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Dimovi

Why Create Mules?

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Dimovi

People are crossing Butia with Syagrus to get a more tropical looking cold hardy palm, but I wonder why go through the effort if one could just grow Parajubaea?

It looks tropical and seems to be able to withstand short periods of temperatures in the high teens.

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Silas_Sancona

Simplest answer?,  You can grow Mules over a wider area compared to Parajubea. Faster than Butia, better looking palm.. in more areas.. than Queens, esp.  here in the Desert where most queens look like ......., or Florida where they can also look like ........  Gives  growers in less than ideal areas that coco-nutty look also, witnout having provide wayy more attention than growing a coconut ( or a Queen) might be worth. 

I'm sure others here can add their thoughts..

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kinzyjr

While on the surface not setting viable seed may not seem like a perk, from a maintenance standpoint it is a huge plus.  The fact that Mule seeds are not fertile makes them a bonus for folks that don't want to pull volunteers.  You could cut the inflorescence off of a queen and get the same effect, but Mules are a lot less maintenance if you can't always be around to do the cutting.

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GottmitAlex
10 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Simplest answer?,  You can grow Mules over a wider area compared to Parajubea. Faster than Butia, better looking palm.. in more areas.. than Queens, esp.  here in the Desert where most queens look like ......., or Florida where they can also look like ........  Gives  growers in less than ideal areas that coco-nutty look also, witnout having provide wayy more attention than growing a coconut ( or a Queen) might be worth. 

I'm sure others here can add their thoughts..

You mentioned butia and queens. But not to put too fine a point on it, are parajubaeas delicate?  

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Silas_Sancona
21 minutes ago, GottmitAlex said:

You mentioned butia and queens. But not to put too fine a point on it, are parajubaeas delicate?  

Considering where they originate, and a general preference for cooler temperate areas, dislike of heat / humidity,  Not sure I'd consider Parajubeas delicate, Perhaps somewhat restricted in where they can be grown and look good. For all the discussions here regarding growing the two, Mules are much more adaptable and thus appeal to more people. 

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GottmitAlex
7 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Considering where they originate, and a general preference for cooler temperate areas, dislike of heat / humidity,  Not sure I'd consider Parajubeas delicate, Perhaps somewhat restricted in where they can be grown and look good. For all the discussions here regarding growing the two, Mules are much more adaptable and thus appeal to more people. 

Thank you

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Stevetoad

Mules can take Heat and humidity better than parajubea. They also look different than each other. Kinda like saying “why grow livistona when you could grow a Washingtonia. Parajubea has that Chewbacca hair trunk and mules have a cleaner trunk. The leaves also look quite different. Hybrids are always fun too due to the variable forms that can happen. Some mules look like skinny Butia while others look more like a none plumosa queen. This is just my take on it. 

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Merlyn2220

I'd love to grow a Parajubaea (or a Jubaea) here, but the oppressive humidity just kills them, apparently.  Personally I like the appearance of the Beccariophoenix Alfredii over Parajubaeas and Mules, and I can grow Alfredii here!  I did buy one Mule this summer, but only because the nursery was closing and they were selling 45G ones for $50.  :D

To me the downside of the Mule is that it's susceptible to Fusarium, while the Butia generally is not. 

Edited by Merlyn2220
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GottmitAlex
4 minutes ago, Merlyn2220 said:

I'd love to grow a Parajubaea (or a Jubaea) here, but the oppressive humidity just kills them, apparently.  Personally I like the appearance of the Beccariophoenix Alfredii over Parajubaeas and Mules, and I can grow Alfredii here!  I did buy one Mule this summer, but only because the nursery was closing and they were selling 45G ones for $50.  :D

To me the downside of the Mule is that it's susceptible to Fusarium, while the Butia generally is not. 

Seems the alfie's trunks are just as wide as CIDP trunks.

(And just as slow to grow).

I did not know that humidity kills parajubaeas. Good to know.

 

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DoomsDave

@Dimovi, welcome!

You ask one of those totally profound questions that make palm nutty brains roll in circles.

Parajubes are wonderful. So beautiful. And so difficult! Dare I say, like one of those lovers who, no matter how hard you try to keep them happy, they just leave you anyway. In their case, by dying. I've had two massive, magnificent P. torallyi torallyi just die, one of them got to be about four FEET across the trunk, and thirty feet tall. (Great, spongy firewood when dried. :badday:)Those Andean highlands ain't nothin' like here in the U.S., too far from the E-quator, but I'm open to other thoughts.

On the other hand . . . Mules, at least Buteagrus ones, are ironclad, stalwart, able to endure all of the horrors life throws at them. Cuss 'em they smile. Forget to water, they grow anyway. Get too much(!!) they still grow anyway. No pain in the a$$ root rot, or fungus diseases, no need to spray them with noxious chemicals. They won't grow outside in Minnesota, but they'll grow outside in mid-Alabama, and a lot of other places you would not think a palm could survive, let alone grow.

That said, try a parajube in Accost'em and if you can get it to grow, I'll make a point of a holy pilgrimage one day. And try a mule, too. And give us pictures! And see my PM.

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GottmitAlex

Well, I must say @Josh-O has a beautiful sunkha by his sidewalk. I saw it two years ago and it was a beaut!  By the tone of this thread, it seems as if it were doomed.  Carlsbad is humidity-heavy....

Come to think about it. I should have taken a picture of it while he showed it to me.  That palm looked like a coconut.

Edited by GottmitAlex

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Merlyn2220

Sunkha is supposedly the only one that tolerates (sorta) the high humidity and consistent high nighttime temps in FL.  I guess I don't recall if it was the humidity or consistent high temps that does them in..

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Jubaea

The only Parajubaea that I have is P. cocoides and it is a wimp when it comes to cold and frost suffering damage not far below freezing.  I had one get whacked two nears in a row in winter and died from bug rot the second.

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DoomsDave

I have a sunkha and it's still alive.

 

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OC2Texaspalmlvr
37 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

I have a sunkha and it's still alive.

 

Picks please , or of your once grand Tora Tora 

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waykoolplantz
4 hours ago, Merlyn2220 said:

To me the downside of the Mule is that it's susceptible to Fusarium, while the Butia generally is not. 

 

To me a mule is plug ugly...proudly showing the worst features of each its parents.

i count my blessings that with my weather I don’t need it to look tropical

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Stevetoad

I got sunkha, tor tor and had a cocoides.  The cocoides grew fast and great until it just died. It was about 15 feet tall and just died. The other 2 grow great. 

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Dimovi

Being in Austin TX, humidity is not something I think about, but I guess it is a bigger problem in Florida. Short cold snaps is what I fear the most.

I just got a Torallyi Torallyi and I hope it will make it here. I like mules but I find it somewhat unsatisfying to not be able to collect seeds. I wonder if one day there would be a mule that would produce viable seed. The greater the genetic divergence the less likely it is to produce a viable offspring, but if it is matter of chance one day we may get one. Maybe selective breeding and pushing is the best way to get varieties adapted to conditions not typical to their native habitats.

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Xenon

Good luck with the Parajubea. Not to be a naysayer...but don't think it will be a longterm thing in TX. Too hot for too long. Many people have tried, but AFAIK there are no Parajubea of any substantial size in TX...

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bubba

Interesting question. Too bad Merrill Wilcox passed.

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necturus

I personally prefer the look of Parajubaea, especially when comparing larger, more mature palms. To me, mules are most attractive when smaller. Mules have way more variability though.

I don't think most Parajubaea sp have a shot in Texas, much less Austin. It's less humid than Houston, but more humid than much of California. Overnight temperatures don't drop nearly as much in the summer, which seems to be what PJs want.  And Austin drops below 20 not infrequently, which can hurt a mule but kill most PJs. 

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AZPalms

I have two Mules. Are they the sexiest palms? Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For me here in Phoenix, it’s a plug and play palm. Takes our full sun and cold, not a water or nutrient hog. I mostly forget about it and it’ll take care of itself. Decent growth rate, tropical looking palm, available locally. In my book when comparing to a Queen, Washingtonia, Med Fan, Pygmy it’s a much more unique, better looking palm. I’ve yet to see one in a public or private planting here in Phoenix. For me, it’s a clear winner especially for non palmy people who often neglect Queens locally. Wish they’d replace them with Mules.

My .02 cents 

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Palm Tree Jim
10 hours ago, Stevetoad said:

I got sunkha, tor tor and had a cocoides.  The cocoides grew fast and great until it just died. It was about 15 feet tall and just died. The other 2 grow great. 

As for me as well, the cocoides died.

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Silas_Sancona
9 hours ago, Dimovi said:

 Maybe selective breeding and pushing is the best way to get varieties adapted to conditions not typical to their native habitats.

It is intreauging that Mules, as well as some other man-created hybrid palms ( Foxy Lady ) tend to be completely sterile, or exhibit sterility to varying degrees.  Though id asume it has been attempted, have wondered if switching the makeup of the cross, ie: using Syagrus as the mother rather than Butia would produce higher chances of viable seed. Interesting thought even if the outcome were the same in the end, imo. Regardless,

Selective breeding utilizing material collected from X extreme of a particular plants geographical or climatilogical range is one way to "find" a middle ground " selection" that will tolerate the widest possible conditions in cultivation. A casual peek into Orchid breeding is one of the best examples that comes to mind.. Take something like Laelia anceps, a species that can take a lot of cold, and heat.. has a pretty wide distribution and has some tolerance of seasonal drought ( to some degree compared w/ other Cattleya-type Orchids)..  Great sp. on it's own, but, perhaps some wish it produced bigger flowers, in different colors, or produced more fragrance, etc.. Cross it with one of the bigger flowered Cattleya sp., which might like heat, but is particularly sensitive to cool/ cold, lower humidity conditions. The resultant offspring can possess the best of both parents ...Bigger flowers, more intense fragrance.. and be temperature tolerant, potentially at least. 

On the other hand, most sp. of another genera of Orchids, Dracula ( yes, that's the real name ) originate in specific areas, growing under a specific set of conditions. There may be 8 or so species but all originate in mountain top cloud forests, prefer cold/ cool growing conditions, dislike much heat, etc.. Because of those limiting factors, a bit more of a challenge to produce a cross that has a wider tolerance of conditions where it could grow well.  In this case, perhaps there are populations of X sp.  that are growing just beyond their comfort zone,  maybe in a somewhat warmer spot at a lower elevation. Obtaining seed or clones from that particular population might yield better results if a goal was to grow a Dracula that could handle a bit more heat.   Many more examples in the plant world,  but use the Orchid example since growers, both professional and amateur, have been crossing them for decades.  Pretty interesting to see how diverse the parentage of a particular cross can be when it's genetic makeup is examined..

 Imagine if we had 60++ years of crossing various Palm sp./ genera under our belt. 

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palmsOrl

Now that i have seen some pictures of flawlessly healthy Butia odorata, I actually think the species can be a genuinely good looking palm in its own right. Better looking than mules and a bit more cold hardy too.  Now, I'm not sure what the secret to a healthy, well grown one is, but I see many that look attractive in the inland FL Panhandle.   Regarding queens, I saw some municipal plantings when i was driving through Winter Springs the other day and realized how relatively few I see in the Orlando area nowadays.  I kind of miss them actually.  Now if they could just start planting royals everywhere, the need would be filled for a large, stately pinnate palm in the area.  I guess there's always Phoenix.

The Sabal palmettos in the FL Panhandle tend to look ugly to me, scrawny with thin trunks and sparse crowns with a less than healthy leaf color.  Not sure why as they sure look good in Savannah and Bald Head Island.

 

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kinzyjr

Drove past this one the other day. 

Mule?

Thought it had the look of a Mule.  If so, not too shabby.  It's obviously larger now since the photo is from 2011.

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Xenon

Queen palms are not too much of a push if you live in central Austin within the heat island, that area is borderline 9a. There is/was (don't know if it survived 2018) at least one queen that is pre-2010 in central Austin and some cold hardy avocados as well. 

You can always hope for mild winters, but TX summer never going to be cold haha 

Edited by Xenon
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DoomsDave
59 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

Drove past this one the other day. 

Mule?

Thought it had the look of a Mule.  If so, not too shabby.  It's obviously larger now since the photo is from 2011.

Yowza, I sure hope not. It's way too close to the house if it is.

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DoomsDave

Mules have their place but it has to be a place with a good bit of both vertical and horizontal space.

Here’s my smaller one, shading part of my liner ranch.

That seed cluster is an easy 18 inches 44 cm long and weighs about 40 pounds.

It was planted about nine years ago from a one gallon mailed to me by a Palm Talker near Tampa.

D6AC64F4-A0D1-41F0-AF17-C9B2DF7F5164.thumb.jpeg.c6f718a818506ecbdd5bd5d0952bdc1c.jpegB5C0CE08-1C90-476B-B1E3-AB14248CF135.thumb.jpeg.5f153b8b7a86892ee9277f23376b6fea.jpeg

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DoomsDave

Parajubaea cocoides is pretty too.

Here’s mine in my front yard. I’d heard the stories of sudden death so I planted some other things as new canopy for when the Parajubaea is removed.  Whenever that is.

7183FD8B-5738-4793-A6F3-F51B11E01D57.thumb.jpeg.41de8954579c45174ae607091dfc2386.jpeg

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DoomsDave

Parajubaea sunkha is IMHO the most reliable of the genus . This was planted back in 2006 or 2007 from strap leafed baby. It’s about fifteen feet tall overall now.

7B843269-A642-4502-A82F-318187FAB442.thumb.jpeg.929fa0c9d1164bac897df0c9e2cea961.jpeg

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DoomsDave

Here is where my beloved late lamented Parajubaea torallyi torallyi was.

It got to be the better part of 25 feet 8 m tall and 4 feet 1.3 m across the base before it got phytoptera wilt and died.

B575884D-7E7A-4C48-A27F-B1C4FBD4706B.thumb.jpeg.4de5099209b6eba35aad7b31b1c356e6.jpeg

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Estlander
2 hours ago, palmsOrl said:

The Sabal palmettos in the FL Panhandle tend to look ugly to me, scrawny with thin trunks and sparse crowns with a less than healthy leaf color.  Not sure why as they sure look good in Savannah and Bald Head Island.

 

Can’t say I agree with that. I think they look the same as they do everywhere else in the State. 
There are so many of them here that you see them in all conditions, good and bad. 

The ones that look the best are the ones that grow wildly or on unkept properties, and the ones that don’t get watered by above ground sprinklers with that nasty smelly sewer water covering their trunks every day, and don’t get pruned to just a few fronds several times a year.

If you just leave them alone they look beautiful. 

Edited by Estlander
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Dimovi
52 minutes ago, Xenon said:

Queen palms are not too much of a push if you live in central Austin within the heat island, that area is borderline 9a. There is/was (don't know if it survived 2018) at least one queen that is pre-2010 in central Austin and some cold hardy avocados as well. 

You can always hope for mild winters, but TX summer never going to be cold haha 

There is still a queen here off of 6th street near the Whole Foods headquarter. It made it through the 2017 winter with temperatures in the high teens, though it is kind of shielded by buildings. It does seem to have some trunk damage. I have seen several queens planted this year in Austin in various places, but I'm skeptical they will do well here. Moon Valley nursery has been pushing their Piru Queens I think that's where they are coming from.

IMG_20190123_183616922.jpg

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Xenon
9 minutes ago, Dimovi said:

There is still a queen here off of 6th street near the Whole Foods headquarter. 

That's the one! Good to see it is alive. I think queen palms are a reasonable and viable push near town; would only need protection on a few of the coldest nights.  Zilker park has an impressive collection of palms. 

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DoomsDave

I really wish tor tors did better. Here's mine not long before it died. Really glorious.

image.png.4f3caea520834497c0b1704d3a62aa85.png

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sonoranfans

mules are popular because people can grow them in 9a without being master growers.  When an experienced palm grower like Dave has issues with a palm, its the palm being difficult, be careful.  Parajubaea sunka may grow in florida, but its not happy and there are no good sized ones I can think of.  Mules are much easier than queens and look FAR better IMO. Butias do not compete to mules as they have such small crowns and will never look even remotely like coconuts.  Mules can have a number of different plant morphologies.  Some have weeping(like a queen) leaves, some are more erect, the latter are the ones that look great, IMO.  Queens get ratty looking as they grow old, even if you can keep them fed(they are the most needy fertilizer and water pigs) they will eventually develop the deficiencies if you let your guard down.   When I was in arizona I doted upon my queens and they looked good for a few years.  But the soil may have made manganese difficult to uptake from the palm fertilizer, and they started going bad in a hurry.  I fixed that but there is always something going  off whack with them.  Here in florida, you can totally abuse a royal and it will look 10x better than a well cared for queen.  Growing queens is like swimming up a river, eventually you get tired and slip up and then they get deficiencies fast.  A mule will take 18 degrees and survive where a queen won't.  No one has yet come up with a replacement for the mule here in 9a florida.  And yes, lots of fruit can be a nuisance, my palms are dropping fruit everywhere.  I do like the fact that beccariophoenix takes so long to seed, less for me to clean up.  I dont need mules because we rarely see below 30 degrees, but for those who want a near bulletproof pinnate palm that will grow quickly and survive 20 degrees its a good choice.  

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DoomsDave

Parajubes are native to a very special habitat, and I think that's behind so much of the problems with them. They're from equatorial mountain regions with little seasonal variation in day length or temperature.

It appears that the places most likely to make at least a temporary happy home for them would be places like SF where @Darold Petty has his grand garden, or maybe Tasmania or parts of New Zealand. It never gets very cold or hot in any of those places, but the palms, at least in SF still get fungus. Maybe it's the day length? Maybe they like thinner air? (Can't imagine how that might matter to a plant, but who knows? Anyone have any thoughts?)

So, hybrids will allow us away from the high Andes to glory in Parajubes without having to suffer the sorrow of watching them suddenly sicken and die.

I hope Patrick Shafer manages to get a cross between tor tor, say, and jubaea, and give us a 1600 pound gorilla. I'd make room for one if I could.

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Parajubaea cannot grow longterm anywhere in texas or east of us.  They can survive winters but the summers kill them. I have one more sunkha left in the ground and it lasted a lot longer than all other species.  The butia x parajubaea do great. 

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