shade, seem to be my fastest, and the one that I planted in full shade all day somewhat slower than those. I don't take these measurements too seriously at the moment though, as one of the ones planted in the area with sun for 5/6 hours was my biggest and fastest to begin with, and I've noticed that the ones I have in 7 gallon pots seem faster than any of the ones in the ground except the biggest one, so I think the speed has more to do with something happening at the root level than anything else.

There was a similar discussion to them being emergent or not a while back and I think I remember reading that the area they're native too is more or less untouched by people due to how difficult it is to climb to but I may be mis-remembering.

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