Jump to content

Houston we have a problem


Ed in Houston
 Share

Recommended Posts

The Houston forecast has three days of hard freezes of low to mid 20's, with the coldest being Friday night. Houston is a pretty big place and I expect that over the city the temperatures will range from about 19 to 26 with 80% of the area being in the 21-24 range. It is likely that this will be the coldest since 1989.

During the last 20 years, Houston has experienced a lot of growth with the attending new landscapes to go with the new development that has taken place. Over the last 20 years, two palm have become ubiquitous, queens and pygmy dates. The "tropical look" of Houston is dominated by these in many areas. Of coarse there are many Sabals, Meds, CID, Butia and other "hardy" palms.

It looks possible during this freeze that the Houston tropical landscape look could change over much of the city. The pygmy dates and many of the queens are at risk of being frozen out. We will see how it goes but Houston will look a lot different w/o the queens pygmy dates.

Ed in Houston

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ed,

The Cape would like to hand off control of the COLD to Houston,isn't that what is supposed to happen after clearing the pad???

Good luck out there guys...it looks to be rough one!!

Scott

Titusville, FL

1/2 mile from the Indian River

USDA Zone COLD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Houston forecast has three days of hard freezes of low to mid 20's, with the coldest being Friday night. Houston is a pretty big place and I expect that over the city the temperatures will range from about 19 to 26 with 80% of the area being in the 21-24 range. It is likely that this will be the coldest since 1989.

During the last 20 years, Houston has experienced a lot of growth with the attending new landscapes to go with the new development that has taken place. Over the last 20 years, two palm have become ubiquitous, queens and pygmy dates. The "tropical look" of Houston is dominated by these in many areas. Of coarse there are many Sabals, Meds, CID, Butia and other "hardy" palms.

It looks possible during this freeze that the Houston tropical landscape look could change over much of the city. The pygmy dates and many of the queens are at risk of being frozen out. We will see how it goes but Houston will look a lot different w/o the queens pygmy dates.

Ed in Houston

Same here, Ed. I call it the de-tropical-ization of South Louisiana. We've been on a good warm 9b run for many years.

In my post I sometimes express "my" opinion. Warning, it may differ from "your" opinion. If so, please do not feel insulted, just state your own if you wish. Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or any other damages

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ed, I think the P. roebs will be the hardest hit, probably won't be many of them left. The Queens may fair better. Even if they pull spears and look like crap, they have a tendency to bounce back when the weather warms. Good luck.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In New Orleans in early January 2002, the temperature got down to 22ºF at least two nights in a row with ice/sleet and didn't get above freezing during the day in between. Did it not get this cold in Houston around the same time?

The temperature is predicted to be 55/37 Thursday, 37/23 Friday and 38/24 Saturday. So far it looks okay as far as participation on the coldest days, but I'm not taking any chances. I just spent the last few hours bringing in pots (a few palms but mostly bromeliads) and covering my roebelenii palms - everything else is on its own. My toes are numb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We lost a lot the last cold spell and this one is worse. We have max protection now. Everything is about as wrapped up as we can get them. Lot of x-lights, shop lights with 40w bulbs, 100 of yards of frost cloth. My wife and I have made up our minds that what ever we lose we will not replace with more of the same. We are about fed up with fighting mother nature. You just can't win. Anyway, I have my fingers crossed an hope it is not as bad as predicted.

Houston, Texas

29.8649°N - 95.6521°W

Elevation 114.8 ft

Sunset zone 28

USDA zone 9a

Average maximum high temperature 93.60 F

Average maximum low temperature 45.20 F

The annual average precipitation is 53.34 Inches

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kathryn, it did get down around 24 or so in Jan 2002 in Houston, but I believe it was dry and only one night. I was away at school at Auburn at the time so I can't say how much damage it did but I do remember my parents having to run out and cover their hibiscus and other tropicals.

As for this event, it sure looks like it could be a landscape changer. The forecast has fluctuated some over the past couple of days, but my zipcode i supposed to get 47/27, 38/23, 38/27 (weather.com). Those highs and lows are about 3 degrees warmer than they were reporting yesterday. We can only hope that trend holds or continues.

Most of the pygmies here are already burned badly from the snow/ice and mid to upper 20s on 12/4. So I imagine most of them, unless substantial protection is provided, will be toast after this. The queens may not fare much better than the pygmies, but some of the larger and older ones may pull through. I think if we can avoid the sub-22 temperatures then most of the Washies, Phoenix (canarensis and sylvestris), and Livistonas (chinensis and decora) should at least survive. The sabals, butias, and trachies shouldn't mind this too much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife and I have made up our minds that what ever we lose we will not replace with more of the same. We are about fed up with fighting mother nature. You just can't win. Anyway, I have my fingers crossed an hope it is not as bad as predicted.

Amen to that. Whatever doesn't make in my yard will be replaced with a pindo, sabal, trachy, phoenix, filifera, etc that can handle down to the teens without protection. I'm sick of being glued to weather forecasts in the winter and having to run out and spend what little daylight we have this time of year scrambling to protect trees that just don't stand a chance of surviving here in the long term.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done the same thing - replacing plants with less tropical ones as they die. I even ripped up a Bismarckia and Majesty palm a few years ago because they got damaged at 28 and I knew the would die when we eventually got into the lower 20's, which happens every 5 to 10 years around here. In the beginning, I pushed the limits but now I would prefer to have something that will last long term.

I have Caryota maxima himalaya planted on the south side of my house that is over the roof now. It will be interesting to see what happens to it.

Last night the weather guy said that this will be the coldest air we've had since February 1996, so I guess it will be worse than the freeze of Jan 2002. I'm hoping he is wrong and the forecast changes before Friday - not only for the plants but also for me. Brrrrr.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife and I have made up our minds that what ever we lose we will not replace with more of the same. We are about fed up with fighting mother nature. You just can't win. Anyway, I have my fingers crossed an hope it is not as bad as predicted.

Amen to that. Whatever doesn't make in my yard will be replaced with a pindo, sabal, trachy, phoenix, filifera, etc that can handle down to the teens without protection. I'm sick of being glued to weather forecasts in the winter and having to run out and spend what little daylight we have this time of year scrambling to protect trees that just don't stand a chance of surviving here in the long term.

Same decision I made a few years back. And one I don't regret.

In my post I sometimes express "my" opinion. Warning, it may differ from "your" opinion. If so, please do not feel insulted, just state your own if you wish. Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or any other damages

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We lost a lot the last cold spell and this one is worse. We have max protection now. Everything is about as wrapped up as we can get them. Lot of x-lights, shop lights with 40w bulbs, 100 of yards of frost cloth. My wife and I have made up our minds that what ever we lose we will not replace with more of the same. We are about fed up with fighting mother nature. You just can't win. Anyway, I have my fingers crossed an hope it is not as bad as predicted.

I know how you guys feel about that what. If i lose anything to this cold event then thats when i will kiss my hobby good bye its just too much stress and worrying over

something you can't control over and it gets very old then again who knows but.....time will tell. I wish you guys luck

Matthew Albach

Pinellas Park FLorida

USDA zone 10a

sunset zone 26

heat zone   10

mostly frost free most years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If i lose anything to this cold event then thats when i will kiss my hobby good bye its just too much stress and worrying over

something you can't control over and it gets very old then again who knows but.....time will tell. I wish you guys luck

Hobby? What hobby? You can talk big all you want, but when it comes down to it, you won't be able to stop buying palms. It's an addiction. Just wait til spring and you'll be itchin' to buy more palms. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If i lose anything to this cold event then thats when i will kiss my hobby good bye its just too much stress and worrying over

something you can't control over and it gets very old then again who knows but.....time will tell. I wish you guys luck

Hobby? What hobby? You can talk big all you want, but when it comes down to it, you won't be able to stop buying palms. It's an addiction. Just wait til spring and you'll be itchin' to buy more palms. :)

LOL yeah you got a point there :mrlooney:

Matthew Albach

Pinellas Park FLorida

USDA zone 10a

sunset zone 26

heat zone   10

mostly frost free most years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure the roebeleniis will be killed outright in virtually all Gulf-state areas with this freeze. At least in my experience, these are among the most tender palms commonly employed in landscapes in this region. I quit fooling with them after losing several in moderate freezes to low/mid-20s. They defoliate at the first glance of frost and mid-20s generally kills the buds here with a decent killing freeze.

This is obviously a freeze of uncommon duration. It is 27F here at 2pm and we'll be lucky to see 30 today. The low was a modest 23.1F this morning, but with probably 42 hours below freezing here and a low tonight probably right around 18-20, and similar numbers found everywhere, my guess is that all the marginal materials are going to be tested strenuously. Nevertheless this is not (or perhaps barely) a zone-busting event, but this shows why you can't go by annual minima alone in determining hardiness...since duration has a big effect. This will test my big Bismarckia this year, which has flown through low 20s in the past with just cosmetic damage, but not with this duration.

I saw that Corpus Christi froze this a.m. Even at 2pm temps right along the Mexican border near the coast are 33-34F. This can't be good news for the Cocos there, nor for the Roystonea and Wodyetia that have been planted recent years in Houston.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a fact of life in a continental subtropical climate that every so often some plants will have to be replaced. On the bright side, it supports our nursery industry and allows in many cases for wiser choices to be made. Replace dead Queens with one of the many beautiful cocoid hybrids available. And why not plant a Lytocaryum instead of a P. roebelenii next time? It's beautiful, has a similar effect, and is several degrees hardier, at least in my trials here. And if you just have to have another Queen or roebelenii, don't worry, the nurseries and Big Box stores will have them by the millions again this spring!!

Michael Norell

Rancho Mirage, California | 33°44' N 116°25' W | 293 ft | z10a | avg Jan 44/70F | Jul 80/108F avg | Weather Station KCARANCH310

previously Big Pine Key, Florida | 24°40' N 81°21' W | 4.5 ft. | z12a | Calcareous substrate | avg annual min. approx 52F | avg Jan 65/75F | Jul 83/90 | extreme min approx 41F

previously Natchez, Mississippi | 31°33' N 91°24' W | 220 ft.| z9a | Downtown/river-adjacent | Loess substrate | avg annual min. 23F | Jan 43/61F | Jul 73/93F | extreme min 2.5F (1899)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The wind went almost calm overnight in Houston and temps ranged from about 20 to 25. In my yard temps ranged from 22-24. The forecast for Houston is low 20s again for tonight. It looks as though many of the queen palms might make it. I expec that a lot of the pygmy dates will die if they were left unprotected in the open. However I also think that many pygmies will surtvive if they were given some cover or if they are growing under the canopy of large trees.

Ed in Houston

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The wind went almost calm overnight in Houston and temps ranged from about 20 to 25. In my yard temps ranged from 22-24. The forecast for Houston is low 20s again for tonight. It looks as though many of the queen palms might make it. I expec that a lot of the pygmy dates will die if they were left unprotected in the open. However I also think that many pygmies will surtvive if they were given some cover or if they are growing under the canopy of large trees.

Ed in Houston

Bottomed out at 22.6 over here Ed, but with forecast lows of 21 tonight and tomorrow night as well. Its sure gonna look different around here next year. A whole lot less tropical for sure.

In my post I sometimes express "my" opinion. Warning, it may differ from "your" opinion. If so, please do not feel insulted, just state your own if you wish. Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or any other damages

Link to comment
Share on other sites

keith, I know where you can get the hook up on new stuff!!! :)

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

Abraham Lincoln

The way of the transgressor is hard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got down to 19.8F in Pearland (288 @ Beltway 8) under clear skies and calm wind. I think some queens may survive this, but many will not. If it were a one night event they would fare much better, but 3 consecutive nights in the 18-24 range with a daytime high of only 34.5F in the middle is going to be very tough on them. Larger, healthy specimens stand a chance, but I'm afraid many of the smaller, weaker, or newly planted ones will not. And as you mentioned Ed, queens have been planted all over Houston lately so it may be a little ugly for while. Hopefully the non-palm-nuts don't just give up on growing palms here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we got down to about 27 here, in Weslaco, some spotty damage on a few things, the major losers are royals, pygmys, foxtails, bottle palms and spindle palms, I have a hyphaene that took a hickey too!!

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

Abraham Lincoln

The way of the transgressor is hard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tad....now I see the reason for the look on your avitar. Do you think the species you mentioned will survive?

Michael, I agree with everything you said in your post......now I just need to research Lytocaryum's......I'm not familiar with it.

I imagine various hybrids will sell strong after this event.

Good luck tonight

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hit 25.5 last night, In looking at the yard, almost everything has the blowtorch effect. Everything will certainly look different around here next spring. The foxtails, kings, and travelers palm all look the worst, with the king looking like its not got a speck of green left, I wrapped them with a blanket and christmas lights, so I am optomistic, theyll regrow from the spear!! and to think my travelers palm just started blooming this year, oh well itll give me an excuse to thin out the potted palms and make them into yard palms. (did I mention I have a carpoxylon out in this cold?)

I feel extra sorry for all the people all over this island that had their landscape trashed by ike, and replanted with quite a bit more tropical stuff than they had before (ive never seen so many royals and foxtails) to only have it totally trashed by this random cold event!

Allen

Galveston Island Tx

9a/9b

8' Elevation

Sandy Soil

Jan Avgs 50/62

Jul Avgs 80/89

Average Annual Rainfall 43.5"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

keith, I know where you can get the hook up on new stuff!!! :)

My wife and I were just talking about a trip your way, maybe this early summer. It would be great to meet you.

In my post I sometimes express "my" opinion. Warning, it may differ from "your" opinion. If so, please do not feel insulted, just state your own if you wish. Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or any other damages

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ed in Houston and Big Tex.

Unfortunately, Ed I think you are correct about the landscape changing. My temp last night 18 F. thursday night was 24 F. and tonight ( saturday ) prediction is for 20 F with the freezing temps lasting an average of 12 hours each day. So much for my borderline palms more than likely, even with protection.

Big Tex you have a good idea, forget the palms which are not able to take these types of freezes. Just about did myself in trying to get everything ready for this artic blast.

Also, sending my best hopes for all of you Floridians that have had to cope with this cold situation. When I saw some of the temps reported for tampa and west palm beach, I could hardley believe it.

Marvin

Southern Waller County, Texas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The wind went almost calm overnight in Houston and temps ranged from about 20 to 25. In my yard temps ranged from 22-24. The forecast for Houston is low 20s again for tonight. It looks as though many of the queen palms might make it. I expec that a lot of the pygmy dates will die if they were left unprotected in the open. However I also think that many pygmies will surtvive if they were given some cover or if they are growing under the canopy of large trees.

Ed in Houston

Bottomed out at 22.6 over here Ed, but with forecast lows of 21 tonight and tomorrow night as well. Its sure gonna look different around here next year. A whole lot less tropical for sure.

First time I visited New Orleans a few years ago, I was quite surprised with the amount of tropicalish plantings in commercial and residential areas. . .it's definitely a shame that so much of it will be wiped out. Though I hope people give things a chance to rebound before pulling stuff out, just in case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hit 25.5 last night, In looking at the yard, almost everything has the blowtorch effect. Everything will certainly look different around here next spring. The foxtails, kings, and travelers palm all look the worst, with the king looking like its not got a speck of green left, I wrapped them with a blanket and christmas lights, so I am optomistic, theyll regrow from the spear!! and to think my travelers palm just started blooming this year, oh well itll give me an excuse to thin out the potted palms and make them into yard palms. (did I mention I have a carpoxylon out in this cold?)

I feel extra sorry for all the people all over this island that had their landscape trashed by ike, and replanted with quite a bit more tropical stuff than they had before (ive never seen so many royals and foxtails) to only have it totally trashed by this random cold event!

Allen,

That is the very same thing that I thought, to get blasted by the hurricane and now this artic blast with record setting cold for you all in Galveston. It saddens my heart, as I love Galveston, having spent many enjoyable days and nights there. Good luck to you and everyone else there as they pick up the pieces .

Marvin

Southern Waller County

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well we survived another night, we are digging a load of canary island date palms, sylvestris, and dacts, headed to a retailer in Htown, arrival wednesday morning bright n early!!!!!

David, they will survive, but I wont be selling any giant field grown royals till late summer!! they will lok toasted for a while!!

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

Abraham Lincoln

The way of the transgressor is hard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I never had an opportunity to post my pictures on the old December snow thread but I will add some here in the coming days.

The December freeze pretty-much wiped-out my small shrubs and bushes (Hibiscus, Florida Gardenia, etc.)

My Majesty Palms survived (wrapped) and my Pygmy Dates had leaf burn but also survived the December freeze.

For this freeze, it remains to be seen. I hit 19F on two mornings.

I have 4 Majesty Palms with trunks ranging from 7 ft - 2ft tall. The two largers ones - I wrapped and had a propane heater going on them the last 4 nights. The other two were just wrapped. I'm not optimistic on the two smaller ones that were only wrapped.

One Pygmy date was wrapped and the other was not. There was only so much I could do but they are not too far from the heaters. We shall see...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are there any majesty palms in the Houston area? This is one palm that has surprised me so far - the few small ones in my neighborhood don't look too bad. That might change over the next few weeks, but encouraging for now. There are some larger ones in Metairie and New Orleans that I will check out during the next few weeks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are there any majesty palms in the Houston area? This is one palm that has surprised me so far - the few small ones in my neighborhood don't look too bad. That might change over the next few weeks, but encouraging for now. There are some larger ones in Metairie and New Orleans that I will check out during the next few weeks.

Yes, there are quite a few around town that have done well the past several years. Mostly small ones though - they are usually sold as a "houseplant" in the tropicals section.

There is a small one my neighbor has unprotected and the fronds are all toast - too early to tell if it will survive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny how quickly perspectives change. I just looked at the weather to see we still have lows of 30 tonight and 29 tomorrow night being forecast, and I thought, "that's nothing."

In my post I sometimes express "my" opinion. Warning, it may differ from "your" opinion. If so, please do not feel insulted, just state your own if you wish. Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or any other damages

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny how quickly perspectives change. I just looked at the weather to see we still have lows of 30 tonight and 29 tomorrow night being forecast, and I thought, "that's nothing."

Yeah, I pulled the covers off my Majesty Palms last night. It hit 31F at my house but they get that all the time.

I am very cautiously optimistic they MAY have survived. All of my spears looked intact (did not pull). I do have fungus on the palms and I have treated them with a fungicide with copper, so hopefully they will make it.

I think my unwrapped Pygymy Date is toast though. I have even noticed some Mexican fan palms in the area have browned. You know it got cold when you see that!

I'll know more in a few days and will post a full update w/ pics.

Edited by jasons
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...