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Alex High

Best/Warmest Microclimate Along the SoCal Coast?

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Alex High

Hello all,

I have recently been reading a lot about people's attempts, failures, and also wonderful successes zone pushing with many tropical and less hardy palms in Southern California, and it got me wondering: what is the best/warmest microclimate along the Southern California coast? I have been monitoring the weather in several different cities along the coast for the past couple months during winter to see which stays the warmest, and from what I've found it seems the San Pedro area near Long Beach has highest lows, notably higher than inland Los Angeles and San Diego as well as many other coastal cities nearby. Since San Pedro is facing south, as the coast juts out there, it seems like it may have a bit of a Brookings effect, whereby warm coastal winds blow in from the south creating a warmer microclimate. That said, the high temperatures there are considerably cooler than inland in many areas, as it's by the coast, so maybe that makes it worse than many areas further inland for growing super cold-sensitive palms, despite the warmer low temps. The other thing I was wondering about was elevation. Some areas like the Palos Verdes, Escondido, and other communities near the coast have lots of hills, some of which reach over 1,000 ft. And since cold air tends to settle in the lowest places, is it better to be at a slightly higher elevation or on a hilltop, say a couple hundred feet, and at what point does it begin to get colder? Thank you very much and this is something I have been wondering about, researching, and trying to figure out for a while, I look forward to hearing your responses! Maybe there is no "one best microclimate," as there are so many factors at play, but I want to see what you all have to say.

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Silas_Sancona
18 minutes ago, Alex High said:

Hello all,

I have recently been reading a lot about people's attempts, failures, and also wonderful successes zone pushing with many tropical and less hardy palms in Southern California, and it got me wondering: what is the best/warmest microclimate along the Southern California coast? I have been monitoring the weather in several different cities along the coast for the past couple months during winter to see which stays the warmest, and from what I've found it seems the San Pedro area near Long Beach has highest lows, notably higher than inland Los Angeles and San Diego as well as many other coastal cities nearby. Since San Pedro is facing south, as the coast juts out there, it seems like it may have a bit of a Brookings effect, whereby warm coastal winds blow in from the south creating a warmer microclimate. That said, the high temperatures there are considerably cooler than inland in many areas, as it's by the coast, so maybe that makes it worse than many areas further inland for growing super cold-sensitive palms, despite the warmer low temps. The other thing I was wondering about was elevation. Some areas like the Palos Verdes, Escondido, and other communities near the coast have lots of hills, some of which reach over 1,000 ft. And since cold air tends to settle in the lowest places, is it better to be at a slightly higher elevation or on a hilltop, say a couple hundred feet, and at what point does it begin to get colder? Thank you very much and this is something I have been wondering about, researching, and trying to figure out for a while, I look forward to hearing your responses! Maybe there is no "one best microclimate," as there are so many factors at play, but I want to see what you all have to say.

Hill tops ..or more specifically, roughly half way up a hillside is considered the best possible microclimate out there ..or in other areas..  Top of a hill will often be breezy, bottom will be where cold air pools. Even better if the hillside faces anywhere from a Southeast to southwest direction, w/ the higher part of the hill to your north / northwest to help block cool air moving south during the winter..  Can always plant a tall canopy of trees on the north / northwest side of a property as well for the same effect.

Inland ..where it isn't as foggy, but still close enough to the coast to  enjoy some deg. of marine influence ( so it isn't bone dry all the time ) is also ideal  if looking at the warmest possible location.

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chinandega81

Hollywood Hills south slope. Along urban Sunset Drive on the west side of LA. Despite there being heavy urbanization and a cement jungle in a lot of the LA basin, areas with slightly higher elevation are usually much warmer than the valley floors, despite the urban heat island effect.

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James B

I am 50 miles inland not on the coast. But I am at 1600 feet elevation on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mts. As far as elevation here goes south facing is for sure best. With marginal palms I plant on the west side of my yard facing east so the palms can catch morning sun asap. Based on what I’ve seen in my area as it pertains to hillsides and elevation. I see as much as a degree of difference for every 500 feet of elevation sometimes it can be more pronounced depending on the amount of trees etc.

That said where I am has almost zero coastal/marine influence whereas Escondido has some. My lows are not as low as Escondido but are lower than coastal CA. Go figure. The microclimates in Socal are so many and quite nuanced. 

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