By Virginia Palms
Howdy y’all! I’m a palm grower in central Virginia and I’ve got a few ideas to put out there to the palm world.
Firstly, with regard to zonation: I feel as though the usda hardiness zones need to be updated because as I’m sure some of y’all have noticed, there are plants and animals living and thriving in places they didn’t use too. For where I live near Charlottesville, Virginia, we haven’t reached a 7a temperature in the last 10-15 years at least, it’s been reliably 8a or above sometimes 8b or 9a some winters. Because of this, I’ve been able to grow palms and other tropical which have previously been a stranger to my area. For starters, I’ve had a red banana (Ensete maurelii) for 3 winters and it has had no protection and is supposedly a 9a plant. It has been acted like any other musabaju you might see in a cooler climate. Furthermore I have a Sabal palmetto that just breezed through a really nasty winter we had here with ZERO protection and little damage only to the tips. I’ve also had a Washingtonia robusta that I’ve had for 3 winters as well, 2 of those winters I’ve only had to cover it and protect it for only a few nights during February. This past winter was too gnarly for it being that we had a few nights in the upper teens so I did leave it covered, but it did really well overall. I have had for 3 years now a windmill palm which has never seen protection at all and it’s thriving. I’ve had a dozen or so Sabal seedlings in the ground for 4 or 5 years now and I’ve still got 7 of them. All those along with half a dozen sago palms which have survived 4 winters now. That’s just my own yard, in Charlottesville itself I’ve seen a ton of palmage! At the UVA campus there is an enormous southern live oak that’s been there for god knows how long, but it looks to be at least 50 years old. There’s a lot of musabaju bananas as well. One persons home I drive by frequently has a very large pindo palm, tons of sagos, windmills, needle palm, huge Sabal minors, and cannas and other smaller plants. I’ve seen a few windmills around town as well, one huge one and a few smaller ones. But I feel that the climate zones have shifted about to allow for a much wider verity of flora and fauna and I believe that it would be amazing too see some more palms and more exotic palms tried in central Virginia to spice things up a bit. Palmettos now should be better than marginal as should pintos and Mediterraneans. In any case those are my thoughts on palms in the central Virginia region, please let me know if you have any experience with palms in this region and hardiness zone shifts and anything else pertaining to this conversation.
This topic is started to document the cold damage, or hopefully lack thereof, due to the cold spell.
Initially, it looks like most of the damage done locally was due to frost. As you get outside of town, the damage can get pretty severe on the "high-9b/low-10a" palms that have become more common due to the advent of Lethal Bronzing. I'll begin with this photo I captured west of the airport on Medulla Rd. The damage didn't even wait for the warmup to manifest. For my own garden, I'm going to wait until it warms up to do my report. There may be palms that look undamaged now that will show damage after the next three days go over 80F. There may also be palms that appear to have light damage that have more extensive damage than shows at first.
@GoatLockerGuns was kind enough to compile his results from the Texas 2021 freeze in a spreadsheet that was easy to import into the Cold Hardiness Master Data. If you'd like to do this as well, I can assist if necessary.
So far to date, this winter storm is undoubtedly the biggest event so far in Europe this season. Excluding the unseasonably warm spell for western and central Europe back in late December / early January, there hasn't been much else for us to talk about. However, this snowfall event is certainly significant and more than likely record breaking for Greece and Turkey. Northern Syria got hit pretty bad too, as did eastern Europe in general. I certainly don't recall many of these areas getting hit this bad before. It must be the worst snow storm to hit the Med region in several decades, surely?
Starting with Greece, this was Athens on Monday afternoon, before things got real bad there...
However this is Athens tonight, after it snowed all day long... absolutely crazy scenes!
The islands in the Greek Med got hit as well, especially Mykonos...
The honeymoon island of Santorini like you have never seen it before...
Turkey also got hit hard. Check out these scenes in Istanbul! 2-3 foot of snow in places...
This is one of the main highways into Istanbul...
This same weather system has dumped a lot of snow on northern Syria as well. There are literally millions of refugees that are living in tents with blizzards and -5C temps...
Here's the system responsible...
Nicest Aceolorrhaphe wrightii I have noticed, all survived but this is the only one I’ve seen where the existing trunks survived, even a big one on the island died to the ground and started regrowing. There were only ever a handful around to begin with that I’m aware of.
Hey palm pals,
my tiny flame thrower was doing pretty well until recently when it started to pop out a spear tip which looked to be burnt. I thought maybe it was from a pest as I know there are quite a few lurking around my patio. I sprayed the palm and have been staying on to of that but the emerging tip hasn’t grown at all in some weeks. I hope it isn’t dead.
I repotted it after it seemed to have stunted and that’s when it started pushing out this new spear which seemed like a positive sign. Could it be from the cold? It’s middle of winter here and we have had some cold nights… no freezes though but has been close.