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San Antonio River Walk after 2021 freeze

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NBTX11
10 hours ago, Collectorpalms said:

The Alamo grounds Canary.

1AE8CDAC-6FA1-47BE-9145-22878F884CAA.jpeg

When was this Canary planted?

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mulungu

Awesome photos, y'all!

That's another interesting space.  The park in the south of the plaza with the Washies came first, through the efforts of Alderman Anton Wulff, an immigrant from Hamburg who was very interested in plant cultivation and beautifying the city. 

During the period 1888-1890,  Alamo Plaza, which had been a mud-prone mess with a public meat market in the middle of it, was paved with mesquite blocks and then that park created in front of the Menger Hotel.  Wulff planted several of the plaza parks in the city at his own expense, including that one.  The park started off with some lush shade trees (especially chinaberry trees), and later on the Washingtonia were added, as well as cacti, yuccas, and other neat stuff.

The other little strip park with the Phoenix palms, at the north of the plaza in front of the long barracks, was created in March, 1915:  

587412556_alamoplazawithpostofficelookingnorthwithphoenixpalms1915pubdomportaltexashistory(2).thumb.jpg.ece5e7fd1cc0b6f90a8ff408026a1c7e.jpg

 

1507735327_Phoenixpalmsalamoplazacirca1935UTSAspecialcollectionsgeneralphotographcollection.jpg.49bee99d7eb5cf80ac7e24cf02c0389a.jpg

The park was fairly short-lived, as was mentioned, and gone from photos by 1931.   Phoenix palms were all the rage in the 1910's in San Antonio and warm climates elsewhere.  They had come to be associated in the Western world with wealth, elegance, and leisure (especially P.  canariensis) after the latter was introduced to Viscount Vigier's gardens on the French Riviera in the 1860s.  There were later introductions to California, Florida, Tresco Abbey, and elsewhere.  Scott Zona has an interesting 2008 article about the horticultural history of P. canariensis in the journal "Garden History," but it doesn't mention Texas.

As part of the City Beautiful movement in the 1910's, and in a bid to accentuate the tourist appeal of San Antonio's generally mild climate, the Real Estate Board started offering to ship in rail cars of palms at wholesale prices for individuals and neighborhood associations.  The two most popular were Washingtonia filiferae and Phoenix canariensis.

P.  dactylifera was planted next to San Antonio City Hall in 1897.  Horticulturalist Harvey C. Stiles, who was mentioned before in that article about the Main Plaza Sabal, was a proponent of date palms in San Antonio and points south.  Before moving to Texas, he was the superintendent of parks for the city of San Diego, including City Park which eventually became Balboa Park.  He knew an awful lot about many different plants and brought with him a wealth of knowledge about palms.  He generated a lot of buzz in the press when he brought some male flowers from the Rio Grande Valley and pollinated the palm next to San Antonio City Hall for the first time in 1915. This produced many pounds of dates that were shared with city officials and the press.

That little section where the date palm park was later located, in front of the ornate Federal/Post Office building, packs a bit of history.  The connection to the events of the Alamo is evident.  But it was actually also the exact area where the renowned "chili queens" used to set up their tables around the turn of the century to serve up chili con carne and tamales to locals and tourists. (They originally started in Military Plaza, but in later years were driven from plaza to plaza, including Alamo Plaza, until eventually forced to close down by health regulations).

 

Chili stand tables, 1909

1496080983_chilistands1909.jpg.cc62f6a93f3c8327b3a63cf16a6bca71.jpg

When the date palm park was removed, that is the space where they installed the Alamo Cenotaph, by resident sculptor Pompeo Coppini. 

1248740744_cenotaph15percent.jpg.793efe9d1bbd88144ed9434d0181f825.jpg

It was sour grapes after losing the bid to design the monument to be located there to his rival that made Gutzom Borglum, who was working on his designs for Mount Rushmore just north of downtown San Antonio, leave the city in a huff.  And as many will remember, the space where the Cenotaph is located is also where Ozzy Osbourne, clad in his future wife's dress and drunk as a skunk, peed on the memorial, leading to his arrest and banning from playing concerts in the city until he made amends.  So that space packs some history.  :winkie:

I am glad that they still have palms on the Alamo chapel grounds.  Nearly all the palms seemed to have been removed from elsewhere in the plaza. I don't know how palms will fit into the new redesign plans for Alamo Plaza, if at all.

Edited by mulungu
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Juan Guerra
On 3/12/2021 at 12:46 PM, richtrav said:

It’s Peltophorum dubium, according to a source I trust. This is the tree in flower

peltophorum sa river.jpg

I always thought it was a Caesalpinia mexicana. I think we lost the regular bird of paradise  (C.  pulcherrima ) as well.

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mulungu
On 3/23/2021 at 3:17 PM, Juan Guerra said:

I always thought it was a Caesalpinia mexicana. I think we lost the regular bird of paradise  (C.  pulcherrima ) as well.

Oh my goodness, how did I miss this?!  Mr. Guerra, your name rang a bell from an article I read a while back on the Ben Milam Cypress.  What an honor that you would drop by PalmTalk to comment on this River Walk thread.   First off, thanks for all that you and the good folks at City Center Development and Operations do to preserve this jewel. We as the public are huge beneficiaries of your work in maintaining and enhancing this cultural and horticultural legacy... much appreciated.

That's a pity to hear about the Caesalpinias declining.  Have there been any hopeful signs with the continued warm spring temps?  I was trying the pink form of C. pulcherrima here in the north of the city;  they looked OK right after the freeze, but then died back to the ground and haven't come back up.  If they were lost on the River Walk then there's pretty much no chance mine will come good.

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Palmfarmer

really that Bismarckia survived? if so they are like a 8b palm

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Collectorpalms
36 minutes ago, Palmfarmer said:

really that Bismarckia survived? if so they are like a 8b palm

There were two, neither were in the warmest areas of the Riverwalk. Neither too large. I haven’t been there, but I wouldn’t imagine they are alive. I didn’t see anyone post pictures of a live one, unless I missed it???

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Palmfarmer
1 hour ago, Collectorpalms said:

There were two, neither were in the warmest areas of the Riverwalk. Neither too large. I haven’t been there, but I wouldn’t imagine they are alive. I didn’t see anyone post pictures of a live one, unless I missed it???

The Color fooled me

 

20210307_080225.jpg

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NBTX11

We need another report of how Riverwalk palms are doing.

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PricklyPearSATC
On 3/20/2021 at 2:27 PM, mulungu said:

Awesome photos, y'all!

That's another interesting space.  The park in the south of the plaza with the Washies came first, through the efforts of Alderman Anton Wulff, an immigrant from Hamburg who was very interested in plant cultivation and beautifying the city. 

During the period 1888-1890,  Alamo Plaza, which had been a mud-prone mess with a public meat market in the middle of it, was paved with mesquite blocks and then that park created in front of the Menger Hotel.  Wulff planted several of the plaza parks in the city at his own expense, including that one.  The park started off with some lush shade trees (especially chinaberry trees), and later on the Washingtonia were added, as well as cacti, yuccas, and other neat stuff.

The other little strip park with the Phoenix palms, at the north of the plaza in front of the long barracks, was created in March, 1915:  

587412556_alamoplazawithpostofficelookingnorthwithphoenixpalms1915pubdomportaltexashistory(2).thumb.jpg.ece5e7fd1cc0b6f90a8ff408026a1c7e.jpg

 

1507735327_Phoenixpalmsalamoplazacirca1935UTSAspecialcollectionsgeneralphotographcollection.jpg.49bee99d7eb5cf80ac7e24cf02c0389a.jpg

The park was fairly short-lived, as was mentioned, and gone from photos by 1931.   Phoenix palms were all the rage in the 1910's in San Antonio and warm climates elsewhere.  They had come to be associated in the Western world with wealth, elegance, and leisure (especially P.  canariensis) after the latter was introduced to Viscount Vigier's gardens on the French Riviera in the 1860s.  There were later introductions to California, Florida, Tresco Abbey, and elsewhere.  Scott Zona has an interesting 2008 article about the horticultural history of P. canariensis in the journal "Garden History," but it doesn't mention Texas.

As part of the City Beautiful movement in the 1910's, and in a bid to accentuate the tourist appeal of San Antonio's generally mild climate, the Real Estate Board started offering to ship in rail cars of palms at wholesale prices for individuals and neighborhood associations.  The two most popular were Washingtonia filiferae and Phoenix canariensis.

P.  dactylifera was planted next to San Antonio City Hall in 1897.  Horticulturalist Harvey C. Stiles, who was mentioned before in that article about the Main Plaza Sabal, was a proponent of date palms in San Antonio and points south.  Before moving to Texas, he was the superintendent of parks for the city of San Diego, including City Park which eventually became Balboa Park.  He knew an awful lot about many different plants and brought with him a wealth of knowledge about palms.  He generated a lot of buzz in the press when he brought some male flowers from the Rio Grande Valley and pollinated the palm next to San Antonio City Hall for the first time in 1915. This produced many pounds of dates that were shared with city officials and the press.

That little section where the date palm park was later located, in front of the ornate Federal/Post Office building, packs a bit of history.  The connection to the events of the Alamo is evident.  But it was actually also the exact area where the renowned "chili queens" used to set up their tables around the turn of the century to serve up chili con carne and tamales to locals and tourists. (They originally started in Military Plaza, but in later years were driven from plaza to plaza, including Alamo Plaza, until eventually forced to close down by health regulations).

 

Chili stand tables, 1909

1496080983_chilistands1909.jpg.cc62f6a93f3c8327b3a63cf16a6bca71.jpg

When the date palm park was removed, that is the space where they installed the Alamo Cenotaph, by resident sculptor Pompeo Coppini. 

1248740744_cenotaph15percent.jpg.793efe9d1bbd88144ed9434d0181f825.jpg

It was sour grapes after losing the bid to design the monument to be located there to his rival that made Gutzom Borglum, who was working on his designs for Mount Rushmore just north of downtown San Antonio, leave the city in a huff.  And as many will remember, the space where the Cenotaph is located is also where Ozzy Osbourne, clad in his future wife's dress and drunk as a skunk, peed on the memorial, leading to his arrest and banning from playing concerts in the city until he made amends.  So that space packs some history.  :winkie:

I am glad that they still have palms on the Alamo chapel grounds.  Nearly all the palms seemed to have been removed from elsewhere in the plaza. I don't know how palms will fit into the new redesign plans for Alamo Plaza, if at all.

Thank you so much for this.  I greatly appreciate your vast knowledge of San Antonio history!

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mulungu
15 hours ago, PricklyPearSATC said:

Thank you so much for this.  I greatly appreciate your vast knowledge of San Antonio history!

My pleasure-- very generous of you to dignify the little tidbits I've gleaned in those terms. Wish I knew more... just a drop in the bucket of such an historic and fascinating city.

 

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necturus
3 hours ago, Mr.SamuraiSword said:

Jesus, after seeing all these photos, I wonder how these Old Saguaro's turned out at the Mission San Jose.  

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.3617724,-98.4791219,3a,25.2y,188.31h,88.53t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPq927jwVYGikHjrNS9ldng!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Those aren't Saguaros. They're probably Neobuxbaumia. It's claimed some at the John Fairey Garden survived which saw similar temperatures, so perhaps these did too.

I visited after the freeze a few weeks ago but didn't walk on that side. They had some other cactus near the church. From what I recall, some were dead, but there were surviving columnars - either Argentine Saguaros (E. terscheckii) or Neos. The SABG also had a lot of large E. terscheckii that looked good even though saw palmettos were blasted (complete burn outside of one or two leaves).

Off-topic, but that mission is really fantastic. Definitely worth visiting all four of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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Mr.SamuraiSword
On 4/22/2021 at 8:11 AM, necturus said:

Those aren't Saguaros. They're probably Neobuxbaumia. It's claimed some at the John Fairey Garden survived which saw similar temperatures, so perhaps these did too.

I visited after the freeze a few weeks ago but didn't walk on that side. They had some other cactus near the church. From what I recall, some were dead, but there were surviving columnars - either Argentine Saguaros (E. terscheckii) or Neos. The SABG also had a lot of large E. terscheckii that looked good even though saw palmettos were blasted (complete burn outside of one or two leaves).

Off-topic, but that mission is really fantastic. Definitely worth visiting all four of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Ahh thanks for the clarification.  How cold did it get in Langrty or Dryden? theres some old saguaro there would be a shame if they perished.

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Fusca
On 4/20/2021 at 7:48 PM, NBTX11 said:

We need another report of how Riverwalk palms are doing.

Not too much news to report - I just came back from my second trip down since the freeze.  Some Chamaerops are coming back, some aren't.  Nearly all Washingtonia are recovering.  Livistona chinensis are fine and flowering.

IMG_20210424_152203.jpg

Bismarckia spears look solid (both palms) and might recover.

IMG_20210424_152132.jpg

Two large mules have new growth pushing.  Sorry if not showing up in photo...

IMG_20210424_151758.jpg

Jubaea (hybrid?) looks totally different since my last visit.  Lots of late foliar damage but center is still green.

IMG_20210424_154309.jpg

Brahea brandegeei coming back.  Saw two of these today recovering.

IMG_20210424_154808.jpg

Phoenix dactylifera recovering.

IMG_20210424_155538.jpg

Arenga cut down as well as Chamaedorea sp.  Largest Syagrus showing no signs of life.  Saw a few Rhapis shoots coming back from roots as well.

Edited by Fusca
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Collectorpalms

The famous jubaea or hybrid on Riverwalk finally defoliated after a few week? This is it?

image.jpeg.fd7e8c855adf793ff4d1c943a4f2bdac.jpeg

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Fusca
19 minutes ago, Collectorpalms said:

The famous jubaea or hybrid on Riverwalk finally defoliated after a few week? This is it?

Yes indeed.

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NBTX11

Looks like the riverwalk fared good. I was wondering about the 3 mules by the statue and if they are alive and pushing green. 

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Collectorpalms
On 4/24/2021 at 5:55 PM, Fusca said:

Not too much news to report - I just came back from my second trip down since the freeze.  Some Chamaerops are coming back, some aren't.  Nearly all Washingtonia are recovering.  Livistona chinensis are fine and flowering.

IMG_20210424_152203.jpg

Bismarckia spears look solid (both palms) and might recover.

IMG_20210424_152132.jpg

Two large mules have new growth pushing.  Sorry if not showing up in photo...

IMG_20210424_151758.jpg

Jubaea (hybrid?) looks totally different since my last visit.  Lots of late foliar damage but center is still green.

IMG_20210424_154309.jpg

Brahea brandegeei coming back.  Saw two of these today recovering.

IMG_20210424_154808.jpg

Phoenix dactylifera recovering.

IMG_20210424_155538.jpg

Arenga cut down as well as Chamaedorea sp.  Largest Syagrus showing no signs of life.  Saw a few Rhapis shoots coming back from roots as well.

Any evidence that Brahea Brandeggei is more hardy than Washintonia Robusta?  I just got two of these. I figured they would be equivalent.

the only Brahea that died was super silver, and my dulcis is having some issues but otherwise they did better overall than expected for their relative size due to slowness of growth. My filifera heavy hybrids are yet to show signs of life  except 1. They were exceptionally tall and that might have done them in. All the ones surviving here are under 25FT.

Edited by Collectorpalms

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Fusca
12 hours ago, Collectorpalms said:

Any evidence that Brahea Brandeggei is more hardy than Washintonia Robusta?

That is a tough call to make.  There are so few B. brandegeei around town to try and make a comparison.  So far I have personally seen 4 of them - all with at least 6' of clear trunk - and all seem to be coming back, but they all are in areas where they are likely receiving at least some care but not likely received any winter protection.  There are plenty of W. robusta or filibusta hybrids around town that did not survive but are in areas where they are more likely not receiving any care whatsoever.  I'd say there's at least a similar hardiness once they get to a good mature size but before that it's a toss-up.

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mulungu

Since it's nearly at the 6 month mark after the February freeze events, I figured another update might be in order.  Initial and followup photo dates are 3/7/21 and 8/4/21, respectively.

Washingtonia filifera, Casa Rio

20210307_075739.thumb.jpg.df0dcf588cfa39f9a040235ba053c0e7.jpg

187275164_20210804_085158(2).thumb.jpg.8a743f3cef484f7e4060a5afe830a9c1.jpg

 

 

Washingtonia hybrids with a tall Livistona chinensis?.  Please correct if you know different

20210307_075952.thumb.jpg.cadb5f5c8290f764eee3b1afb785edf2.jpg

20210804_092905.thumb.jpg.32b7bb29100d961503eae6005c6f8c82.jpg

 

 

Livistona chinensis, trachycarpus, and Bismarckia

20210307_080012.jpg.a05d178dd1a0afee519e04e489ba8b81.jpg

20210804_092739.thumb.jpg.9a446a6780dbd2de676d0589c0774958.jpg

Close-up of the Bismarckia in the above tableau.  Am not certain if this is the same specimen in Fusca's photo above.  If so, movement seems next to nil from April.  Not sure if this one is alive.  I couldn't find the Bismarckia on the opposite bank of the river-- ?removed or somehow overlooked. 

20210804_093959.thumb.jpg.8522759c6016c8949e9be78188db8224.jpg

 

 

 

20210307_081341.thumb.jpg.290d81b90fd16acdf88199d791206c2b.jpg

553955917_20210804_092027(2).thumb.jpg.2803ba2af06e6e5dfefee2d586cef333.jpg

More Chamaerops humilis in a cluster

20210804_091547.thumb.jpg.456031be1bee94cbe319aa02b5eac03d.jpg

 

 

Mule Palms by the Saint Anthony statue. Two survivors-- the previous third one directly behind St. Anthony is gone.

20210307_080900.jpg

20210804_093347.thumb.jpg.1c8e3a781e4b1888f0d0405b383ca879.jpg

Closer view of the healthier-looking survivor:

20210804_093418.thumb.jpg.e338016e7fa7317043fcc7301ce2b734.jpg

 

 

Sabal mexicana.  Freeze, what freeze?

20210307_081440.thumb.jpg.8de9fe4a974fc3bf1cf7196e4afaa7e9.jpg

20210804_085624.thumb.jpg.2dc310ab0ad48f67380ae740442aee69.jpg

 

 

Butia 

20210307_082054.thumb.jpg.7afc6f510b70e66b8ad9fde7ca2281ea.jpg

20210804_090613.thumb.jpg.2be200c9680ebcdf9a2325f7ba331cf9.jpg

 

 

Washingtonia by St. Mary's

20210307_082700.thumb.jpg.77d4b48e032c46f1b01f472db4816555.jpg

787904522_20210804_083020(2).thumb.jpg.1c3be9186a09484dde3a817d8b089fe0.jpg

 

 

Syagrus romanzoffiana gone.  In its stead there is this palm with yellow stems.  Is this Dypsis lutescens, anybody know for sure?

20210307_082930.thumb.jpg.2353e0f4393826ef3f70d1a762b728d5.jpg

20210804_082735.thumb.jpg.f5c5daaa5072d98a39c4c4424b4f2200.jpg

 

 

20210804_082757.thumb.jpg.043b676317ff70d9d4a06bba2ec99557.jpg

 

 

Jubaea

20210307_083255.thumb.jpg.89d54082c8e60aca2481c5ddaf257b53.jpg

20210804_082654.thumb.jpg.73eb1487b342d6a7d523ce58db66d16e.jpg

 

 

A tall Trachycarpus that initially looked to be in the clear, but now seems to have succumbed:

20210307_083916.thumb.jpg.1049e5fe7f176d4422544f553d3bfc26.jpg

20210804_081915.thumb.jpg.bf78dca6b3e89aa34cbc76eed1c324c8.jpg

Don't know what happened with that one.  Elsewhere, most other Trachy's were fine.

20210804_080218.thumb.jpg.59d0b93aa5b98311270fc5f83c2836f8.jpg

 

 

Rhapidopyllum hystrix

20210307_084434.thumb.jpg.3bffb30872d0a0b88c85555a18c3eff9.jpg

20210804_080653.thumb.jpg.eca5184e14930e20e64dc68905f3da29.jpg

 

 

Brahea

20210307_084548.thumb.jpg.795d4b14ec3f3e7af7bf948d305b4ee7.jpg

20210804_080258.thumb.jpg.06a656255d8a4c1b0f8dd324d041ac27.jpg

 

 

Rhapis sp.  (an old palm map of the River Walk has this section as Rhapis aff. subtilis I believe).  Due to construction I couldn't get close enough to see if any green shoots coming back from the ground.  From afar no signs of life.

20210307_075723.thumb.jpg.c89587ad1d40aab983319fb62450b595.jpg

20210804_085223.thumb.jpg.84661ce58947322d6540afd1d2c77bfa.jpg

 

So, in sum, most palms took damage and received haircuts, but survived, and show promise that with time they will return to their former glory.

 

 

20210804_083020 (2).jpg

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mulungu
On 3/23/2021 at 3:17 PM, Juan Guerra said:
On 3/12/2021 at 12:46 PM, richtrav said:

It’s Peltophorum dubium, according to a source I trust. This is the tree in flower

peltophorum sa river.jpg

I always thought it was a Caesalpinia mexicana. I think we lost the regular bird of paradise  (C.  pulcherrima ) as well.

 

 

The tree was killed back but survived and is coming in bushy.  If there is any saving grace, it's that now the leaf and stems are close enough to the ground for inspection.

20210307_084137.thumb.jpg.5a129d348ef23a82b3a53e6f76392fa2.jpg

20210804_081935.thumb.jpg.c20caeee41aa85b2f969c688e6a1dabd.jpg

870086178_20210804_081739(2).thumb.jpg.eaa963ac9f9dd50a657bee33b891415d.jpg

In the distinction between Peltophorum dubium, africanum, and pterocarpum, branching stipules keys out to Peltophorum africanum in the Flora Zambesiaca:http://apps.kew.org/efloras/key.do?parentkeyid=2305&keyid=2330

see also https://sites.google.com/site/efloraofindia/species/a---l/f/fabaceae/peltophorum/peltophorum-africanum

 

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MarkbVet
On 3/11/2021 at 1:00 AM, mulungu said:

You're welcome! They look really terrible for now, but believe it or not the Washingtonia are some of the ones I'm  least worried about surviving this event-- I anticipate that nearly all will pull through with time, even the W.  robusta, which are less hardy.  Some are so old that you can see in their scarred trunks that this "is not their first rodeo" and they are survivors.

I believe the upkeep of the RW is through a special division of San Antonio's municipal government, River Walk Operations. I imagine they will monitor the washies and others over the spring to see what grows back out, and if it becomes clear that any is dead they would have to be removed so as not to endanger the public.

July 2021 I was there, and there were still scattered large palms (Washingtonias I think) that were dead husks that the city hadn't dealt with yet, in the downtown areas.  Hopefully they can muster up the crews needed to take down the dead ones and replant where needed.   Pretty city, mostly the trees looked pretty good in July!  Riverwalk was beautiful,  must have done a lot of replanting the small stuff, along with the palm trees recovering/regrowing.   The RW is always special to see, and great eats as well!

Edited by MarkbVet
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