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Defining a zone

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Ed in Houston

Back in the mid '80, I made a couple of business trips to Orlando. The first year I took a short day trip to an area about 50 miles SE of Orlando. The area was undeveloped and a little swampy. I was interested in observing some of the native habitats of Florida.

After traveling a couple of miles down a dirt road in a very rural area, I came upon an area where bromeliads were

very abundant. There were probably 6-8 varieties and they were very dense. It was quite a site as I had never been in an environment like that before.

The next year, I again made a business trip to Orlando and went back to the same rural area to have another look. It was early spring and that past winter there was bad freeze in Florida, I am guessing it was 1985.

I was amazed to see that about 95% of the bromelaids had died. The ground was littered with the dead rosettes but there were still a few left, more than one species, that had survived the cold spell. I would guess that the same area is once again abundantly decorated with bromeliads.

It was forever etched in my mind from that experience, the ebb and flow of climate zones. One can easily imagine the tropical plants moving north on the peninsula during warm intervals only to be frozen back to a more southerly location with severe cold spells. One obvious parallel in Texas is the increasingly abundance of black mangroves that are becoming more prevalent on the Texas coast now that we have had a couple of decades of mild winters.

Ed in Houston

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spockvr6
Hi Spock - FWIW I think he nailed Pinellas. NE Pinellas can get quite cold east of Lake Tarpon and east of the Pinellas Ridge. Cold air tends to pool there. Remember, in the last freeze, Odessa saw 23F which isn't too far from NE Pinellas. I also think the 10A line is right where it should be. Even before the 1980's freezes, the coconuts at Clearwater beach were wiped-out in 1957 - and that was out on the island. The 1962 freeze scorched all the Australian Pines out on Sand Key & Indian Rocks Beach. So I think the line really has to stop where he has it, and long term, one could argue it might even be a little generous. But I would leave it just as it is.

Yes...east of Lake Tarpon Can get cold...no doubt of this! The temp drops off considerably as one drives east of the Gulf area. But, I am sure that it is not normal for 9A temps to hit the areas just east of US19 every year as I drive through there every morning on the way to work. The same goes for the areas in Citrus Park, etc that are right in the 9A fringe.

I am not far from the 9A line on the map, and Ive never measured 9A temps since Ive been here (9 years). Its only been below what would be classified as 10A once that I can recall (2003).

It all depends on what this map is supposed to represent. If its all time lows...then the map will look quite different than the average. Andf of course, how one defines "average" also makes a difference (i.e. number of years of data). This is why my signature states "9b/10a" :mrlooney:

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spockvr6
Remember, in the last freeze, Odessa saw 23F which isn't too far from NE Pinellas.

If you mean 23F in the last cold front a few weeks ago, a 23F in Odessa might have been an "outlier" reading. I am not sure that would have been representative of the area as a whole. Perhaps it was in the area of Odessa which reaches into Pasco county. The temps drop off quickly out that way.

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_Keith

In the Zone borderline areas, the zone can literally change neighborhood by neighborhood, if not even house to house. On the zone edges, microclimates often make all the difference in the world.

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_Keith
Hi Spock - FWIW I think he nailed Pinellas. NE Pinellas can get quite cold east of Lake Tarpon and east of the Pinellas Ridge. Cold air tends to pool there. Remember, in the last freeze, Odessa saw 23F which isn't too far from NE Pinellas. I also think the 10A line is right where it should be. Even before the 1980's freezes, the coconuts at Clearwater beach were wiped-out in 1957 - and that was out on the island. The 1962 freeze scorched all the Australian Pines out on Sand Key & Indian Rocks Beach. So I think the line really has to stop where he has it, and long term, one could argue it might even be a little generous. But I would leave it just as it is.

Yes...east of Lake Tarpon Can get cold...no doubt of this! The temp drops off considerably as one drives east of the Gulf area. But, I am sure that it is not normal for 9A temps to hit the areas just east of US19 every year as I drive through there every morning on the way to work. The same goes for the areas in Citrus Park, etc that are right in the 9A fringe.

I am not far from the 9A line on the map, and Ive never measured 9A temps since Ive been here (9 years). Its only been below what would be classified as 10A once that I can recall (2003).

It all depends on what this map is supposed to represent. If its all time lows...then the map will look quite different than the average. Andf of course, how one defines "average" also makes a difference (i.e. number of years of data). This is why my signature states "9b/10a" :mrlooney:

I agree Larry. The Zone lines are not meant to be literal. It is not like you cross line in the sand (or a highway) and it suddenly changes from Zone ?a to Zone ?b. It is all very approximate at best.

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surgeon83
I suspect that much of the interbay peninsula in Tampa is also 10a (barring some cold readings reported by some members in this area).

:winkie:

I want to believe its true, I promise! I even convinced myself in December that it didn't get down to 34 when TPA said 41 even when my banana was scorched and coconut had 50% burn, both out in the open.

BUT I will say that areas close to the water and/or under canopy (like Ray's place) have plenty of large 10a+ palms that are still as of yet undamaged this year. Even under canopy in my own yard, I have a 6' Veitchia that didn't show ANY sign of distress until a few spots showed up after the 8th or 10th night in the mid-low thirties. But come on, it would be like not breaking a sweat after running 50 miles in the sun in 90 degree weather!

Point is, except for my yard, there are thousands of z10 indicator palms throughout south tampa that have been there a decade plus.

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_Keith
I suspect that much of the interbay peninsula in Tampa is also 10a (barring some cold readings reported by some members in this area).

:winkie:

I want to believe its true, I promise! I even convinced myself in December that it didn't get down to 34 when TPA said 41 even when my banana was scorched and coconut had 50% burn, both out in the open.

BUT I will say that areas close to the water and/or under canopy (like Ray's place) have plenty of large 10a+ palms that are still as of yet undamaged this year. Even under canopy in my own yard, I have a 6' Veitchia that didn't show ANY sign of distress until a few spots showed up after the 8th or 10th night in the mid-low thirties. But come on, it would be like not breaking a sweat after running 50 miles in the sun in 90 degree weather!

Point is, except for my yard, there are thousands of z10 indicator palms throughout south tampa that have been there a decade plus.

Sometimes it takes a few warm years in a row to get stuff large and healthy enough to recover from the occaisional cool winter.

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Jimbean
I would appreciate any suggestions and or criticisms! Thanks

Well...since you asked...... :mrlooney:

Id say the 9A line into north Pinellas is too severe. I dont think it gets anywhere near that close to the coast.

And, based on whats growing, Id say the 10a line extends further up the coast of Pinellas. I also suspect that much of the interbay peninsula in Tampa is also 10a (barring some cold readings reported by some members in this area).

I see that you are quite savvy and detail oriented in including Pine Island and Sanibel in the 10b shading. IMO, these are the warmest west coast locales.

About Pinellas county, where is the Brazilian peppertree line in the bay area do you think?

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spockvr6
About Pinellas county, where is the Brazilian peppertree line in the bay area do you think?

Im not sure...other than saying they are everywhere!

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Dave-Vero

Except in the Keys, Florida's native tropical trees are always in some stage of recovery from the last freeze. The distributions of these tropicals have some consistent patterns--species do sneak up the coasts. But there are quite a lot of inconsistencies between species. So gumbo-limbos, Simpson stoppers, Trema trees, and other such tropicals don't provide really reliable data on climates.

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Jimbean
Except in the Keys, Florida's native tropical trees are always in some stage of recovery from the last freeze. The distributions of these tropicals have some consistent patterns--species do sneak up the coasts. But there are quite a lot of inconsistencies between species. So gumbo-limbos, Simpson stoppers, Trema trees, and other such tropicals don't provide really reliable data on climates.

Of all things, I have always thought that documenting the size, growth rate, and occurrence of wild tropical trees would provide the best information on deciding on what is hardy where.

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Jimbean
Except in the Keys, Florida's native tropical trees are always in some stage of recovery from the last freeze. The distributions of these tropicals have some consistent patterns--species do sneak up the coasts. But there are quite a lot of inconsistencies between species. So gumbo-limbos, Simpson stoppers, Trema trees, and other such tropicals don't provide really reliable data on climates.

If you are saying that my methods are not good, what do you think are better methods?

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happ

Just realized the network of stations reported on Weather Underground has really grown & nicely define micro-climates: http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findwe...uSelect=WEATHER

Ridges\ high hills are the mildest [close to 20 degrees warmer during winter] then lowland ravines\ canyons\ valleys. Sort of perverse writing about warm winter minimum temps during the current cold spell in Florida since frost is the deal breaker for subtropical plants. But cold nights\ 40's for several weeks does a number on certain species that burn palm fronds as bad as frost. Vietchia has been planted here & there around town but honestly they only look good for half the year & the slowest palm for me.

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_Keith
Except in the Keys, Florida's native tropical trees are always in some stage of recovery from the last freeze. The distributions of these tropicals have some consistent patterns--species do sneak up the coasts. But there are quite a lot of inconsistencies between species. So gumbo-limbos, Simpson stoppers, Trema trees, and other such tropicals don't provide really reliable data on climates.

If you are saying that my methods are not good, what do you think are better methods?

I'll quote Sheryl Crow, if it makes you happy, it can't be that bad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vA-PcyACc40

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Dave-Vero

I recall visiting Fairchild Tropical Garden after the 1989 freeze. Damage wasn't bad, though there were plenty of brown leaves.

Tree size in Florida can be awkward. Things grow faster in Miami-Dade than in the Keys due to greater rainfall and perhaps better fertility. Tropical Trail on Merritt Island in Brevard County has surprisingly large gumbo limbos, although if you look carefully, you'll see freeze damage from the 1980s. At Cocoa Beach, gumbos simply perished.

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_Keith
I recall visiting Fairchild Tropical Garden after the 1989 freeze. Damage wasn't bad, though there were plenty of brown leaves.

Tree size in Florida can be awkward. Things grow faster in Miami-Dade than in the Keys due to greater rainfall and perhaps better fertility. Tropical Trail on Merritt Island in Brevard County has surprisingly large gumbo limbos, although if you look carefully, you'll see freeze damage from the 1980s. At Cocoa Beach, gumbos simply perished.

In South Florida, it is not freezes that limit the size, but thunderstorms and ultimately hurricanes.

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Jimbean
I recall visiting Fairchild Tropical Garden after the 1989 freeze. Damage wasn't bad, though there were plenty of brown leaves.

Tree size in Florida can be awkward. Things grow faster in Miami-Dade than in the Keys due to greater rainfall and perhaps better fertility. Tropical Trail on Merritt Island in Brevard County has surprisingly large gumbo limbos, although if you look carefully, you'll see freeze damage from the 1980s. At Cocoa Beach, gumbos simply perished.

There are some good sized gumbo limbos in Cape Canaveral.

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Jimbean

Alright, here is my new zone map:

II.gif

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Jimbean

sdfgsfdg.gif

Alright, who wants to criticize? Criticisms are welcome!

...and I am not done either!

Edited by Jimbean

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spockvr6
sdfgsfdg.gif

Alright, who wants to criticize? Criticisms are welcome!

...and I am not done either!

Your task is an impossible one! So, Ill just applaud your efforts!

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TampaPalms

spockvr6 , hello, I was wondering how all the palms fared this cold winter that you posted 2006 on? I know when I visited my mother ( I am moving back to FL) in Hernando Cty there was allot of burned palms....manly queens and washies....I know N Hillsborough Cty there was damage to Bismarcks and other zone pushers....

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