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Planting B. alfredii in Florida

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RedRabbit

Thanks guys, guess I’ll move it to 2’ from the fence to be a little safer. 

Edited by RedRabbit
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KDubU

So I found a good sized B. alfredii for sale close to me. Actually there were two and I had been considering one back when I had all my large palms planted but due to budget I decided to hold off plus was not they would survive here. One is now reserved for someone but the other is still there but it involves getting a tractor into the yard due to size plus it’s not cheap at $800 but the trunk is around 6’ and the fronds are another 6-8’ above that. Question is would a well planted and watered larger specimen survive 9a? Got to think about this one.

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RedRabbit
Just now, KDubU said:

So I found a good sized B. alfredii for sale close to me. Actually there were two and I had been considering one back when I had all my large palms planted but due to budget I decided to hold off plus was not they would survive here. One is now reserved for someone but the other is still there but it involves getting a tractor into the yard due to size plus it’s not cheap at $800 but the trunk is around 6’ and the fronds are another 6-8’ above that. Question is would a well planted and watered larger specimen survive 9a? Got to think about this one.

Based on what I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like they’ll survive long-term in 9a. I know someone had a few in Louisiana and really tested their limits. If memory serves they all died in 2018 from low 20s.

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Merlyn

From my reading of KinzyJR's spreadsheet, it looks like they take variable light damage in the upper 20s, but significant damage under about 24-26F.  Mine took no damage at 28F w/frost and later 31F w/heavy frost.  One frond on one palm was a bit yellowed and spotted, but that was it.  So if you expect to see lows in the 20-25F range (especially with frost), then B. Alfredii probably is not a long term survivor for you.  That being said, many of the damage reports are from palms quite a bit smaller than the one you are describing.  They seem to be frost sensitive when young but get hardier as they get bigger, so it's hard to judge.

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sonoranfans
19 hours ago, Looking Glass said:

The ground-root interface system is actually just 1 of 3 parts to the story of wind resistance.  Roots give you your anchor to the ground, but the ground itself, depending on the soil type, and rainfall saturation can still give way.  

The trunk is the next part.  The taller the tree, the more leverage the wind has, so as palms get taller, they can actually get less hurricane resistant.   You see this with Royals, which have good hurricane resistance for various reasons, but taller, older ones are actually more prone to blowing over than younger-middle ones, especially if there is a prolonged saturating rain event weakening the ground.  They can uproot.   The flexibility of the trunk also plays a role.  More flexible trunks can absorb wind gusts better, those tall, thin coconuts hold up pretty well.  

The crown/canopy is the final factor.  Huge, stiff, durable crowns create a lot of surface area and wind drag force.  Think Bismarckia.  Palms like Royals, and Dictyosperma album drop leaves to cut drag as a defense.  Flexibility of the leaves plays a role also. If they can change shape to decrease surface area, they can cut drag.  

I think the Beccariophoenix will do ok into middle age but I’m guessing you could see problems during hurricanes when they get old and taller.  They will likely have less storm resistance at 50 feet tall, than at 20 feet.  But we can’t know for sure for a while. 

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I think you have broached a complex optic for this forum and that even that set of assumptions is insufficient with respect to evaluation wind resistance.  Generally such engineeering assumptions must be correct to prdict bahavior in the wind but big leaves dont necessarily mean proportionately more wind drag.   Like a luffing sail, Bizzies leaves are rigid but they do turn in the wind, like the queens hand wave, letting the wind go.   I am very impressed with them after seeing how they actually handle wind in all the public plantings in my area after IRMA.  I saw not a single palm knocked over in IRMA in my area, not a single palm.  A number of other trees went down, oaks, elms, sycamores.   Palms can allow their leaves to snap for example sabal causiarum to prevent getting knocked over.  I will cut to the chase a little here and say alfredii leaves are not so rigid, they bend with the wind from fairly low in the petiole much more so than cocos, sabal causuarum or royals.  This will of course reduce the energy applied tot he roots.  The lowest 4 leaves of my largest alfredii fractured in the wind.   Other than that no significant leaflet damage.  As all palms grow taller the crowns actually get smaller, could be they have evolved that way, but we also know that the pumping of water to the crown is harder the taller they grow so they thin out in trunk and the crowns get smaller.  I am willing to predict alfredii will do fine, and if you are uncomfortable with the large crown, water and feed it less as that will rduce the size of the crown.  For me?  I dont take much stock in those who predict the future.  Nobel prize winning atomic physicist Neils Bohr:   Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future!” and I'll include this as well:  This quote serves as a warning of the importance of testing a forecasting model out-of-sample. 

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Looking Glass
5 hours ago, sonoranfans said:

I think you have broached a complex optic for this forum and that even that set of assumptions is insufficient with respect to evaluation wind resistance.  Generally such engineeering assumptions must be correct to prdict bahavior in the wind but big leaves dont necessarily mean proportionately more wind drag.   Like a luffing sail, Bizzies leaves are rigid but they do turn in the wind, like the queens hand wave, letting the wind go.   I am very impressed with them after seeing how they actually handle wind in all the public plantings in my area after IRMA.  I saw not a single palm knocked over in IRMA in my area, not a single palm.  A number of other trees went down, oaks, elms, sycamores.   Palms can allow their leaves to snap for example sabal causiarum to prevent getting knocked over.  I will cut to the chase a little here and say alfredii leaves are not so rigid, they bend with the wind from fairly low in the petiole much more so than cocos, sabal causuarum or royals.  This will of course reduce the energy applied tot he roots.  The lowest 4 leaves of my largest alfredii fractured in the wind.   Other than that no significant leaflet damage.  As all palms grow taller the crowns actually get smaller, could be they have evolved that way, but we also know that the pumping of water to the crown is harder the taller they grow so they thin out in trunk and the crowns get smaller.  I am willing to predict alfredii will do fine, and if you are uncomfortable with the large crown, water and feed it less as that will rduce the size of the crown.  For me?  I dont take much stock in those who predict the future.  Nobel prize winning atomic physicist Neils Bohr:   Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future!” and I'll include this as well:  This quote serves as a warning of the importance of testing a forecasting model out-of-sample. 

Yeah.  You don’t see much with just Cat 1 or tropical storm winds, which is what Irma delivered around the Tampa and Manatee area.  Most palmy stuff can hold up to that.  

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sonoranfans
1 hour ago, Looking Glass said:

Yeah.  You don’t see much with just Cat 1 or tropical storm winds, which is what Irma delivered around the Tampa and Manatee area.  Most palmy stuff can hold up to that.  

I would also say that root development in wet limestone rock will be a definite limitation to resistance to knockdown in a hurricane.  In Miami's limestone rock I visited a 5 acre palm garden about 10 years ago.  I could push on bismarckia  and corypha trunks and move the (smallish) crowns, they will prob ably go down in anything of even strong gale strength I expect.   I think planning palm survival in cat 2-3 is just saving the trunk, the crowns will get mostly stripped down.   I gave up a little in the one to live where cat 3 hurricanes dont make landfall.  So yes I agree, the soil in the extreme will have a dramatic effect and it seemed to be quite poor for root stabilization in miami.  I think there is much better root development in sandy soils.   We have many live oaks nearby and they are weaker than palms in a blow so I guess I am out of the cat 3 zone. The only palms that I can move in my yard have less than an 8" trunk thickness like king palms and dypsis pembana and they dont push easy as those bizzies and coryphas did.  There are many palms that looked great in miami, but those big fans had skinny trunks and smallish crowns.  It seems they really needed better root development but the soil was rocky and wet.

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Looking Glass
12 hours ago, sonoranfans said:

I would also say that root development in wet limestone rock will be a definite limitation to resistance to knockdown in a hurricane.  In Miami's limestone rock I visited a 5 acre palm garden about 10 years ago.  I could push on bismarckia  and corypha trunks and move the (smallish) crowns, they will prob ably go down in anything of even strong gale strength I expect.   I think planning palm survival in cat 2-3 is just saving the trunk, the crowns will get mostly stripped down.   I gave up a little in the one to live where cat 3 hurricanes dont make landfall.  So yes I agree, the soil in the extreme will have a dramatic effect and it seemed to be quite poor for root stabilization in miami.  I think there is much better root development in sandy soils.   We have many live oaks nearby and they are weaker than palms in a blow so I guess I am out of the cat 3 zone. The only palms that I can move in my yard have less than an 8" trunk thickness like king palms and dypsis pembana and they dont push easy as those bizzies and coryphas did.  There are many palms that looked great in miami, but those big fans had skinny trunks and smallish crowns.  It seems they really needed better root development but the soil was rocky and wet.

Agreed..   Say, could you post a pic of your Alfi, or better yet, open a thread and post some pics of your various palm plantings.  I'd love to see your set-up.   I know in other posts you've talked about how you "built a canopy" and it might be helpful to get some ideas for some of us that someday want to "have a canopy".   I certainly never get tired of seeing pics of peoples palms, gardens, and landscaping ideas....   

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sonoranfans
4 hours ago, Looking Glass said:

Agreed..   Say, could you post a pic of your Alfi, or better yet, open a thread and post some pics of your various palm plantings.  I'd love to see your set-up.   I know in other posts you've talked about how you "built a canopy" and it might be helpful to get some ideas for some of us that someday want to "have a canopy".   I certainly never get tired of seeing pics of peoples palms, gardens, and landscaping ideas....   

Wish I had a drone to take pics, I am too chicken to climb up on the roof at my age.  One of the problems is when you get canopy, its hard t take pics that can relate it.  I should also show a before pic of the pretty much empty yard.  I am currently spreading mulch and weeding, I will try to take some pics after that.  Since you are 10b you have options that I don't have.  My area has been 10a since 2010, no exceptions, nothing below 30F.  Halfway down page two of this link I have my smallest BA (of 3), my largest, and my largest after IRMA in dec 2017.  You can see how the largest has grown since and also how it took IRMA.  IT lost 4 leaves due to fracturing of petioles, they were the lowest 4 leaves.  My large BA has ~20 +/- leaves in the crown.

The biggest things Ive learned is that the garden is a living entity that changes over time and mistakes are made.  Most everyone overplants or puts a palm in the wrong spot or its just the wrong palm for your area.  Investigate before you plant, this will prevent remorse when looking at a palm you love in the future and knowing you dont have a spot for it because you planted too many redundant palms, ex: a bunch of foxtails or adonidia.  I ended up cutting out a few palms after 5-7 years to get what I wanted.  I removed phoenix sylvestris to plant shade loving satakentia and chambeyronia macrocarpa for example.  I also became less forgiving of stabby palms and also ripped out a phoenix roebelinii multi(by home builder landscaper) to put in a copernicia baileyana.  Go slow, put in the faster growing stuff and save the shade loving sp like satakentia and chambeyronia for when the yard offers protection from full sun.  I will make a thread of my yard in a few weeks after the current yard work is done. 

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