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Defining a zone

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spockvr6

(BobbyinNY @ Aug. 25 2006,13:20)

QUOTE
So, if we stay like we did last year,

I wouldnt count on that!

Last year was the warmest winter ever recorded for NY from what Ive read.

It was pretty much warmer than normal everywhere, including my area.

But...as long as they keep comin'...well take em :D

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spockvr6

(syersj @ Aug. 25 2006,12:57)

QUOTE
If you take the average since 1990, it is 10.57, borderline 8a last 16 years.

But..as mentioned above....the problem is once again not the average but the extremes.  2004's 1F would have wiped out many of the 8a plants grown successfully for the run of years prior.

This is the fundamental problem we all face...these damn periodic blasts!

Those periodic and even infrequent blasts are why my street is not lined with Royals and Coconuts, but rather Queens and Washingtonias.  People eventually give up after getting wiped out a time or two.

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BobbyinNY
But..as mentioned above....the problem is once again not the average but the extremes.  2004's 1F would have wiped out many of the 8a plants grown successfully for the run of years prior.

This is the fundamental problem we all face...these damn periodic blasts!

Those periodic and even infrequent blasts are why my street is not lined with Royals and Coconuts, but rather Queens and Washingtonias.  People eventually give up after getting wiped out a time or two.

But that's what I don't get, Larry..... If we're only gonna get a severe freeze once or 2x/year, wouldn't it be worth it to protect the plants for a couple days...

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spockvr6

(BobbyinNY @ Aug. 25 2006,15:14)

QUOTE
But that's what I don't get, Larry..... If we're only gonna get a severe freeze once or 2x/year, wouldn't it be worth it to protect the plants for a couple days...

You or I and many others on this board will.....but the average homeowner isnt going to take the time.

Understandably so as its just another tree to them.  

Also, even if one is successful in their protection techniques for some time, its likely that keeping a marginal species alive forever is going to fail when the palm simply gets too big to protect anymore.  

But, this is my definition of "success" with a marginal palm.......If I can grow it to the point of not being able to protect it due to its sheer size, then I have succeeded and Mother Nature will do with it what she will after that.

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NBTX11

(spockvr6 @ Aug. 25 2006,15:24)

QUOTE

(BobbyinNY @ Aug. 25 2006,15:14)

QUOTE
But that's what I don't get, Larry..... If we're only gonna get a severe freeze once or 2x/year, wouldn't it be worth it to protect the plants for a couple days...

You or I and many others on this board will.....but the average homeowner isnt going to take the time.

Understandably so as its just another tree to them.  

Also, even if one is successful in their protection techniques for some time, its likely that keeping a marginal species alive forever is going to fail when the palm simply gets too big to protect anymore.  

But, this is my definition of "success" with a marginal palm.......If I can grow it to the point of not being able to protect it due to its sheer size, then I have succeeded and Mother Nature will do with it what she will after that.

Agree 100%.  Even though the "averages" are much higher, all it takes is one artic blast to do in marginal stuff.  But they are becoming so infrequent to me it is worth growing what you want.  For example, I am growing queen palms.  Probably a 9a palm.  Some would say marginal for SA.  There are plenty (hundreds) of them around the area, some of them pretty large - see my post with pictures for examples.  Most winters, no problem whatsoever, not even hardly any spotting or anything.  Probably will make it many years.  BUT, if we ever get an artic blast remotely resembling 1989, they will be toast.  I know that and accept that fact.  Oh well, I can't sit around thinking about what might happen.  They look great in the mean time and I feel very confident they will be around for quite a long time.  It is true though that most of the ancient 50 year old palms around here are of the Washingtonia, Sabal, P. Canariensis, etc. variety, because they were hardy enough to withstand the 80s freezes, but I am not going to limit myself to that.

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BobbyinNY
But, this is my definition of "success" with a marginal palm.......If I can grow it to the point of not being able to protect it due to its sheer size, then I have succeeded and Mother Nature will do with it what she will after that.

That's how I feel Larry & Jim......

Hey, I'm growing Pytchosperma Elegans and Roebelenii's in the ground in New York... If I can get them through the winter here, I feel like I've accomplished something.

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chris78

Yes

I am lazy....and do not want to spend the time or energy to keep marginal plants alive and away from nature's killing powers. Yes I do have my fair # of marginal palms... Small ones in pots, I bring inside on those few cold nights. One's planted outside?? well I place them in the best protected spot I have and hope as it get larger they will tolerate the cold better.

I want to enjoy my garden with the least amount of work

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Walt

If it is ever predicted to have an advective (wind driven) freeze the likes of the December 1989 two day event, I will select all the palms I don't want to lose (my bismarkias, royals, Archontophoenix species, etc.) and protect them the best I can.

What I plan to do is remove most of the fronds, except those that are near vertical and the unopened spears, and then wrap thermostatically controlled electrical heating cables around the trunk, growth bud area and the remaining vertical fronds (I would bundle these fronds very close together). Then I will wrap over that some insulating material, such as flannel sheets, and then wrap over that with PVC tarps.

I know from experience my palms will not be cold damaged when protected as described above. Even if I had to remove all the fronds, if the palm has a good portion of trunk there should be enough starch energy to recover in spring and regrow its canopy.

So basically, after removing the fronds I would have, in essence a vertical palm that will be easy to wrap off a large step ladder. If the palm is super tall I may need an extension ladder, or even scaffolding. But by hook or crook, I'm not letting an  advective freeze kill a mature palm that took 10 years or more to grow. No, I'm not going to be defeated over just one bad day in ten years.

This photo shows where I wound some heating cable around the base of my triangle palm three winters ago. If I were to get a catastrophic advective freeze I would remove most of the fronds as I said above.

60956345LGOSEe_th.jpg

by waltcat100

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BobbyinNY
What I plan to do is remove most of the fronds, except those that are near vertical and the unopened spears, and then wrap thermostatically controlled electrical heating cables around the trunk, growth bud area and the remaining vertical fronds (I would bundle these fronds very close together). Then I will wrap over that some insulating material, such as flannel sheets, and then wrap over that with PVC tarps.

Walt,

where do you get those heating cables???? I'm gonna need them...  I plan on going one step further. I'll be building a teepee type structure around my P. Elegans, putting a Polyethelene tarp over it and a small thermostatically-controlled space heater inside, but I'm thinking that the heating cables might just do the trick a little cheaper.

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Walt

Bobby,

I ordered my heating cables from a local hardware store. I have two manufacturer brands. One brand (can't remember name) isn't good in my opinion. The wattage per linear foot is low (2 wiatts/LF) and the cable itself is too stiff, and gets stiffer in the cold.

I like the EasyHeat cables as they are rated at 7 watts per foot (24 BTU/ft.) and are very supple and flexible, even in the cold, more so than a standard extension cord. They are thermostatically controlled (one at 38 degrees and off at 45 degrees). They have an indicator lighted plug so you know you have electric to them.

You might be able to purchase them Online. Here's a link to Easyheat:

http://www.easyheat.com/

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Walt

Bobby,

I had to protect this adonida palm twice this past winter, once on January 8th and again on February 14th. My low temperature on January 8, 2006 was around 33 degrees, but Feb. 14th it dropped to 27.1 degrees with heavy frost.

From the below photos you can see  (read photo captions) how I protected my adonidia:

2202947310042496162IeNujk_th.jpg

by waltcat100

2920495060042496162dpiDVs_th.jpg

by waltcat100

2108270710042496162KdoPtZ_th.jpg

by waltcat100

My adonidia palm earlier this month:

2326196760042496162tyNgId_th.jpg

by waltcat100

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BobbyinNY

WOW.. Walt... Great job.........and thanks for the Heating cable info.  Unfortunately, for me... I'm going to have to do alot more. We get those temps on a regular basis... so I'll have to build a structure where it never gets below like 45 or 50.....  This palm is now about 13ft tall so I don't think it'll be too difficult.

post-57-1156703297_thumb.jpg

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Walt

Bobby: That's amazing you have those adonidias planted in the ground.

Yes, your protection methods are totally different than mine. My concern lies with just one, maybe two nights/mornings each winter.

In your case you will need to construct a virtual greenhouse around your palms, and making sure the root zone doesn't freeze.

If I was faced with providing winter protection for palms of your size, in your climate, I'm not sure what I'd do. I imagine I would construct some kind of wooden framework and then apply 6-mil poly to it, along with supplemental heat when needed. You certainly have a challenge.

You certainly are the "only game in town" (probably the entire state of NY) with those large adonidia palms in the ground! I'm impressed, and if I was still living up in Maryland I would probably do the same thing.

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BobbyinNY
If I was faced with providing winter protection for palms of your size, in your climate, I'm not sure what I'd do. I imagine I would construct some kind of wooden framework and then apply 6-mil poly to it, along with supplemental heat when needed. You certainly have a challenge.

You certainly are the "only game in town" (probably the entire state of NY) with those large adonidia palms in the ground! I'm impressed, and if I was still living up in Maryland I would probably do the same thing.

Actually, Walt.... I don't have my Adonidias in the Ground - they're in big pots that go to the greenhouse... That pic is of my Pytchosperma Elegans.. That's the only real challenge I have to protect. I also have a Phoenix Roebelenii triple in the ground, but that's only 7ft tall and can be covered by my dome greenhouse...

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ruskinPalms

Some pictures of Ficus that I took earlier today in the neighborhood.

Sorry for the very poor quality as I am nervous to take pictures of people's houses and yards....

Ficus elastica:

FicusElastica.jpg

I've read that Ficus don't like frost and freezes but that they can take some and recover. Any guesses on the ages of these trees?

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ruskinPalms

Some sort of ficus in an abondoned lot, any guesses about the species?

IMG_1086Large.jpg

IMG_1087Large.jpg

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ruskinPalms

Ficus at a bed and breakfast in the neighborhood, I forgot the species - Benjamina??

IMG_1090Large.jpg

IMG_1091Large.jpg

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alex_7b

As I read various BBs, I notice an arrogance among participants, believing that they are "trail blazers" in a new horticultural sport.

I honestly believe that folks of yore, back 100 years or 200 years have already tried what many of us attempt today. Over time, climate and weather (non)anomolies have won out.

One doesn't see z10 plants in central FL because every 20 years, there's a big freeze that culls the herd.

Likewise in SoCal, plants that people have for 5 to 10 years now will likely be cleared out within another 10 years from an oddball but cyclical cold outbreak.

To the original question about zone, while it is true that the USDA system is a bit crude, I cannot believe people who claim a +1.5 zone microclimate, behind their garage.

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spockvr6

Alex7b-

I guess I am not the only pessimist on this board!  LOL.

But, its not true that one doesnt find Zone 10 plants in central FL.  There are thousands of examples of aged specimens.  

But, what is true is that their distribution is not as widespread as in locales further south.

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spockvr6

(alex_7b @ Aug. 31 2006,19:23)

QUOTE
As I read various BBs, I notice an arrogance among participants, believing that they are "trail blazers" in a new horticultural sport.

I am not sure if its arrogance....or just a short memory :D

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spockvr6

(alex_7b @ Aug. 31 2006,19:23)

QUOTE
To the original question about zone, while it is true that the USDA system is a bit crude, I cannot believe people who claim a +1.5 zone microclimate, behind their garage.

Ive made many temperature measurements around my yard using reliable and fast acting instruments and there is certainly nowhere near such a change in temperature between any two areas.

A few inches from a two story masonry wall is but a few TENTHS of a degree F warmer than 8-10 ft from that wall in the early AM of a radiational event.

But, that wall pays huge dividends in frost protection.  That doesnt equate to a change in zone (as thats purely temperature based), but sure explains why things fare better in such protected locations.

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spockvr6

(ruskinPalms @ Aug. 31 2006,18:02)

QUOTE
Some pictures of Ficus that I took earlier today in the neighborhood.

Sorry for the very poor quality as I am nervous to take pictures of people's houses and yards....

Ficus elastica:

FicusElastica.jpg

I've read that Ficus don't like frost and freezes but that they can take some and recover. Any guesses on the ages of these trees?

Bill-

Its very hard to tell in that pic (you scare-dy cat...taking pics in peoples yards...LOL)......but is that tree a Magnolia?

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spockvr6

(ruskinPalms @ Aug. 31 2006,18:03)

QUOTE
IMG_1087Large.jpg

That is a Ficus for sure!  Check out the arial roots coming down.

Perhaps it is F. macrocarpa?

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NBTX11

(alex_7b @ Aug. 31 2006,19:23)

QUOTE
As I read various BBs, I notice an arrogance among participants, believing that they are "trail blazers" in a new horticultural sport.

I honestly believe that folks of yore, back 100 years or 200 years have already tried what many of us attempt today. Over time, climate and weather (non)anomolies have won out.

One doesn't see z10 plants in central FL because every 20 years, there's a big freeze that culls the herd.

Likewise in SoCal, plants that people have for 5 to 10 years now will likely be cleared out within another 10 years from an oddball but cyclical cold outbreak.

To the original question about zone, while it is true that the USDA system is a bit crude, I cannot believe people who claim a +1.5 zone microclimate, behind their garage.

They may have tried it 100-200 years ago but, IMO, you can't compare then to now.  It is MUCH warmer now than 100 years ago, AND things such as heat island effects which you did not have 100 years ago have warmed things.  So yes, you absolutely can have an area that is 1 to 1.5 zones warmer than 100-200 years ago.  I'm sure it doesn't happen everywhere, but it does happen. Now has it warmed a zone in the last 20 years, no I'm sure it hasn't.  Take for example a 7b/8a area like Atlanta GA.  150 years ago before urbanization, I could almost guarantee that it was much colder than today.  With today's global warming trends, urbanization, pavements and asphalt jungles that retain heat, without doing the research, I am sure there is a significant difference today.  Just my opinion...

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Alan_Tampa

100 years ago, Citrus in citrus county, after 1962 none, now being planted.  Lychee groves in S. hillsborough county, mango groves in Ybor area (Tampa Bay area) till the 58-62' cold craps.

So, 100 years ago, pre 1880 about like it is today.

20 years is plenty long.  Also, a good number of "artifact" trees in former groves.  Anywhere in the world can be wiped out by something, tsunami, cold, volcano, stinky farts, so why worry?  Larry, the word for you (us) is pragmatist.  A realist usually is pointing a finger, a dreamer has paint on his hands and a pragmatist is just asking for trouble.

Alan

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Alan_Tampa

Also, +-1.5 zones in a microclimate is not impossible.

Alan

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Walt

My view about urban heat islands, for the most part, is that they do in fact modify a given area's climate, i.e. warmer in winter, but mostly for radiational cooling nights only. Once we get a two-day advective freeze event (like Dec. 1989), the heat island effect is mostly negated, due to the heat island giving up retained heat (concrete, asphalt, etc. roads, buildings, etc.). Further, with 20-30 MPH winds, what heat there is in the concrete, asphalt, etc., at the start of the advective event, would be mostly disapated and released too slowly to provide a significant increase in ambient temperature. Hence, I believe the urban heat island effect in central Florida will allow many zone 10 areas for as many years/decades, etc., until we get another Dec. 1989 type of advective event.

My basis for the above, aside that it's just plain physics, is that in my area, all lake areas are a solid zone 10 (this past winter zone 10b) during radiational cooling nights. These areas run 10-15 degrees warmer than at my place just one mile from a lake. However, the last advective freeze in my area of any note was back in January of 2003 (I think the 25th), when my low was 29.5  degrees F, yet, yard temperatures around the lakes was about 31 degrees (as per friends I have living on lake front properties). So, this observation, pretty much proves to me that there's really no safe haven in central Florida, water bodies and urban heat islands notwithstanding, during a Dec. 1989 advective freeze type of event.

Also, the fact that fuel oil fired grove heaters (as per the University of Florida) virtuallly ineffective during advective freeze events supports my above thesis. It will be the windy arctic air freezes that does in the zone 10 areas of central Florida, not radiational freezes.

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spockvr6

(Alan_Tampa @ Sep. 01 2006,18:31)

QUOTE
Also, +-1.5 zones in a microclimate is not impossible.

Alan

Im not sure how far apart one wants to consider when defining microclimates in a given area, but on the colder nights of the year, there generally is a 1.5+ zone differential between the Albert Whitted and Vandenberg reporting stations and they are separated by about 30-35 minutes by car.

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ruskinPalms

(spockvr6 @ Sep. 01 2006,11:09)

QUOTE

(ruskinPalms @ Aug. 31 2006,18:02)

QUOTE
Some pictures of Ficus that I took earlier today in the neighborhood.

Sorry for the very poor quality as I am nervous to take pictures of people's houses and yards....

Ficus elastica:

FicusElastica.jpg

I've read that Ficus don't like frost and freezes but that they can take some and recover. Any guesses on the ages of these trees?

Bill-

Its very hard to tell in that pic (you scare-dy cat...taking pics in peoples yards...LOL)......but is that tree a Magnolia?

Larry, I assure you it is Ficus elastica. It has ariel roots that try to make their way down (if you look hard enough you might be able to see :laugh: ). I know it is likely the most pathetic picture ever posted on this board, but what the heck. Yes, I am scared to photograph other people's yards around here. Ruskin really is wild west. :cool:

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spockvr6

Bill - Here is one of the larger Ficus elasticas around here.  As mentioned above, I havent seen any 50 footers.  This one might be 25-30 ft judging by the 6 ft fence nearby.

elastica1.jpg

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spockvr6

And here are a couple of Royals that appear to be some the oldest I have seen in these parts.  As is evidenced by the trunks....these things have seen some stress.  But, they are still standing......

oldroyals1.jpg

oldroyals2.jpg

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spockvr6

And while we are at it, here are some of the tallest Queens I have ever seen.  These were across the street from the Royals in the photos above.

The oaks in the background provide a good height reference.

tallqueens.jpg

tallqueens2.jpg

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ruskinPalms

(spockvr6 @ Sep. 01 2006,11:11)

QUOTE

(ruskinPalms @ Aug. 31 2006,18:03)

QUOTE
IMG_1087Large.jpg

That is a Ficus for sure!  Check out the arial roots coming down.

Perhaps it is F. macrocarpa?

Maybe it is Ficus citrifolia or Ficus aurea? Possible natives?

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ruskinPalms

(spockvr6 @ Sep. 02 2006,20:44)

QUOTE
And here are a couple of Royals that appear to be some the oldest I have seen in these parts.  As is evidenced by the trunks....these things have seen some stress.  But, they are still standing......

oldroyals1.jpg

oldroyals2.jpg

Larry, there are no royals around here like that, but I might be missing some here and there. How common are royals like that up in Tarpon Springs? I have seen some young royals (5 or 6 years?) growing along a bayou off of the little manatee river near here. And there are several other 2 to 3 year old ones near those along the bayou. I doubt they saw frost last year.

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spockvr6

(ruskinPalms @ Sep. 03 2006,20:40)

QUOTE
Larry, there are no royals around here like that, but I might be missing some here and there. How common are royals like that up in Tarpon Springs? I have seen some young royals (5 or 6 years?) growing along a bayou off of the little manatee river near here. And there are several other 2 to 3 year old ones near those along the bayou. I doubt they saw frost last year.

Bill-

The lion's share around here are also younger....Id guesstimate post 1989?

But, in the warmer areas near the Gulf there are some older ones that appear to have escaped the 1980's, albeit with trunk scars as trophies.  

If you go into areas in the southern part of Pinellas (downtown St. Pete and Pinellas Point), there are Royals that make the ones in my photos above look like seedlings.  Theres no doubt this is the warmest part of the Tampa Bay area.   All the rest of us play a distant second fiddle.  But, in those areas such palms are hardly "cool" as they are too common.

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spockvr6

Bill - Heres another one thats been around awhile.  One can see this one had some stress as well, but overall it looks pretty swank.

Palms_0637.jpg

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spockvr6

Heres what I consider a very impressive Foxtail for this area.  Its quite stout in appearance.

I spoke with the lady who owns it and she told me it was planted about 10 years ago.  So, this one has seen some cold in the past decade (certainly into the 20's) and appears unscarred.

Palms_0617.jpg

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spockvr6

I dont know how long these have been planted...but they sure look good!  I love this house!

Palms_0618a.jpg

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spockvr6

These Royals have also made it awhile and look pretty good.  But, these are literally a few hundred feet from the Gulf and thats cheating!

Palms_0630.jpg

Palms_0629.jpg

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ruskinPalms

(spockvr6 @ Sep. 03 2006,21:00)

QUOTE
Heres what I consider a very impressive Foxtail for this area.  Its quite stout in appearance.

I spoke with the lady who owns it and she told me it was planted about 10 years ago.  So, this one has seen some cold in the past decade (certainly into the 20's) and appears unscarred.

Palms_0617.jpg

Larry, that foxtail is terrifying! I have a few of these planted way too close to my house if they ever get that big. Actually, there are a few planted in downtown Sarasota that rival middle age royals. When I saw those, I thought it would take 50 years of perfect Sarasota weather to get that big, but 10 years?!? I guess my logic was flawed anyway because foxtails really haven't been in cultivation that long (50 years).

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