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Walt

African oil palm (14 years of growth in zone 9b)

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Walt

The below YouTube video shows my African oil palm (Elaeis quineensis) over a 13 year period in the ground. 

This palm has been to hell and back over those 13 years. I almost lost (and thought I did) this palm to multiple freezes in January of 2010 -- but it survived. When December of 2010 rolled around and I got the earliest freeze ever (December 7th), plus 11 straight days of cold, I was more prepared, and I protected my oil palm to the extent that the meristem and trunk (stem) wasn't cold damaged.

The spread of the crown of my oil palm is larger than it appears. I think it has the greatest crown spread of all of the palm species I'm growing. When my oil palm was a juvenile I once recorded how many fronds it produced in one year's time. I believe I recorded 28 fronds. Kind of reminds me of Phoenix roebellenii, as both species, if they get totally defoliated by frost, they regrow their crowns relatively fast. At least after one season's growth they look respectable again. My one regret in my video is that I don't have photos for every year of its growth. I wish I had photo documented it better, taking a photo from the same spot for every year I've been growing it.

The past four winters have been mild, and my oil palm incurred little or no damage. I'm hoping for a repeat this winter. But if by chance the forecast calls for temperatures to drop much below the high 20s (F), I do plan to protect the developing trunk and meristem. I have too many years investment in this palm to let it be killed by one cold night.

 

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quaman58

 Walt, that was one of the best documentations of growth I’ve ever seen. Seein it get fried so badly & bouncing back again and again is remarkable. Great post on a rarely seen palm! 

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BS Man about Palms

Well done Walt!

 

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dalmatiansoap

Beautiful specimen. 

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gilles06

Good job, bravo :shaka-2:

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kinzyjr

Another masterpiece.  Nice work, Walt.

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Walt

It's gratifying to have a palm not suited for one's climate (a 10b palm in a 9b climate). If it weren't for 1-2 nights on a typical winter, I would have a 10b climate. To put myself out for just 1-2 days in order to enjoy such a palm, it's worth it to me. 

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Merlyn2220

That's really amazing!  I've been looking at the Elaeis Guineensis to fill a big spot, but we see sub-30F pretty consistently on the North side of Orlando.  I've read that they get severe damage around 25-28F but regrow quickly.  Are most of the defoliations you saw in the upper 20s, mid 20s or lower 20s?

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Walt
9 hours ago, Merlyn2220 said:

That's really amazing!  I've been looking at the Elaeis Guineensis to fill a big spot, but we see sub-30F pretty consistently on the North side of Orlando.  I've read that they get severe damage around 25-28F but regrow quickly.  Are most of the defoliations you saw in the upper 20s, mid 20s or lower 20s?

My oil palm, if the foliage sees frost, the foliage will damage, almost regardless of temperature. Last winter on my coldest night my open yard low probably dropped to 28 degrees. 95% of the fronds on my oil palm weren't hurt as they had some higher tree canopy, but some of the tips that extended beyond the high tree canopy were browned. 

Bottom line, this palm is going to get partial to full defoliation if it's planted in the open if there is a frost. The harder the frost (lower the temperature) the worse the defoliation will be.

The trunk and meristem hardiness is much better than foliage hardiness. I think in January of 2010 my oil palm saw low 20s. It almost killed my palm, but it did survive.

The good thing about this species is that even if totally defoliated, the crown comes back respectfully in less than one growing season.

But what I learned with my oil palm is, if one protects the stem/trunk and meristem so that it stays above 32 degrees (even if the fronds are totally defoliated), it will grow new fronds full size without stunting. That was the difference between January of 2010 when I didn't protect the stem/meristem and my low was in the low 20s, and my palm almost died, and new fronds didn't start to emerge until sometime in May, and the first several fronds were very stunted. But December of 2010 I protected the stem/meristem with water bottles and insulation, and even though the fronds were totally defoliated, new fronds started to grow in late February, and they were full size.

 

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Walt
2 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

I'm not certain if it is still there or not, but there was one at Leu Gardens.  There are a bunch of hardiness observations here (including an older video by Walt on page 2 :D ): http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/10292-african-oil-palm-elaeis-guineensis/

I forgot I even posted that early YouTube video of my oil palm. I need to recheck my YouTube channel better. I re watched my earlier video from 2015, and I can see a discernible growth difference from my oil palm then and now. I'm going to start stock piling various size water jugs in the event I need to protect my oil palm this winter. I have too many years of investment and enjoyment in my oil palm now to lose it to a freeze. 

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Stevetoad

Thats a great video Walt! Things  a monster now!

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Merlyn2220

Walt thanks for the additional info!  I read through some of your older posts on your palm, that 3 night 27 - 23.5 - 27 trio was pretty brutally cold for Lake Placid!  My particular spot is in the wide open and exposed to the NW, so it seems like an Elaeis might be a bad choice for my spot.  I'd probably have yearly defoliation if I could keep it alive.

I haven't been to Leu Gardens in a while, but am planning a trip next week.  I'll take pictures if it's still there! 

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Walt
7 minutes ago, Merlyn2220 said:

Walt thanks for the additional info!  I read through some of your older posts on your palm, that 3 night 27 - 23.5 - 27 trio was pretty brutally cold for Lake Placid!  My particular spot is in the wide open and exposed to the NW, so it seems like an Elaeis might be a bad choice for my spot.  I'd probably have yearly defoliation if I could keep it alive.

I haven't been to Leu Gardens in a while, but am planning a trip next week.  I'll take pictures if it's still there! 

Yes, I wouldn't advise you to plant an African oil palm. Lake Placid proper (the town) is far warmer than my place. It generally runs at least 7 degrees warmer up in town (on the ridge) than down at my place, as the cold air drains to my place. There is only one other African oil palm in Highlands County that I know of. It probably has 10 feet of trunk, and is growing close to Lake Jackson in Sebring. The first time I drove by and saw it 15 years ago I thought it was some species of Phoenix. I posted a photo of it here and somebody I.D,ed it for me. I think that's why I bought one.

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Walt

Today I was cutting some of the lowermost Fronds from my African oil palm so I wouldn't have to keep ducking to walk around it. It was then I noticed a seed bunch forming. It must have started since I took my video a couple of weeks ago when I made the above YouTube video. This is the first time I ever noticed a seed bunch. Time will tell now how it will grow, not that it will make much difference to me. I'm just delighted to see my palm finally making seed.

African oil palm fruit.jpg

Oil palm seed 1.jpg

oil palm seed 2.jpg

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PalmTreeDude
1 hour ago, Walt said:

Today I was cutting some of the lowermost Fronds from my African oil palm so I wouldn't have to keep ducking to walk around it. It was then I noticed a seed bunch forming. It must have started since I took my video a couple of weeks ago when I made the above YouTube video. This is the first time I ever noticed a seed bunch. Time will tell now how it will grow, not that it will make much difference to me. I'm just delighted to see my palm finally making seed.

African oil palm fruit.jpg

Oil palm seed 1.jpg

oil palm seed 2.jpg

Are those little green things sticking out part of the seed bracket, or are they germinating seeds? 

Edited by PalmTreeDude

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Walt
21 hours ago, PalmTreeDude said:

Are those little green things sticking out part of the seed bracket, or are they germinating seeds? 

I'm not sure what you mean about little green things. None of the seeds are germinating. They are growing as far as I know. The bunch is still small.

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Insomniac411

Beautiful palm. I fell in love with a similar tree a couple years ago. Believe it or not it was in the Bronx, NY. (Botanical garden) seeing yours made me look back for it. 

20131231_121954.jpg

20131231_121847.jpg

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PalmTreeDude
47 minutes ago, Walt said:

I'm not sure what you mean about little green things. None of the seeds are germinating. They are growing as far as I know. The bunch is still small.

I was talking about these little things, but I believe they are just parts of the flower bract or fronds now that I look at it better. 

Screenshot_20181120-200226_Chrome.jpg

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Walt
1 hour ago, Insomniac411 said:

Beautiful palm. I fell in love with a similar tree a couple years ago. Believe it or not it was in the Bronx, NY. (Botanical garden) seeing yours made me look back for it. 

20131231_121954.jpg

20131231_121847.jpg

Yes, the species from South America.  Nice looking palm.

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Walt
1 hour ago, PalmTreeDude said:

I was talking about these little things, but I believe they are just parts of the flower bract or fronds now that I look at it better. 

Screenshot_20181120-200226_Chrome.jpg

I will look closer at them.

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Walt

This morning I took a closer look at those green shoots. I think they are kind of like a petiole where multiple fruits grow from. I tried Googling online to find a graphic of the entire seed bunch structure, but came up short. I also noticed four more seed bunches forming, plus some of the fruits have gotten larger over the past two days (the fruits are growing at different rates).

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Walt
3 hours ago, Laaz said:

I saw all the photos, but I'm still not sure if many fruits are all on the same stem. But if and when my fruits are fully ripe I will take them apart and examine them.

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Zeeth

Nice! I can't wait for my oil palm to start producing. I like to use palm oil in soap making, but I don't buy it anymore for ethical reasons. It'd be kind of nice to be able to use it again, but from my own tree.

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Walt

Hadn't paid much attention to my African oil palm ately, on from a distance. Noticed today the epicarp of the seed fruit is turning color (ripening).  I forgot to push on the seeds to see if they are getting loose (indication they are ripe). I will do that tomorrow.

Fruit_5-13-19.jpg

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Eric in Orlando

That is awesome, glad to see the palm is still alive! This is one of those oddball palms; tender foliage but very bud hardy.

The big one at Leu Gardens survived the 2009-10 winter but was crushed under a falling tree. I planted 3 others a few years ago and they are growing well. I grew them from seed collected at the FIT campus in Melbourne.

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Walt
7 hours ago, Eric in Orlando said:

That is awesome, glad to see the palm is still alive! This is one of those oddball palms; tender foliage but very bud hardy.

The big one at Leu Gardens survived the 2009-10 winter but was crushed under a falling tree. I planted 3 others a few years ago and they are growing well. I grew them from seed collected at the FIT campus in Melbourne.

I almost lost (at least thought I was going to lose it) my oil palm in January of 2010. It wasn't until May that an extremely stunted frond started to emerge. It took two more fronds to emerge before normal fronds were produced. I vowed I would never let the growth bud see such low temperatures again. When we got the horrid freezes in December of 2010 I protected the bud as shown in the video (above) I posted.  While the fronds were toasted, the growth bud wasn't traumatized, and none of the new fronds were stunted. 

However, the African oil palm growing along Lakeview Drive in Sebring was hurt badly by the December of 2010 freezes. In the below Google street view you can see that the palm still looked ratty in May 2012. The next time I'm up that way I will check to see what it looks like.  https://www.google.com/maps/@27.5069434,-81.4845746,3a,46.3y,101.54h,95.16t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sHi-Nb1OP6XT8uaIos4vRqQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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tropicbreeze

Does anyone know how tall they grow, how long they live? I know in oil palm growing areas they like them shorter for harvest. Apparently they've developed dwarf varieties to make harvest easier. They have a bit of a CIDP appearance. Those can get quite tall and look a bit top heavy.

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bubba

Walt is the new Ingmar Bergman of the Palm Video genre! Outstanding music, discourse and tricks! Great stuff and thank you.

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palmfriend

That is a great documentation, Walt, thank you very much!

All the efforts to keep it alive during your winters and now you get rewarded every time you look at it - great, great work!

Starting to seed is now is like sugar on the cake - if that expression is permitted.

Your thread inspired me to take a look at my one - grown from seed and now about five years old...

02.thumb.jpg.7f5690372f27d99183f45952f5bd015c.jpg

...and from another angle...

01.thumb.jpg.aaf7e772d747ce36388573619b6f95c1.jpg

What a nice palm and the best is, it looks so healthy. I am glad I have one, too... I had five other plants from the same seed delivery, still potted and not really 

taken care of but since all of them kept on growing - obviously a really tough species -  I felt they deserve better, gave myself a push and planted them all out a couple

of days ago.  :)

Walt, please keep the nice work going, 

best regards from Okinawa

Lars

 

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Walt
14 hours ago, palmfriend said:

That is a great documentation, Walt, thank you very much!

All the efforts to keep it alive during your winters and now you get rewarded every time you look at it - great, great work!

Starting to seed is now is like sugar on the cake - if that expression is permitted.

Your thread inspired me to take a look at my one - grown from seed and now about five years old...

02.thumb.jpg.7f5690372f27d99183f45952f5bd015c.jpg

...and from another angle...

01.thumb.jpg.aaf7e772d747ce36388573619b6f95c1.jpg

What a nice palm and the best is, it looks so healthy. I am glad I have one, too... I had five other plants from the same seed delivery, still potted and not really 

taken care of but since all of them kept on growing - obviously a really tough species -  I felt they deserve better, gave myself a push and planted them all out a couple

of days ago.  :)

Walt, please keep the nice work going, 

best regards from Okinawa

Lars

 

Thanks, Lars. Your oil palm looks great. I will update my post later today with a photo of the seed bunch. 

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Walt

The seeds of my African oil palm are loosening up to where I can remove them. To me, it appears birds or squirrels, etc., are chewing the mesocarp off the seeds. I removed some seeds and plan to clean them tomorrow. 

Oil_palm_ripe_seeds_1_(1).jpg

Oil_palm_ripe_seeds_1_(2).jpg

Oil_palm_ripe_seeds_1_(3).jpg

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Really full garden
3 minutes ago, Walt said:

The seeds of my African oil palm are loosening up to where I can remove them. To me, it appears birds or squirrels, etc., are chewing the mesocarp off the seeds. I removed some seeds and plan to clean them tomorrow. 

Oil_palm_ripe_seeds_1_(1).jpg

Oil_palm_ripe_seeds_1_(2).jpg

Oil_palm_ripe_seeds_1_(3).jpg

Here bats love to eat the fruit. They spread the seeds everywhere. I am constantly pulling out the sprouting palms.

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Walt
On 5/21/2019 at 8:46 PM, scottgt said:

Here bats love to eat the fruit. They spread the seeds everywhere. I am constantly pulling out the sprouting palms.

Bats could very well be eating my oil palm's fruit. Just yesterday I was trimming off some dead fronds on one of my bismarckia palms, and a bat flew out from the frond base.

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