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Fertilizing palms in winter 9B/10A

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Bazza

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Merlyn
43 minutes ago, Bazza said:

:lol:

Exactly!!!  The bacterial/fungal action in is pretty dependent on temperature, from what I've seen.  From the 10C-30C range the growth rate is reasonably linear and increasing with temperature.  At 15C (60F) it's about half the growth rate as it is at 30C (86F).  But water-soluble fertilizers don't rely on microbial activity to be absorbed, which is why Nutricote uses 100% of their potassium as soluble potash.  The Nutricote membrane reduces the application rate.  The same goes for poly-coated "timed release" fertilizers in other brands, just with different rates of release. 

After looking at N, P, and K it doesn't appear that there's a scientific reason to not fertilize at 60F.  With most rain in the winter in FL being light sprinkles (not the inch-per-hour summer storms), fertilizers don't wash away in the winter like they do in the summer.  Unless I'm missing something, the only reason to *not* fertilize in the winter in FL is to limit new plant growth when it might freeze.  New fronds on my Hyophobes had almost no damage, while older fronds were more severely burned.  So to fertilize or not seems like an opinion question, rather than a scientific fact.

1325322052_soilmicrobialactivityvstemperature.thumb.jpg.bb1a7aa53721796bcfb5b84f076170c1.jpg

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Mr. Coconut Palm
17 hours ago, Bazza said:

Thanks for the update and good to hear, John!  Please feel free to post again at some point with your observations on any improvements, if possible. There are many variables, as you know, that dictate and influence rates and application programs. I know here in this part of Florida we have very sandy soils so we have to continually apply our products because of how much is lost through leaching. So I tend to increase numbers of applications but reduce quantity per application - essentially "spoon feeding" them.

That sounds like a really nice product you are using - I can almost hear your Coconuts whispering "Thank you, John!" from here! :wub:

Happy New Year and happy gardening!

Baz

 

Thanks, Baz.  I have very sandy soil here too.  I got down to 34F again last night.  I was hoping it wasn't going to get that cold last night, but this winter, we have had a more nights down in the 30'sF than what is normal.  My lowest temp was 33F the other morning.  Usually my place is about 3F or 4F warmer than the airport, which is about 20 miles inland from here, but that morning, my place was only 1F warmer than the airport, even though my place is only 6/10 of mile inland from the Laguna Madre.  By the way, if you go ALL ORGANIC, you can increase the cold hardiness of tropical trees and plants, including palms by as much as 2F to 4F depending on species, which for those of us growing cold sensitive tropicals in marginal climates, can mean a world of difference in what makes it and what doesn't.

John

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Mr. Coconut Palm
10 hours ago, Merlyn said:

I've been wondering about the "conventional wisdom" of not fertilizing in winter.  Most of my palms are still growing, even cold-tender Hyophorbes and Cocos are putting out new spears right now.  My Dwarf Green Malayan has grown 2 feet of spear since the freeze on Dec 26th AM, and will probably open before the end of January.  Others like Butia and Phoenix are opening new spears on a regular basis, even with our cold December.  None of my palms have gone into dormancy, probably because we have a couple of cold days and then a couple of 80F days.  So to me, the argument "the plants are dormant, don't fertilize them" makes no sense. 

Is there some scientific evidence that shows palms don't take up fertilizer in the winter?

Arthur,

I have noticed a significant positive difference in my cold sensitive palms like my Coconut Palms, Bottle Palm, Foxtail, Areca, etc. since I started fertilizing them in November to give them a nutrient boost and strengthen them up going into winter, and the February fertilization to help them more quickly and effectively come out of any wintertime injury they receive.  I honestly think this makes a significant difference for those of us growing cold sensitive palms and any cold sensitive tropicals for that matter in marginal climates for them.  And when you go ALL ORGANIC, like I did 9 years ago, it increases the cold hardiness of tropical trees and plants, including palms, by as much as  2F to 4F depending on species, so for those of us growing them in marginal climates, this can REALLY make a world of difference in what makes it and what doesn't!!!

John

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pj_orlando_z9b
On 1/1/2021 at 7:32 PM, Mr. Coconut Palm said:

PJ,

Your Green Malayan Dwarf looks FANTASTIC!!!  Despite what your handle says here, I honestly think you are definitively in a solid Zone 10A Climate to have a Green Malayan Dwarf that looks that good with a good number of healthy nuts on it.  I live in a Zone 10A Climate (just barely here in Corpus Christi, as this zone is just a thin veneer right along the immediate coastline here), but mine doesn't look nearly as good as yours, probably because I live in a cooler Zone 10A Climate with a normal high/low in January of about 65F/50F, whereas your area averages significantly higher high temps in the 70F degree range this time of year, which I am sure accounts for yours looking so much better.

John

Thanks. All those things you said can be true in milder winters, which may happen 3 out of 5 years. We do get extremes including the 28F in 2018 which almost killed the coconut. Also this year is quite cool so 65/50 is much more common. The palm looks fine but there are definite signs of more browning on the lower fronds than usual, likely lowering the soil temperature. Lots of 70s this week so at least it will get a reprieve. 

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Mr. Coconut Palm
On 1/17/2021 at 10:34 AM, pj_orlando_z9b said:

Thanks. All those things you said can be true in milder winters, which may happen 3 out of 5 years. We do get extremes including the 28F in 2018 which almost killed the coconut. Also this year is quite cool so 65/50 is much more common. The palm looks fine but there are definite signs of more browning on the lower fronds than usual, likely lowering the soil temperature. Lots of 70s this week so at least it will get a reprieve. 

Glad to hear it is doing well even in the cooler weather.  We have had an unusual amount of nighttime lows in the 30'sF, but no freeze at my place.  The lowest I have had is 33F, with two nights at 34F, and some other nighttime lows in the 30'sF.  Daytime highs for the most part, with a few exceptions, haven't been too overly chilly though.  We are coming out of a bad drought last fall (when our normal rainy season is here), so we have had unusually dry air this winter, which has allowed otherwise normal cold fronts to drop our overnight lows lower than what those fronts otherwise would if we had our normal rainfall going into winter.

John

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