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GottmitAlex
6 hours ago, Walt said:

I've been in the winter protection mode for 18 years now. I've used heat lamps, kerosene forced air heaters, propane forced air heaters, propane infrared heaters, space heaters, electric griddles/frying pans, and heating cables with insulation wraps and/or tents -- depending on the size of the palm/plant I was trying to protect.

I can tell you that trying to protect a large spreading palm during a night in the 20s F, sub 0C (radiational cooling, let alone advective cooling), one may as well forget heat lamps or heaters -- as it would take way too many of them. The heaters just can't provide the massive amount of BTUs to fully protect the entire palm 360 degrees around the palm.

When my coconut palm was small I used to use propane and kerosene forced air heaters to protect it. I assisted the heaters by erecting a tarp (using tall poles to mount the tarps on) to encompass 180 degrees around the palm. Then I placed two heaters to blow on the opposite side of the palm the tarps were on. The tarps help keep the warm air from the heaters around the palm (if you can envision that). This worked okay on radiational cooling nights.

But after my palm got too big to bundle the fronds I finally had to accept the fact that the fronds were going to get frost/cold damaged. At that point I just resorted to my catastrophic protection mode: spirally wrapping a heating cable around the trunk from the soil level, up and past the meristem, then wrapping the same with insulation blankets.

The blankets held the heat from the heating cables (which is minimal), and is the key to keeping the palm trunk and meristem from freezing. The fronds may get fried but the rest of the palm is unhurt from the cold. This is very important for the meristem. I found by keeping the meristem from being cold damaged the new spring fronds aren't stunted. I've found this to be a fact with respect to my coconut palm and my African oil palm.

There was a time when I went all out and protected so many palms and shrubs, but those days are over for me now. The only palms I will protect now is my coconut, by large adonidia growing at the S.E. corner of my house, and my African oil palm. Nature will just have to take her course on everything else. I'm hoping for another mild winter for 2016-17.

1.- When do you go into catastrophic protection mode? That same night? Day before? 

2.- If I read you right, if the temps are not going to fall below 30F, you let nature take its course on the coconut?

 

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Walt
1 hour ago, GottmitAlex said:

1.- When do you go into catastrophic protection mode? That same night? Day before? 

2.- If I read you right, if the temps are not going to fall below 30F, you let nature take its course on the coconut?

 

If the weather forecast calls for temps to drop below 30 degrees I will install the heating cables (EasyHeat Cables I buy off Amazon) a day or two before the night of the freeze. In fact, in winters past I install the cable and  just leave them in place on the palm. Then the night of the freeze I install the insulation wraps (mover's quilts, old quilted mattress covers, etc.) over the cables to hold in the heat. No way will the trunk and meristem get cold damaged; I don't care if it dropped to 20 degrees over night. The cables run warm and the insulation holds enough heat in. One year I put a remote digital thermometer sensor under the insulation (but away from the cables) and the temperature never dropped below 55 degrees! With the remote sensor I could monitor the temperature under the insulation all night long on my base station. I don't bother with that anymore as I know it works. I only make sure (by looking out the window) that the integral plug light (orange color) is lighted on my cable. The light lets you know there is electricity to the cable.

 If the temperature is not going to fall below 30 degrees then I don't bother with the cables. But the problem is I can't rely on the weather forecasts. They've thrown me a curve more than once and I lost palms to freeze and frost.

Out were I live, just off the Lake Wales Ridge, when we get an overnight low forecast it generally goes something like this: Tonight after sundown the winds will die down and radiational cooling will take effect. Expect lows of 37 degrees high ground and 30 degrees low ground.

However, like I said, you can't always trust the forecast. So if anything less than 35 degrees is called for low ground locations (like mine) I protect the coconut palm.

The thing about my 9b location is that I have good daytime heating and relatively high average temperatures. My January (coldest month) daytime high average for January is about 74 degrees. Thus, if I can get through the 1-2 really cold nights each winter my coconut palm survives quite well.

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Zeeth
2 minutes ago, Walt said:

 

Walt, how do you prevent the cables from heating up too much? I tried practicing my palm protection technique one winter when it got down to 33˚ but I ended up cooking the palm and nearly killing it (it's since fully recovered). This happened with 1 string of Christmas lights, so I didn't think it was going overboard at the time. 

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GottmitAlex
24 minutes ago, Walt said:

own and radiational cooling will take effect. Expect lows of 37 degrees high ground and 30 degrees low ground.

Thank you Walt for such a detailed response.  In the last four years, only once, in January 2012, has the temperature dropped to 39 degrees. This January, the temps sank to 46F.  The average for January (this year)  was 64/51F. (I reference January, since it is the coldest month of the year).  However, that does not mitigate the fact I am very nervous about this coming winter for my three coconut seedlings which are in the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Walt
1 hour ago, Zeeth said:

Walt, how do you prevent the cables from heating up too much? I tried practicing my palm protection technique one winter when it got down to 33˚ but I ended up cooking the palm and nearly killing it (it's since fully recovered). This happened with 1 string of Christmas lights, so I didn't think it was going overboard at the time. 

I had to learn the hard way. String lights and cables can severely injure and/or kill a palm if used incorrectly, especially light bulbs that run hot to the touch. Even though my EasyHeat cables don't run hot (just warm to the touch), prolonged contact with crownshafts and leaves will scorch them. I lost an adonidia palm to severe scorching with my heating cables. I had the cables wrapped (direct contact) around the crown shaft and I looked like a candy cane or barber pole, scorched all the way through.

What I've found, by using heating cables on my A. alexandrae, D. leptocheilos, S. schizophylla, Adonidia, and coconut palm (years ago, I don't protect them now because they are far too big and tall, except for the coconut if need be) is that the cables can make direct contact with the trunks, but not crown shafts and foliage. I also killed a good sized bottle palm with cables (just now remembered that).

Crownshafts must first be wrapped with a terry cloth (or equivalent) towel, then wrap the cables/lights over them, then a second wrap to cover the cables. Also, when I protect my coconut palm, I don't let the cables touch the any part of the petioles (when I weave the cables in and out of the frond bases above the meristem area. I wrap old rags, towels, etc., so that the cables don't directly contact the petioles -- because they can scorch after many hours of direct contact.

The biggest thing to remember (at least for most central Florida climates), is that you don't need all kinds of heat. You just need a little supplemental heat -- but good insulation to hold that small amount of heat in at the palm. Also, I don't run my cables until the temperature drops below 37 degrees, that's when the integral thermostat in the heating cable activates. Sometimes I may keep the cables unplugged and only plug them in once the outdoor open yard temperature drops to 35 degrees. Your really only want to use the cables/lights sparingly, say once temps drop below 35 degrees, then turn them off once temps rise above freezing.

And one big caveat, don't ever let the cables crossover one another (like if you were trying to double overlap), they will short out and melt. Happened to me on my coconut palm some years ago. The cable instructions warn you of this, but it happened inadvertently for me.

I know installing cables and lights and taking all the precautions can really be a pain, but it's all worth it to me with respect to my coconut palm. I'm not going to take the lazy way out and not protect it one night of the year and let it get killed by a freeze, when I can enjoy it the other 364 days of the year.

Another Palmtalk poster (Spock?) also fried many of his palms from using string lights some winters ago. I recall he posted photos of the carnage.

 

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Matthew92

Driving down to South Florida a couple months ago, in the Orlando area (I want to say it was north of Orlando), I saw two mature coconuts by a lake. They looked awesome. 

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Walt
1 hour ago, GottmitAlex said:

Thank you Walt for such a detailed response.  In the last four years, only once, in January 2012, has the temperature dropped to 39 degrees. This January, the temps sank to 46F.  The average for January (this year)  was 64/51F. (I reference January, since it is the coldest month of the year).  However, that does not mitigate the fact I am very nervous about this coming winter for my three coconut seedlings which are in the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your problem is not ultimate low temperature lows (like I get once or twice on an average winter), yours is lack of wintertime average heat, at least with respect to growing a coconut palm. My January average daily high is 10 degrees warmer than yours, and I'm in the dry season (yours is the wet season). Coconuts abhor cool, wet soil. What you have to do is everything you can to raise your wintertime soil temperatures. Even in my climate my coconut gets acute potassium deficiency from cooler soil and air temperatures.

If I had your January lows, but still had my January highs, my coconut palm would suffer nearly as much from potassium deficiency.

In any event, I wish you luck with your three coconut seedlings. Give them as much protection as you can.

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On ‎7‎/‎21‎/‎2016‎ ‎6‎:‎35‎:‎45‎, Mohsen said:

I am growing this little baby here in Sydney in 10a+..................of course only inside ;)

But soone or later I will have to take it out and then ...It will be its last days when winter comes ...

I wish someone or some scientific centers  would have done some genetic alteration to Cco so they can stand 9b or even 9 a ...just imagine how world would be more beautiful then :)

IMG_7271.JPG

No, Mohsen, GMO is NEVER good under any circumstances.  It is playing God and tampering with nature to the extreme.  I love coconut palms, they are my favorite plant, and they are marginal where I live, so I will just have to enjoy mine as long as I can, and replant new ones when these die.  GMO is causing all sorts of horrible effects on the human body and to nature itself.  Here in the U.S., we have already lost 50% of our bee population due to things like GMO and the overuse of pesticides.  We need to stop tampering with nature, and instead learn to live with and work with nature.

John

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Really full garden
3 hours ago, Opal92 said:

Driving down to South Florida a couple months ago, in the Orlando area (I want to say it was north of Orlando), I saw two mature coconuts by a lake. They looked awesome. 

When I lived in Kissimmee ,I was amazed by the micro climate on the south side of the lake in St Cloud. It is hard to imagine but during 1900s this was a major pineapple growing area.

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RedRabbit
3 hours ago, Opal92 said:

Driving down to South Florida a couple months ago, in the Orlando area (I want to say it was north of Orlando), I saw two mature coconuts by a lake. They looked awesome. 

Its really rare to find any coconuts in interior central Florida planted prior to 2010. It hasn't been cold enough to kill a coconut since December 2010 so at this point some planted right after are really beginning to look nice so I'm guessing they were planted in the past 5 years. If you know where they're at we might be able to confirm this with Google Streetview. 

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Matthew92
1 hour ago, RedRabbit said:

Its really rare to find any coconuts in interior central Florida planted prior to 2010. It hasn't been cold enough to kill a coconut since December 2010 so at this point some planted right after are really beginning to look nice so I'm guessing they were planted in the past 5 years. If you know where they're at we might be able to confirm this with Google Streetview. 

Unfortunately I don't remember anything else except that it was right next to the interstate. They were probably something like 15 feet high with a few feet of trunk. Looked like a tall variety too. Was especially odd because it wasn't that much farther south from where I started seeing queens.

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Mandrew968
16 hours ago, Zeeth said:

It depends on which area of St. Pete you mean. The warmest part of St. Pete near Kopsick is right around 35˚ for the average low. 

Right--and it shows with the plants they are growing. I am talking about this particular residence--about 4 miles inland from the park.

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Eric in Orlando
12 hours ago, scottgt said:

When I lived in Kissimmee ,I was amazed by the micro climate on the south side of the lake in St Cloud. It is hard to imagine but during 1900s this was a major pineapple growing area.

 

There also used to be a several pineapple farms near downtown Orlando back in the late 1800s in Orlando.

St. Cloud also had a big sugar cane plantation, the Disston Plantation. All the land south of East Lake Tohopekaliga was cypress swamp. A canal was dug from ELT to Lake Tohopekaliga to drain this swamp. At one time there was up to 11,000 acres of sugarcane planted. We were just down there last weekend to go look at the ruins of the sugar plantation. I didn't explore much are the lakefront area but I saw some big royal palms and big Ficus and Delonix but no coconuts.

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Eric in Orlando

I have noticed in the last couple years a trunked coconut downtown Orlando. It is visible from the exit ramp of I-4 onto Colonial Dr./SR 50. It is at an old mansion on the SE side of Lake Concord. I think it has been recently planted (after 2010) as the house was relandscaped and big Bismarckia were planted at the front gate.

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Walt
17 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Its really rare to find any coconuts in interior central Florida planted prior to 2010. It hasn't been cold enough to kill a coconut since December 2010 so at this point some planted right after are really beginning to look nice so I'm guessing they were planted in the past 5 years. If you know where they're at we might be able to confirm this with Google Streetview. 

When I moved to Highlands County in 1997 (and my wife and I drove all over it as we were looking for land to buy and build a house on) I only found two fairly tall trunked coconut palms. Both were near lakes. One was on a lakefront property but in the front yard away from the lake.

There was almost zilch availability of any species of palm except the common garden variet (queens, washingtonia, butia, roebelleni) at the local nurseries.

I managed to find quite a few (several dozens) of old royal palms, all in lakeside locations. But all that has changed since then. There are now coconut, foxtails, bismarckia being planted regularly in the lakefront communities and at some residences on high ground. Away from these micro-meso climate areas, forget it. Except for the past three winters, coconuts and other cold tender species of palms won't survive in the lower outlying areas of Highlands County, as the radiational freezes we get here can be horrid.

But the lakes around here are tied into the water table and I read they don't drop below the high 60s, even in January. As such, the USDA zone around most of the lakes is 10b. Even in December of 2010 most lakeside locations didn't drop below 30-32 degrees.

The upshot is for central Florida, you want to grow a coconut palm long term (relatively speaking) you better be right on the coasts (Gulf, Bay, and Atlantic) or large lakes (preferable the S.E. sides, and in my area, on the highest ground that has good cold air drainage off of it. High ground locations run 7-8 degrees warmer than the low ground areas on radiational cooling nights which comprise 95% of the coldest weather.

Come September, early October I plan to take my camera and hit the road here in Highlands County and video and photograph as many mature coconut palms (as well as royals and other zone 10+ species of palms) I can. I will then edit the video and upload it to my YouTube account where I have a dozen or so videos and post it at Palmtalk.

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Cocoa Beach Jason

According to the USDA this is 9B (barely):image.thumb.jpg.3adb20a6fcf26aed9256cc0e

image.thumb.jpg.a4c7aec4b9a74cf818eedd31

Which is why I find this zone map more fitting for my hood based on what actually grows here: 

image.thumb.jpg.07b8dc5a294aa7a49c82a79d

Although I would push the 10B zone to the barrier island only up here. 

 

Edited by Cocoa Beach Jason
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Walt

Well, according to that USDA map the below photos (all within the Lake Placid, Florida, suburbs and in town) are in zone 9a!

LakeSerenacoconutpalms_zpscfd6af96.jpg

CoconutpalmsonnorthshoreofLakePearle_zps

CocosnuciferaLakeGrassyLakePlacid_zps8aa

 

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RedRabbit
4 hours ago, Walt said:

But the lakes around here are tied into the water table and I read they don't drop below the high 60s, even in January. As such, the USDA zone around most of the lakes is 10b. Even in December of 2010 most lakeside locations didn't drop below 30-32 degrees.

Are you sure about that? That's very interesting. The big problem with Tampa Bay is it is so darn shallow. When an extended cold spell happens it wouldn't take long for the whole thing to cool off thus diminishing the protection it offers. The same is somewhat true of the gulf too. If lakes stay in the 60s that might actually be better.

1 hour ago, Cocoa Beach Jason said:

According to the USDA this is 9B (barely):image.thumb.jpg.3adb20a6fcf26aed9256cc0e

image.thumb.jpg.a4c7aec4b9a74cf818eedd31

Which is why I find this zone map more fitting for my hood based on what actually grows here: 

image.thumb.jpg.07b8dc5a294aa7a49c82a79d

Although I would push the 10B zone to the barrier island only up here. 

 

That's an interesting map you posted. It gets a lot of things right and a little bit wrong too. I really like how they're calling coastal Brevard and Pinellas counties 10b. On the flipside, I completely agree that 10b is way over done inland. 10a, by my calculation, probably goes to Ormond Beach and 9b actually goes all the way to St. Simmons so I think that map underestimates north Florida to an extent. It also ignores the Orlando heat island... It is easy to criticize, overall it is pretty good.   

For what it's worth it puts me on the boarder of 9a/9b which I can't say I agree with.  

My favorite at the moment is the one on Dave's Garden (which narrowly puts me in zone 10 :D):

Daves_Garden.gif.ab741db074b7c2a343cc289

 

Edited by RedRabbit

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Cocoa Beach Jason
3 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

Are you sure about that? That's very interesting. The big problem with Tampa Bay is it is so darn shallow. When an extended cold spell happens it wouldn't take long for the whole thing to cool off thus diminishing the protection it offers. The same is somewhat true of the gulf too. If lakes stay in the 60s that might actually be better.

That's an interesting map you posted. It gets a lot of things right and a little bit wrong too. I really like how they're calling coastal Brevard and Pinellas counties 10b. On the flipside, I completely agree that 10b is way over done inland. 10a, by my calculation, probably goes to Ormond Beach and 9b actually goes all the way to St. Simmons so I think that map underestimates north Florida to an extent. It also ignores the Orlando heat island... It is easy to criticize, overall it is pretty good.   

For what it's worth it puts me on the boarder of 9a/9b which I can't say I agree with.  

My favorite at the moment is the one on Dave's Garden (which narrowly puts me in zone 10 :D):

Daves_Garden.gif.ab741db074b7c2a343cc289

 

I totally agree. I think my area is borderline 10a/10b in actuality and the map is too generous to Brevard otherwise. But as far as my neighborhood is concerned the map is more accurate to reality than the USDA. The best zone maps I have seen are the ones created by palmtalk users on here. I don't remember who was doing them but they are great and he or she is really tuned in to Florida.

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Keith in SoJax

Averages are horticulturally disturbing in eastern North America.  According to these maps I'm in 9a.  That might be right, but if it's about averages, I'm skeptical.  The record lows here are 18-21, depending on the weather station and I'd figure the records would be about 10 degrees lower than the average.  (The neighbor's claim it got to 15 once, but then they say the queen palms any Pygmy dates weren't defoliated...again, call me skeptical that could happen). Also, the mangoes are too big for it to be below 25 very often, as are the royals, foxtails, ficus, delonix and jacarandas.  But it's clear that many were frozen back hard a few years back though the longans were not.  So unless we have a long period of record lows, I'm thinking 9a is a bit pessimistic here.  We've had several warm winters in a row now so maybe I'm being too optimistic.  I'm certainly dreading 9a lows when they return, and lord forbid the fabled 8b lows!  

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IHB1979

JimBean had some great detailed Florida zone maps a couple years ago. 

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Walt

Redrabbit re:

The lakes here run relatively warm due to their relationship to the water table (where wintertime water runs in the mid 70s) and all the solar radiation they get. The lake water isn't being influenced (like Tampa Bay) with tidal movement and currents that can churn up cold bottom water or colder water from the Gulf once we are well into the coldest part of winter.

When we had that 11-day cold spell in December or 2010, the lake eventually did cool down. They cooled down to where high ground areas faired better at the very end of the cold spell. I have a good buddy who lives in Lake June Pointe subdivision. He's a retired engineer who used to work as a supervisor at an instrument calibration lab in Ft. Lauderdale. He has a weather station setup and we have been comparing nighttime winter low temperatures now from about 12 years. For instance, on the morning of February 12, 2006, we had a radiational cooling event. I bottomed out at 27 degrees in the open yard -- he recorded 41 degrees! Also, that same day, I had previously installed a Halsey-Taylor mercury hi-lo thermometer on a vacant lot my parent's owned. This was a lakefront lot in the same subdivision right down the street from my buddy. I had the thermomter places at the base of the trunk of a large tree, about 50 feet from the water. When I checked the thermometer it read 41-42 degrees! Nothing in that subdivision was frost/cold damaged. Yet, at my place almost everything (except under canopy) was fried. Selloums melted almost to the ground. My S. sancona and S. botryophora were killed (not that morning but weeks later).

My buddy said the coldest it got at his place during the December 2010 cold spell was 32 degrees (for only one night). He's lived there for 12 years and that's the coldest low he's ever got.

The below photos are from yards that are neighbors to my buddy. There's many more coconut palms and all kinds of mature royals there. All are bigger now since the below photos were taken two years ago now.

LJPcoconuts_zps32df1b7b.jpg

LJPcoconuts2_zpsb07d3169.jpg

 

 

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Walt

Sebring, Florida, coconuts that do not get any lake influence. They were hurt but survived the December 2010 cold spell.

CoconutpalmsSebringFlorida_zpseac7518a.j

Above: Sebring coconut palms in 2013

https://www.google.com/maps/@27.4709372,-81.4364332,3a,75y,130.75h,83.98t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1suhJEwqj0eekvEV4WfV5uFA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Above: Same coconut palms in 2012

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RedRabbit
9 hours ago, Walt said:

Redrabbit re:

The lakes here run relatively warm due to their relationship to the water table (where wintertime water runs in the mid 70s) and all the solar radiation they get. The lake water isn't being influenced (like Tampa Bay) with tidal movement and currents that can churn up cold bottom water or colder water from the Gulf once we are well into the coldest part of winter.

When we had that 11-day cold spell in December or 2010, the lake eventually did cool down. They cooled down to where high ground areas faired better at the very end of the cold spell. I have a good buddy who lives in Lake June Pointe subdivision. He's a retired engineer who used to work as a supervisor at an instrument calibration lab in Ft. Lauderdale. He has a weather station setup and we have been comparing nighttime winter low temperatures now from about 12 years. For instance, on the morning of February 12, 2006, we had a radiational cooling event. I bottomed out at 27 degrees in the open yard -- he recorded 41 degrees! Also, that same day, I had previously installed a Halsey-Taylor mercury hi-lo thermometer on a vacant lot my parent's owned. This was a lakefront lot in the same subdivision right down the street from my buddy. I had the thermomter places at the base of the trunk of a large tree, about 50 feet from the water. When I checked the thermometer it read 41-42 degrees! Nothing in that subdivision was frost/cold damaged. Yet, at my place almost everything (except under canopy) was fried. Selloums melted almost to the ground. My S. sancona and S. botryophora were killed (not that morning but weeks later).

My buddy said the coldest it got at his place during the December 2010 cold spell was 32 degrees (for only one night). He's lived there for 12 years and that's the coldest low he's ever got.

The below photos are from yards that are neighbors to my buddy. There's many more coconut palms and all kinds of mature royals there. All are bigger now since the below photos were taken two years ago now.

LJPcoconuts_zps32df1b7b.jpg

LJPcoconuts2_zpsb07d3169.jpg

 

 

That's a very interesting effect. I think you and I have a pretty similar climate, but I don't think the lakes around here are making 10b microclimates. They definitely help, but not that much. Maybe the ones here aren't influenced by the water table like down there. 

9 hours ago, Walt said:

Sebring, Florida, coconuts that do not get any lake influence. They were hurt but survived the December 2010 cold spell.

CoconutpalmsSebringFlorida_zpseac7518a.j

Above: Sebring coconut palms in 2013

https://www.google.com/maps/@27.4709372,-81.4364332,3a,75y,130.75h,83.98t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1suhJEwqj0eekvEV4WfV5uFA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Above: Same coconut palms in 2012

Looking at the map they really aren't very far from Lake Jackson so I'm willing to guess they're getting some help from it. 

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎51‎:‎18‎, Walt said:

Yes, that was in January of 2010 (a very cold month) when I protected my coconut palm using heating cables and insulation wraps (flannel sheets). I had to protect it again in December of 2010 (an even colder month, where I set an all-time record low of 20.8 degrees in the open yard). My coconut palm's fronds got fried, but since I protected the meristem and trunk, there was enough starch reserves to start regrowing new spring fronds, then photosynthesis started producing new food for the palm. Fortunately, the past four winters I haven't dropped below 30 degrees (coldest of the four), so I haven't had to use my protection methods.

Several months ago a bunch of coconuts (11 of them on the bunch) fell off. I knew they were immature. I opened one up and sure enough it wasn't ready. Now I'm thinking about plucking one nut off (the matures looking of them) and see how it looks and tastes. I've harvested a few nuts for the past two years. They were very tasty.

I feel as long as I protect my palm's trunk and meristem I can grow it indefinitely. However, it will be harder to protect the trunk and meristem the taller it gets.

Right now my coconut palm is doing fine. I'd say by the end of fall it will look much better as it will be holding several more fronds and look fuller. I took the below photos today:

 Cocos%20nucifera%208-15-16_zpsieketklw.j

Above Photo: My coconut palm as it looks today, August 15, 2016

Coconuts_zpsskmfwdko.jpg

Above Photo: Coconuts with my ZTE cell phone for scale

 

 

 

Looking great, Walt!  I hope mine will look nearly that good and have even half your coconuts.

John

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Mr. Coconut Palm

Walt,

Those coconut palms in Sebring are amazing.  Looking at my Florida map, that is really far north in inland Florida to have such mature fruiting coconut palms that actually rival the ones I saw in Ft. Pierce on the coast on my way down to Coral Springs when I was moving to Florida in March of 2000.  I also noticed on my map a town just north of Sebring called Frostproof.  I wonder if coconut palms can grow to maturity there too and even fruit. 

John

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Mr. Coconut Palm

As far as coconut palms surviving in a 9B Climate, I would say that it is not only possible, but even likely for some of the more cold hardy varieties like the Indian Tall and Mexican Tall, that they can make it in milder 9B climates that have enough daytime heat in the winter to make up for the occasional cold 9B overnight low.  By milder 9B climates, I mean those that typically don't get below 28F or 29F on their coldest morning in the winter, but that have average daytime highs around 70F + and average nighttime lows around 47F to 50F during the coldest month.

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Walt
On ‎8‎/‎18‎/‎2016‎ ‎9‎:‎48‎:‎40‎, RedRabbit said:

That's a very interesting effect. I think you and I have a pretty similar climate, but I don't think the lakes around here are making 10b microclimates. They definitely help, but not that much. Maybe the ones here aren't influenced by the water table like down there. 

Looking at the map they really aren't very far from Lake Jackson so I'm willing to guess they're getting some help from it. 

Yes, those coconut palms are or higher ground (not that high, but the area slopes to the east) and are about 2,500 feet from the S.E. shore of Lake Jackson, which is a 3,300 acre lake.

These old royals survived the infamous December of 1989 Christmas freezes. I know this for a fact as I saw photos of them from May of 1989. They really haven't grown much in all those years. Also, some of the trunks are damaged from the cold.

https://www.google.com/maps/@27.4787282,-81.4418156,3a,75y,64.63h,106.36t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1szjl3qMmN5wSd6TPFS3QAyg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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Walt
1 hour ago, Mr. Coconut Palm said:

Walt,

Those coconut palms in Sebring are amazing.  Looking at my Florida map, that is really far north in inland Florida to have such mature fruiting coconut palms that actually rival the ones I saw in Ft. Pierce on the coast on my way down to Coral Springs when I was moving to Florida in March of 2000.  I also noticed on my map a town just north of Sebring called Frostproof.  I wonder if coconut palms can grow to maturity there too and even fruit. 

John

John, Those coconuts have stood the test of time, at least for 10 years that I've known about them. Although they are inland, it's not the kind of inland one typically thinks of. It's not in some lower outlying area. Sebring is up on the Lake Wales Ridge and at higher elevation. Then there's a partial heat island effect. Then there is the lake effect of Lake Jackson. These palms are on the S.E. end of Lake Jackson (about 2,500 feet away), and they certainly must get some benefit from the lake, at least when the wind comes out of the N.W. (where the coldest air comes from). So the air gets tempered some blowing across the lake.

I have found trunked fruiting coconut palms even in Avon Park. That was maybe 10 years ago. I can't say if they are still there, and I don't go up there very often, if at all. I do drive up to buy palm fertilizer at a place on Rt. 17, just S.E. of Avon Park. Just north of Sebring I saw a coconut sticking up above the roof of a house on the northeast side of Lake Dinner. If you look at the Google photo below and enlarge it, you can see the fronds sticking up above the roof of the house.

This coconut palm was hurt by the December 2010 cold but it survived. This photo is from May 2010. But I drove by this palm earlier this year and the palm looks fantastic.

https://www.google.com/maps/@27.5203902,-81.4531814,3a,75y,143.9h,81.45t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1somlp9fVJ0a1MRUL2-hq00w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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Walt
1 hour ago, Mr. Coconut Palm said:

As far as coconut palms surviving in a 9B Climate, I would say that it is not only possible, but even likely for some of the more cold hardy varieties like the Indian Tall and Mexican Tall, that they can make it in milder 9B climates that have enough daytime heat in the winter to make up for the occasional cold 9B overnight low.  By milder 9B climates, I mean those that typically don't get below 28F or 29F on their coldest morning in the winter, but that have average daytime highs around 70F + and average nighttime lows around 47F to 50F during the coldest month.

I submit that you are mostly correct. I feel that if a 9b area only drops into the upper 20s 1-3 times a winter (at most) and it has good wintertime heating (like I do), a coconut will survive. As one other thing to consider is lag time for the ambient air to pull down the temperature of the palm to that of the air temperature. Even though the ultimate nighttime (early morning while the sun is about to come up) might drop to say 28 degrees, the interior of the palm's trunk and meristem (which is insulated by the frond bases and trunk might only drop to 30 degrees.

I know on my coconut palm, the south side of the trunk can really warm up from direct sunshine during the winter, during the day. All this heat then needs to radiate out into the cooler nighttime air. Since the trunk is always warmer relative to the air, that's why there is lag time for the temperature of the palm to drop to that of the ambient air temperature.

 

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On ‎8‎/‎20‎/‎2016‎ ‎12‎:‎52‎:‎57‎, Walt said:

John, Those coconuts have stood the test of time, at least for 10 years that I've known about them. Although they are inland, it's not the kind of inland one typically thinks of. It's not in some lower outlying area. Sebring is up on the Lake Wales Ridge and at higher elevation. Then there's a partial heat island effect. Then there is the lake effect of Lake Jackson. These palms are on the S.E. end of Lake Jackson (about 2,500 feet away), and they certainly must get some benefit from the lake, at least when the wind comes out of the N.W. (where the coldest air comes from). So the air gets tempered some blowing across the lake.

I have found trunked fruiting coconut palms even in Avon Park. That was maybe 10 years ago. I can't say if they are still there, and I don't go up there very often, if at all. I do drive up to buy palm fertilizer at a place on Rt. 17, just S.E. of Avon Park. Just north of Sebring I saw a coconut sticking up above the roof of a house on the northeast side of Lake Dinner. If you look at the Google photo below and enlarge it, you can see the fronds sticking up above the roof of the house.

This coconut palm was hurt by the December 2010 cold but it survived. This photo is from May 2010. But I drove by this palm earlier this year and the palm looks fantastic.

https://www.google.com/maps/@27.5203902,-81.4531814,3a,75y,143.9h,81.45t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1somlp9fVJ0a1MRUL2-hq00w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Hey Walt,

That is amazing that they can grow that far north and that far inland, but like you said, it must be the elevation and the lakes that make all the difference.  The one in the backyard in the photo is certainly a mature coconut palm.  I wonder if they are Jamaican Talls, since that is the most cold hardy variety in your neck of the woods? 

John

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On ‎8‎/‎20‎/‎2016‎ ‎12‎:‎58‎:‎25‎, Walt said:

I submit that you are mostly correct. I feel that if a 9b area only drops into the upper 20s 1-3 times a winter (at most) and it has good wintertime heating (like I do), a coconut will survive. As one other thing to consider is lag time for the ambient air to pull down the temperature of the palm to that of the air temperature. Even though the ultimate nighttime (early morning while the sun is about to come up) might drop to say 28 degrees, the interior of the palm's trunk and meristem (which is insulated by the frond bases and trunk might only drop to 30 degrees.

I know on my coconut palm, the south side of the trunk can really warm up from direct sunshine during the winter, during the day. All this heat then needs to radiate out into the cooler nighttime air. Since the trunk is always warmer relative to the air, that's why there is lag time for the temperature of the palm to drop to that of the ambient air temperature.

 

Makes sense to me.  I read in an encyclopedia years ago, when I was a boy and just getting into palms, that coconut palms can grow to a certain extent in 9B Climates and that they basically need an annual average temperature of at least 72F.

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Walt
13 minutes ago, Mr. Coconut Palm said:

Hey Walt,

That is amazing that they can grow that far north and that far inland, but like you said, it must be the elevation and the lakes that make all the difference.  The one in the backyard in the photo is certainly a mature coconut palm.  I wonder if they are Jamaican Talls, since that is the most cold hardy variety in your neck of the woods? 

John

John, there's really nothing amazing about it. All of Highlands County is at a latitude equal to Florida coastal locations where coconut palms grow well. Avon Park is slightly farther south than St. Pete (west coast) and Vero Beach (east coast). Lake Placid is slightly farther south than Sarasota (west coast) and Ft. Pierce (east coast), where coconuts grow quite well. Where coconuts grow in Avon Park, Sebring, and Lake Placid, they all have the same thing going for them as the coastal locations: BODIES of WATER!

Large bodies of water have a great heat capacity. The heat in the water radiates into the surrounding air and helps keep the air temperature up on the coldest nights. Just simple physics. But one additional advantage portions of Highlands County has being inland is elevation -- the Lake Wales Ridge. It runs markedly warmer on the ridge on radiational cooling nights. It's the outlying areas where coconut palms won't last long. When folks talk about inland areas being colder, it's the outlying low areas they are referring to.

While the Lake Wales Ridge only averages maybe 100-150 feet above sea level in Highlands County, that is very significant compared to the lower outlying areas in Highlands County down off the ridge. I know for a fact the ridge runs warmer, as I've taken the temperature measurements (also backed up by local private weather stations, and the Lake Placid Elementary School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) weather station that reports on Weather Underground. High ground can run up to eight degrees warmer than low ground (all other influences being equal, i.e., no lake effect, heat island effect, etc.), due to air inversion, where the warm air rises while the cold air drains off to the lowest areas.

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Mr. Coconut Palm
6 hours ago, Walt said:

John, there's really nothing amazing about it. All of Highlands County is at a latitude equal to Florida coastal locations where coconut palms grow well. Avon Park is slightly farther south than St. Pete (west coast) and Vero Beach (east coast). Lake Placid is slightly farther south than Sarasota (west coast) and Ft. Pierce (east coast), where coconuts grow quite well. Where coconuts grow in Avon Park, Sebring, and Lake Placid, they all have the same thing going for them as the coastal locations: BODIES of WATER!

Large bodies of water have a great heat capacity. The heat in the water radiates into the surrounding air and helps keep the air temperature up on the coldest nights. Just simple physics. But one additional advantage portions of Highlands County has being inland is elevation -- the Lake Wales Ridge. It runs markedly warmer on the ridge on radiational cooling nights. It's the outlying areas where coconut palms won't last long. When folks talk about inland areas being colder, it's the outlying low areas they are referring to.

While the Lake Wales Ridge only averages maybe 100-150 feet above sea level in Highlands County, that is very significant compared to the lower outlying areas in Highlands County down off the ridge. I know for a fact the ridge runs warmer, as I've taken the temperature measurements (also backed up by local private weather stations, and the Lake Placid Elementary School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) weather station that reports on Weather Underground. High ground can run up to eight degrees warmer than low ground (all other influences being equal, i.e., no lake effect, heat island effect, etc.), due to air inversion, where the warm air rises while the cold air drains off to the lowest areas.

Hey Walt,

I just meant that it was amazing that coconut palms can grow well that far inland just like they do on the coast in that part of Florida.  I know that bodies of water make all the difference, as that is why I am in a 10A Climate by the skin of my teeth here in Flour Bluff, a small peninsula on the southeast side of Corpus Christi just before you get to the island (Padre Island).  There is a thin veneer of 10A right along the immediate coast, but if you go just 5 miles or so inland, you are back into a 9B Climate.  Here it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to growing coconut palms, as they have been known to grow to maturity and even fruit between bad winters here, but if you go just a few miles inland from here forget it.  Unfortunately, here we don't have the added advantage of significant elevation like your Lake Wales Ridge.  If we had something like that here with our proximity to the water, my place would be a solid 10B Climate and there would be a lot of coconut palms growing here, rather than the couple of dozen that we have now.  There is a pretty high bluff on the southeast side of the downtown area that over looks Corpus Christi Bay.  That bluff is probably at least 50 - 60 ft. above sea level, so I wonder if that would be a good enough microclimate for a more cold hardy variety of coconut palm like the Mexican Tall to make it through our winters here.  Corpus Christi Bay is our deepest local bay with an average depth in the middle of about 13ft. to 14ft. and the Corpus Christi Ship Channel running right through it that is maintained at 45 ft. deep for our deep water port.  I always thought that part of town would be too chilly for a coconut palm to make it through the winter because that part of town is so far from the Gulf, but there are some nice fruiting sea grapes down there right along the Bayfront just north of the big bluff.  The way the cold nighttime air drains down off of ridges and presumably bluffs too, it might be just mild enough for some of the more cold hardy varieties of coconut palms to make it there, especially in some more protected microclimates.  The largest coconut palm we had (until recently- it died) here in Corpus Christi was one about 21ft. tall in overall height with about 10ft. of trunk and a few small nuts on it from time to time was on the south side of a two story house that backed right up to Corpus Christi Bay, but at the opposite end of Ocean Drive closer to the Gulf than where the big bluff is near the downtown.  So who knows, maybe one could make it planted near the top of that bluff.

John

Edited by Mr. Coconut Palm

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Walt
7 hours ago, Mr. Coconut Palm said:

Hey Walt,

I just meant that it was amazing that coconut palms can grow well that far inland just like they do on the coast in that part of Florida.  I know that bodies of water make all the difference, as that is why I am in a 10A Climate by the skin of my teeth here in Flour Bluff, a small peninsula on the southeast side of Corpus Christi just before you get to the island (Padre Island).  There is a thin veneer of 10A right along the immediate coast, but if you go just 5 miles or so inland, you are back into a 9B Climate.  Here it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to growing coconut palms, as they have been known to grow to maturity and even fruit between bad winters here, but if you go just a few miles inland from here forget it.  Unfortunately, here we don't have the added advantage of significant elevation like your Lake Wales Ridge.  If we had something like that here with our proximity to the water, my place would be a solid 10B Climate and there would be a lot of coconut palms growing here, rather than the couple of dozen that we have now.  There is a pretty high bluff on the southeast side of the downtown area that over looks Corpus Christi Bay.  That bluff is probably at least 50 - 60 ft. above sea level, so I wonder if that would be a good enough microclimate for a more cold hardy variety of coconut palm like the Mexican Tall to make it through our winters here.  Corpus Christi Bay is our deepest local bay with an average depth in the middle of about 13ft. to 14ft. and the Corpus Christi Ship Channel running right through it that is maintained at 45 ft. deep for our deep water port.  I always thought that part of town would be too chilly for a coconut palm to make it through the winter because that part of town is so far from the Gulf, but there are some nice fruiting sea grapes down there right along the Bayfront just north of the big bluff.  The way the cold nighttime air drains down off of ridges and presumably bluffs too, it might be just mild enough for some of the more cold hardy varieties of coconut palms to make it there, especially in some more protected microclimates.  The largest coconut palm we had (until recently- it died) here in Corpus Christi was one about 21ft. tall in overall height with about 10ft. of trunk and a few small nuts on it from time to time was on the south side of a two story house that backed right up to Corpus Christi Bay, but at the opposite end of Ocean Drive closer to the Gulf than where the big bluff is near the downtown.  So who knows, maybe one could make it planted near the top of that bluff.

John

John,

I wasn't being critical of you in terms of your amazing statement. Rather, I was just pointing the physics that allow coconut palms to grow deep inland in south central Florida. The center line of Highlands County (and the towns of Avon Park, Sebring, and Lake Placid) are about as deep inland (distance away from the Gulf of Mexico to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east) as you can get. Generally speaking, with regard to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, the ocean/Gulf thermal effect doesn't extend more than 5 miles inland, and that effect declines linearly over that 5 miles, so that it's warmer one mile from the coast than 2 miles, etc.

Conversely, the lakes around here, being much smaller, don't extend their thermal effect very far. The closet lake to me is Lake Clay. On the east side of the lake, IMO, the thermal effect only carries a block, two at most. In terms of feet, maybe 1,000 feet before the thermal effect all runs out. On the west side of the lake the thermal effect runs farther, but I think that is due more to a higher elevation as the land rise up on the Lake Wales Ridge. Also, there's a small lake to the west, Lake Blue.

I first became aware of the thermal lake effect in January of 2001. I experienced my first devastating freeze on January 5, 2001. It was a radiational freeze. That was the morning Archbold Biological Station (8 miles south of the town of Lake Placid) tied their all-time low of 13 degrees! I recorded 22 degrees at my place, and that was at the south side of my house about 15 feet away. I suspect farther out in the open area of my property it was lower than 22 degrees. Anyway, a day or two later I drove up into town. As I was approaching Lake Clay I began to notice that typical zone 10 shrubs (crotons, cordylines, etc.) had less damage the closer I got to the lake, to where when I got within one block of the lake and closer there was little or no damage. I drove up into town and I didn't see any cold/frost damage. At that time there was a fairly large trunked traveler's palm (10a) there -- and it wasn't damaged. Yet, my large white bird of paradise (9b)  was fried and collapsing. Again, this was a radiational freeze, not advective (windy).

As for the bluff over the bay (50-60 feet) I can't really say. Elevation (like when I describe the Lake Wales Ridge) is only benefical for windless (radiational cooling) cold nights, as the air is still and can drain and flow and rise without disruption. One a windy (advective) cold night, the elevation makes much less advantageous difference because the air is mixed up by the wind, so there are no defined thermal layers/stratification of air. If it's mostly windy each night by the bay (I'm just saying), then the elevation shouldn't make much of a difference. Also, regardless of elevation, if it did make a positive difference, the median average temperatures in Corpus Christi is lower than in my area (less overall heat in the winter).

All I can say is, that during a radiational cooling night in the wintertime, a 50-60 feet elevation difference would probably mean a five degree higher temperature than at ground level on the average night. I know it does here as I've checked it many times with my car thermometer and verified it with the Lake Placid Elementary School weather station that reports to Weather Underground.

Check the below link, then see Fig. 2, showing how temperature rise with elevation (to a maximum point of elevation, then starts to drop again). This is the case where I live, were the town of Lake Placid is about 70 feet higher than my place. Makes all the difference in the world on windless cold nights. Up in town is 7-8 degrees warmer than at my place.

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/frostfreeze-protection-for-horticultural-crops

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Mr. Coconut Palm
14 hours ago, Walt said:

John,

I wasn't being critical of you in terms of your amazing statement. Rather, I was just pointing the physics that allow coconut palms to grow deep inland in south central Florida. The center line of Highlands County (and the towns of Avon Park, Sebring, and Lake Placid) are about as deep inland (distance away from the Gulf of Mexico to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east) as you can get. Generally speaking, with regard to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, the ocean/Gulf thermal effect doesn't extend more than 5 miles inland, and that effect declines linearly over that 5 miles, so that it's warmer one mile from the coast than 2 miles, etc.

Conversely, the lakes around here, being much smaller, don't extend their thermal effect very far. The closet lake to me is Lake Clay. On the east side of the lake, IMO, the thermal effect only carries a block, two at most. In terms of feet, maybe 1,000 feet before the thermal effect all runs out. On the west side of the lake the thermal effect runs farther, but I think that is due more to a higher elevation as the land rise up on the Lake Wales Ridge. Also, there's a small lake to the west, Lake Blue.

I first became aware of the thermal lake effect in January of 2001. I experienced my first devastating freeze on January 5, 2001. It was a radiational freeze. That was the morning Archbold Biological Station (8 miles south of the town of Lake Placid) tied their all-time low of 13 degrees! I recorded 22 degrees at my place, and that was at the south side of my house about 15 feet away. I suspect farther out in the open area of my property it was lower than 22 degrees. Anyway, a day or two later I drove up into town. As I was approaching Lake Clay I began to notice that typical zone 10 shrubs (crotons, cordylines, etc.) had less damage the closer I got to the lake, to where when I got within one block of the lake and closer there was little or no damage. I drove up into town and I didn't see any cold/frost damage. At that time there was a fairly large trunked traveler's palm (10a) there -- and it wasn't damaged. Yet, my large white bird of paradise (9b)  was fried and collapsing. Again, this was a radiational freeze, not advective (windy).

As for the bluff over the bay (50-60 feet) I can't really say. Elevation (like when I describe the Lake Wales Ridge) is only benefical for windless (radiational cooling) cold nights, as the air is still and can drain and flow and rise without disruption. One a windy (advective) cold night, the elevation makes much less advantageous difference because the air is mixed up by the wind, so there are no defined thermal layers/stratification of air. If it's mostly windy each night by the bay (I'm just saying), then the elevation shouldn't make much of a difference. Also, regardless of elevation, if it did make a positive difference, the median average temperatures in Corpus Christi is lower than in my area (less overall heat in the winter).

All I can say is, that during a radiational cooling night in the wintertime, a 50-60 feet elevation difference would probably mean a five degree higher temperature than at ground level on the average night. I know it does here as I've checked it many times with my car thermometer and verified it with the Lake Placid Elementary School weather station that reports to Weather Underground.

Check the below link, then see Fig. 2, showing how temperature rise with elevation (to a maximum point of elevation, then starts to drop again). This is the case where I live, were the town of Lake Placid is about 70 feet higher than my place. Makes all the difference in the world on windless cold nights. Up in town is 7-8 degrees warmer than at my place.

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/frostfreeze-protection-for-horticultural-crops

Hey Walt,

You are a wealth of knowledge on these matters.  If I didn't know better, I would say you must be a meteorologist.  Your descriptions of the effects of elevation and proximity to water on radiational cooling nights Is very informative.  You are right about us not having as much heat as you overall in the winter because your highs are about 8F to 10F warmer (depending on proximity to the water here, with those areas closer to the water being cooler during the day and warmer at night, just like there) than our normal highs are here in January, but I suspect our normal overnight lows here in January are pretty close to yours.  At my place, I think my average high/low for Jan. is 65F/50F, and at the airport it is 66F/47F for a few days, but most of the month the average high is 67F at the airport.  Thanks for the link.  I will check it out tomorrow night when I have more time.

John

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Walt
On ‎8‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎12‎:‎24‎:‎17‎, Mr. Coconut Palm said:

Hey Walt,

You are a wealth of knowledge on these matters.  If I didn't know better, I would say you must be a meteorologist.  Your descriptions of the effects of elevation and proximity to water on radiational cooling nights Is very informative.  You are right about us not having as much heat as you overall in the winter because your highs are about 8F to 10F warmer (depending on proximity to the water here, with those areas closer to the water being cooler during the day and warmer at night, just like there) than our normal highs are here in January, but I suspect our normal overnight lows here in January are pretty close to yours.  At my place, I think my average high/low for Jan. is 65F/50F, and at the airport it is 66F/47F for a few days, but most of the month the average high is 67F at the airport.  Thanks for the link.  I will check it out tomorrow night when I have more time.

John

John,  what I know about the physics of freezes and frosts as they relate to large bodies of water and elevation just comes from my own empirical observation and from what I've read in books and online sources. I have no formal academic study in it.

When my wife and I first moved to Florida in 1997 and settled in Highlands County (we lived just S.E of Avon Park at the time), I began to check my window thermometer each winter morning. I also started observing that some areas seemed warmer (nighttime temps) than others based on what I saw growing (like certain palms and tropical shrubs and trees), plus the size of same. It didn't take long to put two and two together to realize the warmer areas were in proximity to lakes and on high ground.

The first time I became distinctly aware of air temperature at night running warmer on high ground was when I first moved to Lake Placid. My wife and I ate dinner one evening at a local restaurant in Lake Placid (high ground). We left the restaurant and was driving home, and as we were descending the long hill down to the subdivision we live in I noticed the car's dash thermometer begin to drop in temperature. This was early in the evening, so the difference in temperature drop was only several degrees, but at least it called my attention to the difference in elevation. The maximum difference in temperature difference between high ground and low ground locations in the same general area takes place near sun rise.

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On ‎8‎/‎25‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎47‎:‎46‎, Walt said:

John,  what I know about the physics of freezes and frosts as they relate to large bodies of water and elevation just comes from my own empirical observation and from what I've read in books and online sources. I have no formal academic study in it.

When my wife and I first moved to Florida in 1997 and settled in Highlands County (we lived just S.E of Avon Park at the time), I began to check my window thermometer each winter morning. I also started observing that some areas seemed warmer (nighttime temps) than others based on what I saw growing (like certain palms and tropical shrubs and trees), plus the size of same. It didn't take long to put two and two together to realize the warmer areas were in proximity to lakes and on high ground.

The first time I became distinctly aware of air temperature at night running warmer on high ground was when I first moved to Lake Placid. My wife and I ate dinner one evening at a local restaurant in Lake Placid (high ground). We left the restaurant and was driving home, and as we were descending the long hill down to the subdivision we live in I noticed the car's dash thermometer begin to drop in temperature. This was early in the evening, so the difference in temperature drop was only several degrees, but at least it called my attention to the difference in elevation. The maximum difference in temperature difference between high ground and low ground locations in the same general area takes place near sun rise.

Hey Walt,

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you.  Thanks for that link.  I finally had a chance to read it.  That is some very helpful information in understanding the different types of frosts and freezes.  I have taken a course in Meteorology in college and have studied weather and climate as a hobby for about 34 or 35 years now, so don't sell your understanding short.  You may actually have a better understanding of weather and  be a better forecaster than a lot of t.v. weathermen.

I wish my place was closer to the water, with the water being on the north or northwest side of my place as opposed to the water being about .6 of a mile to my east (the Laguna Madre that is and the Gulf about 5 miles east of there).  Corpus Christi Bay is about 3.5 to 4 miles north of my place and the south end of Oso Bay (a very small and very shallow bay) is about 2 miles west northwest of my place, so I do have some effect of water proximity as I am in the narrow zone of 10A Climate here in Corpus Christi, but not close enough to the water to fully benefit from the water effect.  I am on the outer edge of the highest ridge here in Flour Bluff, but only about 13ft. above sea level with a gentle slope going down towards the Laguna Madre, which is not enough of an elevation effect to make a lot of difference at my place.  With that said, I unfortunately seem to be in slight cold pocket at my place, because it seems like surrounding areas on a cold winter night are about 3F or 4F warmer.

Speaking of watching your car thermometer, I remember when my wife and I were driving in our car we used to have with a car thermometer, in the spring time a couple of years ago that the temp at a local home improvement store in the middle of town was about 82F, but when we drove over to Ocean Dr. along the south side of Corpus Christi Bay, the temp dropped to about 76F as I recall right along the water.  I would assume the reverse of that would be true on cold winter nights right by the water, which explains why that is the most inland area (from the Gulf) of 10A Climate in Corpus Christi, where the thin 10A Zone goes about 2.5 miles long, but only about .5 a mile wide.  This is certainly a noticeable difference in microclimates as along Ocean Dr. you see a lot more Zone 10A plants like Royal Palms, Foxtail Palms, a nice sized Royal Poinciana, and what used to be a nice sized Banyan tree until it was destroyed when the house it was planted at was torn down.  This is also the area that had the only remaining mature coconut palm that survived the 2011 freeze here in Corpus Christi until it died earlier this year (I think due to severe over trimming).  Now as far as I know, I have the only semi mature coconut palm here.

I have always thought that the coldest temps occur right before sunrise, unless of course we get a slight breeze off the Gulf and Laguna Madre on an otherwise calm cold winter night, which does occasionally happen here.  Under those conditions, we can actually wake up to a morning temp right before daybreak that is 3F to 5F warmer than temps earlier in the night at my place.

John

Edited by Mr. Coconut Palm

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Walt

John, almost invariably the temperature is always the lowest just at sunrise under radiational cooling conditions (95% of my coldest weather), with no wind. This is after the cold front has settled in and high pressure is directly over us. If the front is moving out (and wind direction is from the south) than morning temperatures may be on the rise. Or, sometimes during a radiational cooling night when the sky has been cloud free, a cloud formation can move in and temperatures will rise 3-4 degrees (perhaps more) almost immediately (this could happen at day break or anytime at night). I used to watch my digital thermometer base station at times during the night and note that the temperature was on the rise substantially -- not just some typical variance of a few tenths of a degree, which is common. I would go outside to see what was going on and I would see that clouds had formed, thus reflecting heat back down causing a rise in air temperature.

Yes, during the day a large body of water will have the reverse effect. I see it at times when I watch the weather out of Tampa Bay. In the dead of winter when the Gulf is at its lowest temperature it still benefits the nighttime lows (help keeping them up as the water temperature is still higher than the air temperature). But during the day, and especially if the wind is coming off the Gulf, the coastal temperatures can run markedly cooler than inland daytime temperatures. I've seen on a given day that the temperature difference can be more than 10 degrees from coastal locations to inland locations on the same latitude. And when the Gulf really heats up during the peak of summer, it generally keeps nighttime low temperatures well into the 80s. So, while the Gulf can be beneficial for holding up nighttime temperatures during the winter, the undesirable trade off is that it also holds nighttime temperature up during the summer -- when it is not desired!

40 years ago I had an aunt and uncle who lived right on the Chesapeake Bay water front in Reedville, Virginia (eastern shore of the bay). Many years, due to the bay's thermal effect, they wouldn't get their first frost until well into December. But in the springtime the water was relatively cold and it would hold daytime temperatures down, delaying spring buds, roses, etc., from blooming. You could stand in their front yard (facing the bay) and actually feel the bay pulling heat from you. The cold water of the bay was like a big heat sink, pulling the heat from the warmer air around it.

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On ‎8‎/‎29‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎39‎:‎25‎, Walt said:

John, almost invariably the temperature is always the lowest just at sunrise under radiational cooling conditions (95% of my coldest weather), with no wind. This is after the cold front has settled in and high pressure is directly over us. If the front is moving out (and wind direction is from the south) than morning temperatures may be on the rise. Or, sometimes during a radiational cooling night when the sky has been cloud free, a cloud formation can move in and temperatures will rise 3-4 degrees (perhaps more) almost immediately (this could happen at day break or anytime at night). I used to watch my digital thermometer base station at times during the night and note that the temperature was on the rise substantially -- not just some typical variance of a few tenths of a degree, which is common. I would go outside to see what was going on and I would see that clouds had formed, thus reflecting heat back down causing a rise in air temperature.

Yes, during the day a large body of water will have the reverse effect. I see it at times when I watch the weather out of Tampa Bay. In the dead of winter when the Gulf is at its lowest temperature it still benefits the nighttime lows (help keeping them up as the water temperature is still higher than the air temperature). But during the day, and especially if the wind is coming off the Gulf, the coastal temperatures can run markedly cooler than inland daytime temperatures. I've seen on a given day that the temperature difference can be more than 10 degrees from coastal locations to inland locations on the same latitude. And when the Gulf really heats up during the peak of summer, it generally keeps nighttime low temperatures well into the 80s. So, while the Gulf can be beneficial for holding up nighttime temperatures during the winter, the undesirable trade off is that it also holds nighttime temperature up during the summer -- when it is not desired!

40 years ago I had an aunt and uncle who lived right on the Chesapeake Bay water front in Reedville, Virginia (eastern shore of the bay). Many years, due to the bay's thermal effect, they wouldn't get their first frost until well into December. But in the springtime the water was relatively cold and it would hold daytime temperatures down, delaying spring buds, roses, etc., from blooming. You could stand in their front yard (facing the bay) and actually feel the bay pulling heat from you. The cold water of the bay was like a big heat sink, pulling the heat from the warmer air around it.

Hey Walt,

I just noticed your replied to me.  No notification from Palmtalk.  Anyway, it's the same here.  In the winter we get our worst cold nights about a night or two after the passage of an Arctic front, when the high is directly over this area and winds drop down to nothing.  The temps can really drop like a rock.  Unfortunately, my yard seems to be a cold spot, colder by 3F to 7F colder earlier in the evening, just after sunset than the surrounding area.  This despite the fact that my home is only about .6 of a mile inland from the Laguna Madre, and despite the fact that my street is on a slight ridge, about 13 ft. above sea level.  This makes my coconut palms get exposed to prolonged chilly temps for more hours throughout the night than any others nearby might be exposed to.  In fact, I have noticed my yard early in the evening just an hour or two after sunset being significantly colder than the airport's official reading, and the airport is about 20 + miles inland!  But the interesting thing is that for the overnight low the next morning, my place is usually 3F to 5F warmer than the airport, but about 3F or 4F colder than the naval air station about 2.5 to 3 miles north of me (they are bordered on 3 sides by water though, which explains why they are significantly warmer in the morning than my place).  For some reason, my yard cools off very rapidly early in the evening in the winter, much more so than the airport, but by the next morning, my yard is usually a few degrees warmer, which should be expected considering my proximity to the water.  Actually, I would have expected my yard to be as much as 5F to 7F warmer than the airport, that is why I picked this part of town to move to, but unfortunately, my yard is only a few degrees warmer in the morning in the winter.  Early in the winter, when the water is still relatively warm, I have seen the naval air station as much as 14F warmer than the airport. 

By the way, we have very thick sea fog here at times in late February and March, when the land starts warming up, but the water is still really cool.  In the late spring and early summer, I have seen the temps as much as 16F difference from Port Aransas at the north end of Mustang Island, just north of Padre Island and areas about 30 to 40 miles inland.  For instance on such days, it may only be 70F at Port Aransas, but further inland at the same time, the temp may be 86F.  I know what you mean about the low temps in the 80'sF.  The normal low at the airport is 75F, and probably about 78F at my place, but lately, the airport has had a lot of nights with lows of only 80F to 82F, which means the low at my place has probably been around 84F!  We even set some record high low temps a few weeks ago.  Our Gulf water temps here normally peak out at around 85F or 86F in late July and early August, but over the last few weeks, our Gulf water temp many days has been 88F to 91F!  Coral is very tropical, but at 90F, coral starts dying, because the water is too warm even for the coral!  By the way, we just set the 14th consecutive month worldwide with a new record high average global temp, and yet there are still a lot of Americans who like to deny Global Warming.  As an agricultural scientist and amateur meteorologist and climatologist, I see evidence of it all day every day.

I know what you mean about the reverse side of the water effect.  When I lived in Galveston, a 10A Climate (but a very cool winter time 10A Climate), that was the chilliest springtimes I had ever encountered, as many days with the winds coming off the water back in the late 80's and early '90's, in March, you would need a jacket even in the afternoon, but just 20 to 30 miles inland, you could wear short sleeves a lot of days.  I think it has gotten milder there too though over the last 20 + years, as now you see a lot more truly tropical plants growing there.  When I lived there, I don't even recall seeing many if any queen palms, now they are everywhere, along with some royal palms, and foxtail palms.  But that is like here and in the Rio Grande Valley.  In the '80's, I only recall seeing 1 queen palm in Texas, and that was near the river in the old part of Brownsville at a hotel that my parents and I stayed at.  I never saw any coconut palms, royals, foxtails, etc. in Texas.  Now, there are 40ft. tall in overall height coconut palms in Brownsville, a coconut palm at South Padre Island that has had 93 coconuts on it one year according to homeowner, and many royal palms, foxtails, etc. throughout the Rio Grande Valley.  There is even a mature coconut palm on the northeast side of Edinburg out in the country northeast of McAllen!  Also, there a many big beautiful royal poincianas, ficus, mango trees, etc. in Valley.  We even have a few coconut palms here in Corpus Christi, and some several years ago, that were actually producing coconuts, and we have 40ft. tall royal palms here, royal poincianas, ficus, producing mangoes, etc. here in Corpus Christi, and you couldn't even think of growing any of that here back in the 80's.  Also, back then, the only black mangroves I ever saw in Texas were around the base of the causeway at South Padre Island, and they were only about 6ft. to 8ft. tall maximum.  Now there are probably 100's of thousands of them up and down the Texas Coast, with some probably 6ft. or more tall in Galveston, and there are some along the Rio Grande Delta about 25ft. to 30ft. tall.  Now, we even have red mangroves growing along Lydia Ann Channel across from Port Aransas, and some along the Rio Grande Delta that are about 8ft. to 13ft. tall!  Across the river on the Mexican side of the Delta back in March, I saw a huge Red Mangrove or a cluster of them that had to be 25ft. tall and about 50ft. wide!  Also, just upriver from where I was in the delta, it looked like there was a huge area of 30ft. tall Black Mangroves on the Texas side.  This whole area is definitely much more tropical than it used to be just 30 years ago!

John

Edited by Mr. Coconut Palm

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