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veeman55

Is there a USDA Frost Free Zone 12 in California?

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veeman55

Seeking a frost free zone 12 in California.

There must be a well protected area hiding on the side of a hill facing south thats protected from cold winds and exposed to fohn type winter winds and sunshine. Not too humid or wet even in winter.

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kinzyjr

There are a few locations that are noted as zone 11, but none that I know of that are zone 12.

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RedRabbit
1 hour ago, kinzyjr said:

There are a few locations that are noted as zone 11, but none that I know of that are zone 12.

Likewise. I’m guessing La Jolla, Coronado, or Avalon are probably the closest but they’re still some form of zone 11.

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GottmitAlex

Malibu is a solid zone 10b.

 

 

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Jimbean

Zone 12 would be fully tropical, and will be much further south in Baja California

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Silas_Sancona
20 minutes ago, Jimbean said:

Zone 12 would be fully tropical, and will be much further south in Baja California

Agree w/Jim.. this zone, -at least currently-, doesn't exist anywhere in U.S. CA. Have to go to the far southern end of Baja Sur ( La Paz, Cabo Pulmo, Cabo San Lucas, ) Even there, i'm somewhat on the fence about referring to the climate as a " Puerto Rico ( or similar )- like zone 12 " since there is often strong influence from the mild.. but still cooler, compared to the Caribbean/Atlantic, Pacific. Todo Santos, while at a " tropical " latitude, is often milder compared to La Paz or Cabo due to where it is located, even though the distance between it and La Paz is relatively short.

Very dry as well, even during their "rainy" season compared to islands in the Caribbean/ zone 12 regions of Mexico and Central America.

While there are zone 11 areas in California, plenty of stuff one could grow to perfection in other zone 11 areas that would often struggle or flat out refuse to grow in CA's version of the same zone.  If, in the future, areas of the state did warm enough to be considered zone 12, you'd likely see similar issues, even if you could still grow more things..

The day dream of a steamy, wet and lushly tropical zone 12, or 13.. in California?.. Maybe in 9-20 Thousand years, at the absolute minimum, if we stay Ice Cap free and the wet tropics expand considerably toward the poles. Imagine  San Diego's current climate would likely be somewhere near Anchorage, Alaska in that case.

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CodyORB

The very tip of Point Loma could potentially get you an 11b-ish microclimate, though it's taken by the submarine base. The WU station on NAS North Island (Coronado) regularly records 43F as the annual low, a solid 11a.

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CodyORB

Adding on to @RedRabbit's suggestion of Avalon, the airport (https://www.wunderground.com/history/monthly/us/ca/avalon/KAVX) there has steady 45F-ish annual lows (borderline 11b), at an elevation of 1600 feet on the east part of the island more exposed to continental temp swings. A sea-level area on the west coast of the island would be in contention for the closest 12 climate in CA (and at 33.5* latitude!)

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bubba

Lowest recorded temperature at the Avalon dock was 32 F. according to Desmond Muirhead

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Ben Weston beach would be as close as you could get I'd imagine.  Still couldnt grow a coconut there though, lol. 

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chinandega81

When the LA basin gets widespread 30s on cold mornings I notice Avalon is usually similar or colder. I would imagine a south facing slope of the urbanized foothills of the Hollywood Hills would be the warmest spot in Socal regarding coldest low temps. With that said, people in Mid City have frost ocassionaly on their cars and they are in the heart of the urban heat island. Downtown LA is probably the absolute warmest location taking everything into consideration. I never have seen frost there and it is usually 2 or 3 degrees earmer than adjacent urban neighborhoods on cold mornings.

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mnorell
On 9/29/2020 at 5:26 AM, bubba said:

Lowest recorded temperature at the Avalon dock was 32 F. according to Desmond Muirhead

Bubba, that is amazing to me that you have that book, it is not very easily found, though I have had it in my library for decades and it is very level-headed! Though it sounds like Muirhead was quite a character...he designed a lot of the country clubs/golf-courses here in Rancho Mirage and neighboring Palm Springs and he talks a lot about California's cold weather, including the rash of very bad freezes that weirdly hit Palm Springs repeatedly for several years in the early '60s. And that 32-degree Avalon statistic is also quoted in the out-of-print book Weather of Southern California, which is a nice, compact handbook to understand California's weird and diverse weather patterns, if you can get your hands on a copy.

The problem in California is finding a place with a north-facing shoreline where the occasional Alaskan storm and import of really cold arctic air pouring out of the Great Basin every dozen years or so can be avoided. Even then the ocean is just so chilly (average is about 56F in January) that it is very hard to find any sort of consistent warmth such as you can find in favored areas of Florida. Only Avalon and the Pebble Beach-Pacific Grove areas really fill the bill for such a situation, with parts of La Jolla and perhaps Point Loma getting some of that effect. Avalon has an average of about 53/64 in its coldest December stretch, which is one of the few places (even the warmest microclimates of the L.A. UHI can't do it) that can claim an average low of 50+ in the winter months, in all of California. Many people who haven't lived in California, or who are newcomers or brief visitors, don't realize that the combination of the high latitudes of the state, the varied topography, as well as the ubiquitously frigid Alaskan current, combine to make a warm-temperate or cool-temperate (as opposed to typically "subtropical") climate throughout the state, even if a "mostly frost-free" designation can be assigned to many locations therein.

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GottmitAlex

What a predicament... 

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bubba

Michael,

I found this “gem” at a flea market sale somewhere between mile marker 80 and 90 in the Keys. I later spent time with him after he spoke at a golf course he primarily designed in our area (but did not receive appropriate credit). Although he was older, there is no doubt that he was an out of the ordinary and eclectic character of great intelligence with a myriad of interests.

I brought his book to our course and had him autograph it. I think about the amazement he would express regarding the La Quinta, Corona, Tijuana and numerous other Cocos nucifera specimens growing at this time in California! Tip of the hat!

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mnorell

Bubba, that's amazing to me that you got to meet him. He sounds like a very interesting guy. He certainly wrote a very good, concise book on palms, with some wonderful echt-1960 line-drawings.

And I agree he would have been more than surprised to know that several coconuts have been successfully grown in the desert and a few other choice microclimates in SoCal. But even then, as pertains to this thread, no zone 12s to be found!

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climate change virginia

maybe it only exist in micro climates

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climate change virginia

try different cocos varieties I think panama tall is a little bit more hardy

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Silas_Sancona
7 minutes ago, climate change virginia said:

try different cocos varieties I think panama tall is a little bit more hardy

Don't think even Panama Tall would cut it out in CA ( or here in AZ. Heat would likely kill all varieties though, imo ) -as far as i'm aware.. 

Those that appear to have survived the longest, in CA. specifically,  are thought to be a Hawaiian var. -But, until i see DNA proof of which type they are, that is speculative.

Alex, @GottmitAlex is the only person i'm aware of, who has succeeded -so far- with various coconut types on the west coast, just south of San Diego specifically.

  Two other possibilities that might stand a chance out there, if they can be acquired, would be the Mex. var(s)  @Mr. Coconut Palm has referenced in the past, which appear to handle -some- cold better than many, or,  the -even harder to find-, Indian type, specifically sourced from the coldest possible area of it's range. 

Otherwise, the most optimal choice is to plant Majesty Palms ( Ravenea rivularis, faster choice ) or Beccariophoenix, slow 'n steady choice ..for that closest- to- a- Coconut look you can get, outside the "ideal" coconut zone, instead.

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climate change virginia
21 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Don't think even Panama Tall would cut it out in CA ( or here in AZ. Heat would likely kill all varieties though, imo ) -as far as i'm aware.. 

Those that appear to have survived the longest, in CA. specifically,  are thought to be a Hawaiian var. -But, until i see DNA proof of which type they are, that is speculative.

Alex, @GottmitAlex is the only person i'm aware of, who has succeeded -so far- with various coconut types on the west coast, just south of San Diego specifically.

  Two other possibilities that might stand a chance out there, if they can be acquired, would be the Mex. var(s)  @Mr. Coconut Palm has referenced in the past, which appear to handle -some- cold better than many, or,  the -even harder to find-, Indian type, specifically sourced from the coldest possible area of it's range. 

Otherwise, the most optimal choice is to plant Majesty Palms ( Ravenea rivularis, faster choice ) or Beccariophoenix, slow 'n steady choice ..for that closest- to- a- Coconut look you can get, outside the "ideal" coconut zone, instead.

oh ok 

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Xenon
1 hour ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Two other possibilities that might stand a chance out there, if they can be acquired, would be the Mex. var(s)  @Mr. Coconut Palm has referenced in the past, which appear to handle -some- cold better than many, or,  the -even harder to find-, Indian type, specifically sourced from the coldest possible area of it's range. 

I'm very skeptical of any claims of "cold hardy" coconuts. The Mexican Talls in South Texas were just as nuked as the dwarf Malayans after a major freeze event and there was death and survival across the board regardless of variety.  Northern India isn't really that cold either and averages January highs in the 70s like Central Florida while also being more protected from really cold continental cold waves. I think a lot of the "cold hardy" claims for some of the tall varieties is due to greater mass (more temperature buffer), greater height (warmer temp at the crown height due to temp inversion, convection, etc), greater vigor overall,  etc rather than any genetic predisposition for cold hardiness. Even with selective breeding, you can only select for what is already present (barring random mutation) and I'm not convinced there is wide genetic variation in coconut cold hardiness.  Coconuts growing at the coldest areas of their range are more like a representation of the limits of coconut climatic tolerances rather than natural or human selection for cold hardy coconuts imo. 

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Silas_Sancona
20 minutes ago, Xenon said:

I'm very skeptical of any claims of "cold hardy" coconuts. The Mexican Talls in South Texas were just as nuked as the dwarf Malayans after a major freeze event and there was death and survival across the board regardless of variety.  Northern India isn't really that cold either and averages January highs in the 70s like Central Florida while also being more protected from really cold continental cold waves. I think a lot of the "cold hardy" claims for some of the tall varieties is due to greater mass (more temperature buffer), greater height (warmer temp at the crown height due to temp inversion, convection, etc), greater vigor overall,  etc rather than any genetic predisposition for cold hardiness. Even with selective breeding, you can only select for what is already present (barring random mutation) and I'm not convinced there is wide genetic variation in coconut cold hardiness.  Coconuts growing at the coldest areas of their range are more like a representation of the limits of coconut climatic tolerances rather than natural or human selection for cold hardy coconuts imo. 

Curiously skeptical myself and agree that as far as the cold/cool tolerant/ hardier, etc whatever aspect is concerned,  agree there is no variety that could stand prolonged cold for long ( forget survival in any areas that dip regularly below 30, more than occasionally, and rarely is at least above 65-70  thru most of the winter ).. On the other hand, you have some examples  -admittedly very few-  that seem to have managed to survive in the most ideal spots out there ( wish we had current updates from the La Quinta specimen(s).. those still there, -if they're still there- Let alone if the largest has ever successfully fruited yet, if at all )

.. Add to that the likelihood the climate in those ideal spots, maybe others currently sitting on the cusp of possibility, are likely to keep inching up in their potential to support decent growth on them for longer periods. Not something you'll see planted extensively obviously, but maybe a slightly better than occasional chance of seeing one peeking up above someones backyard. Likely not in my yard though, lol..

Of all the potential "sweet spots" there,  the area right around the Salton Sea might be the most favorable -theoretically- but lacks water, is < bleepin' > sizzling hot. Coastal San Diego, and a few other choice locales in Orange/ Los Angeles counties would be the next best spots.

As far as selecting for" ..hardiness potential ", random mutations can happen in plants a lot more than we might assume..  Genes can be inserted as well, though some people would likely throw a fit about that.. None of that will happen in mine or yours' lifetime however..  Hence, if you love 'em, move where they'll grow.. and look good.  Otherwise, choose something else.

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Xenon
28 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Curiously skeptical myself and agree that as far as the cold/cool tolerant/ hardier, etc whatever aspect is concerned,  agree there is no variety that could stand prolonged cold for long ( forget survival in any areas that dip regularly below 30, more than occasionally, and rarely is at least above 65-70  thru most of the winter ).. On the other hand, you have some examples  -admittedly very few-  that seem to have managed to survive in the most ideal spots out there ( wish we had current updates from the La Quinta specimen(s).. those still there, -if they're still there- Let alone if the largest has ever successfully fruited yet, if at all )

.. Add to that the likelihood the climate in those ideal spots, maybe others currently sitting on the cusp of possibility, are likely to keep inching up in their potential to support decent growth on them for longer periods. Not something you'll see planted extensively obviously, but maybe a slightly better than occasional chance of seeing one peeking up above someones backyard. Likely not in my yard though, lol..

Of all the potential "sweet spots" there,  the area right around the Salton Sea might be the most favorable -theoretically- but lacks water, is < bleepin' > sizzling hot. Coastal San Diego, and a few other choice locales in Orange/ Los Angeles counties would be the next best spots.

As far as selecting for" ..hardiness potential ", random mutations can happen in plants a lot more than we might assume..  Genes can be inserted as well, though some people would likely throw a fit about that.. None of that will happen in mine or yours' lifetime however..  Hence, if you love 'em, move where they'll grow.. and look good.  Otherwise, choose something else.

I think there has already been photographic evidence of decent looking and even fruiting coconuts in sweet spots in the Coachella Valley. Unfortunately, seems like the holy grail specimen got the axe a while ago.  Some parts of the area average almost a 60F mean temperature (more or less the magic coconut number) in winter so it doesn't seem so far fetched for unprotected coconuts vs the more marine influenced areas. The commercial mango groves in the area are also a pretty good indicator of overall heat accumulation. I don't think extreme heat is nearly as big a limiting factor as cold, coconuts grow in Dubai, Oman,  etc provided there's irrigation. 

Edited by Xenon

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GottmitAlex
On 12/11/2020 at 9:39 AM, Silas_Sancona said:

Don't think even Panama Tall would cut it out in CA ( or here in AZ. Heat would likely kill all varieties though, imo ) -as far as i'm aware.. 

Those that appear to have survived the longest, in CA. specifically,  are thought to be a Hawaiian var. -But, until i see DNA proof of which type they are, that is speculative.

Alex, @GottmitAlex is the only person i'm aware of, who has succeeded -so far- with various coconut types on the west coast, just south of San Diego specifically.
 

Let's not get over ourselves. We're trying. -so far- 

Thank you @Silas_Sancona

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Xerarch

I'm a little late to the party here but zone 12 sounds like an awful tall order for anywhere in California, there are zone 11 areas and areas that have never recorded a frost like Avalon etc. and that's about as good as you'll get.  My question though is what is thought to be gained by having a zone 12? because even if you had zone 12, that doesn't solve the problem of cool high temperatures during winter months which eliminate a lot of true tropicals regardless of the low temps.  The average high in Avalon in January is only like 64 degrees and it stays like that for months, heck, the average high at the height of summer peaks out briefly at like 74.  So forget heat-loving tropicals even if the temp never got below 50.  That's just my two Satoshi's.

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AnTonY

I'd imagine that a zone 12 in California might be a bit similar to northerly areas in western South Africa. Namely, the South African province of North Cape, at Port Nolloth. 

How long do the overall cool temperatures last? As along as highs are within the 70s, growing potential might be somewhat similar to Norfolk Island - albeit with lesser rainfall.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norfolk_Island#Climate

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utile
On 9/14/2020 at 4:05 PM, veeman55 said:

Seeking a frost free zone 12 in California.

There must be a well protected area hiding on the side of a hill facing south thats protected from cold winds and exposed to fohn type winter winds and sunshine. Not too humid or wet even in winter.

My ranch is located in the hills to the west of the Sacramento Valley.  The elevation is from 450-800 feet  above sea level.  The hills block me from the predominant westerly winds.  There are places on the property that have never had frost in the 21 years that I have lived here (95688).  The lowest recorded temperature by me was 25 degrees for about 6 hours,  The last three years I have not had frost anywhere on my property.  I will have Cannas blooming in January.  One year I made it all the way to March and on the 12th I had 29 degrees!  I have bananas and Ti plants undamaged by the cold - the North wind is another story.  My Bismark Palm is in one of those areas that you describe.  I have small Mango, Cherimoya and tropical guave in another area well protected.  We will see what the future holds.  My average annual rain fall is 24 inches.  In 2019 I had only 19 inches, 2018 45 inches 2017 27 inches and 2016 57 inches.  This year only 5 inches so far.  Crazy Mother Nature!  Dale

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Silas_Sancona

Going w/ this map,  Closest zone 12a, to California?  ..for now ( or X number of decades ahead ) at least,.. Small section of coastline just south of Puerto San Carlos ( Pacific side ) in Baja Sur ...And around Cabo.  

Interestingly, there are patches of 11b closer to the state/ region along either side of Baja Norte.  11a is knocking on our door.. Or has expanded it's reach, -more widely- into CA. by now.

Interesting how 12B is further north on the west side of Mexico, vs. over on the east coast of the continent also.  Gotta love those mountains..

https://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-mexico-plant-hardiness-zone-map.php

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veeman55

I heard the Malibu hills might be a zone 12 or around Santa Barbara

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