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December 2010 thread


Trópico

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Well, I tied my all-time low temperature record around 7:10 this morning, when my Oregon Scientific digital thermometer bottomed out at 22.1 degrees. Further, by some quirk or freak of nature (maybe a wind directional change) the temperature at my place rapidly dropped down to 27.9 around 7:00 last night. An hour later, though, the temperature ticked back up to 31.1, and then slowly fell as nighttime progressed. (Both the Sebring and Palmdale FAWN stations also had this sudden fall and then rise in temperature, but at different times.)

My previous all-time low (22 degrees) came on the morning of January 5, 2001. Heavy frost was everywhere. However, and it now appears luckily, there was no visible frost that I could see this morning, I guess because the dew/frost point was too low. As such, I didn't incur near the foliage damage I thought I would ultimately wake up to (I was up maybe five times over the night, going out and checking my protection stuff and heater in greenhouse).

Late this afternoon I did a walk-around the property and only found slightly more damage from the previous three sub 30 degree nights I had in the last eight days. My large Ravenala madagasgarcariensis finally got fried. Some Monstera vines got some spotting. P. selloums in the total open got fried while others in more sheltered areas didn't. Of course, only time coupled with warmer weather will tell if in fact there is latent cold damage to stuff that still looks okay today.

So the upshot is, I think for the most part I dodged the bullet, having so many nights already in the 20s. But this was, IMO, attributable to at least two factors: little or no frost; a slow build up of progressively colder nights allowing my palms and tropicals to somewhat acclimate. Also, it always runs warmer in my protected areas (lightly wooded areas where there's more canopy and wind blocks). I estimate these areas ran around 29-30 degrees.

Up the hill in town dropped to 36-37 degrees, as did close to the lakes (as per person I know who lives near a large lake).

The below photo is the low temperature readout on my digital thermometer base station. The second photo shows where I had the transmitting sensor placed: in a pillow case hanging from a support rung on a 6-feet step ladder. I estimate the sensor was close to four feet above the ground.

Lowtemp12-15-10of221degrees.jpg

Digitalthermometeronladder.jpg

Coldprotection10-15-10.jpg

Mad about palms

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Colddamagedbottlepalm.jpg

Above: Bottle palm's fronds fried. Hopefully, the double wraped mover's quilt and flannel pillow cases insulated the base and meristem enough so the palm won't be killed.

Colddamagedcoconutpalm10-15-10.jpg

Above: My 30K BTU kerosene fired forced-air heater was no match for 22.1 degrees F! I used the heater to try and keep at least some of the fronds green so that they can be utilized for photosynthesis come spring. In any event, I did protect the trunk and meristem with heating cables and wraps (mover's quilt).

Palmtrunkcoldprotection10-15-10.jpg

Above: Dypsis leptocheilos and Archontophoenix alexandrae. These palms have become too tall for me to wrap the crowns, so I only protected the trunks and meristem with heating cables and flannel sheets, getting about 3-4 wraps out of one sheet. I've found this protection method will keep the palms' trunks and meristems from being killed or seriously cold damaged, and new crowns regrow in the spring and summer.

Frontyardcoldprotection.jpg

Above: General view of wrapped adonidia palm at corner of house and wrapped bottle palm in front yard bed, plus covered ixora shrubs. Both the adonidia and bottle palm are protected with heating cables and layers of flannel sheets and/or queen sized quilted mattress covers (which make great insulation). I found the the crown shaft of adonidia and that all parts of the bottle palm must first be wrapped using flannel sheets or suitable insulation covering so that heating cables don't make direct contact to the tissues, as the tissue will eventually scorch after about 5-6 hours of cable contact. Cables contacting the trunks of other palms (and the adonidia) are okay. I generally use a terry cloth towel to cover the crownshafts before applying the heating cables.

Mad about palms

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WOW you poor guys really go to a lot of trouble :unsure:

Michael in palm paradise,

Tully, wet tropics in Australia, over 4 meters of rain every year.

Home of the Golden Gumboot, its over 8m high , our record annual rainfall.

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Just on the basis of his (Alexander's) one post (above), I will give him the benefit of the doubt and infer that he only meant he's frustrated with his country's own cold/freezing condition and feels because Florida is now experiencing what he has/is experiencing, he feels 'justice' in the sense that the world (mother nature) is spreading the pain around -- and that his comment "At least there is some justice in the world..." was a poor choice word description as Floridians could make a negative inference to something not intentionally implied.

You know the old cliche "Misery loves company." (Difficulty or pain is easier to take if you know you are not alone in the experience.)

All it will take is a reply from Alexander to resolve the issue. Either he mean what he said in jest or he didn't.

I don't think so Walt. You're basing this on one single post. Look at what this schmuck put on Bubba's "Proof of life" thread. Bubba's a pretty even keeled guy and even he took offense.

Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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So, who is out there that has been doing this protecting routine for over 10 years? I did it for a good 6 years, probably 8, till I said enough is enough. I let them all go. Now, when they say 25, I just pour a little wine, sit back and enjoy the evening with no second thoughts and no regrets.

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

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Just on the basis of his (Alexander's) one post (above), I will give him the benefit of the doubt and infer that he only meant he's frustrated with his country's own cold/freezing condition and feels because Florida is now experiencing what he has/is experiencing, he feels 'justice' in the sense that the world (mother nature) is spreading the pain around -- and that his comment "At least there is some justice in the world..." was a poor choice word description as Floridians could make a negative inference to something not intentionally implied.

You know the old cliche "Misery loves company." (Difficulty or pain is easier to take if you know you are not alone in the experience.)

All it will take is a reply from Alexander to resolve the issue. Either he mean what he said in jest or he didn't.

I don't think so Walt. You're basing this on one single post. Look at what this schmuck put on Bubba's "Proof of life" thread. Bubba's a pretty even keeled guy and even he took offense.

Ray Re: You're basing this on one single post.

Your right, Ray. That's why I qualified my opinion, just basing it on the context of his one post. I haven't looked at his other posts, other than one on another thread that seemed innocuos to me. One responder in this thread said he thought it just might be a tranlation issue, which may well be the case.

Again, since posters here took offense to Alexander's comment -- and stated as much --the easist way to clear things up one way or the other is for Alexander to answer yours et al comments.

Mad about palms

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So, who is out there that has been doing this protecting routine for over 10 years? I did it for a good 6 years, probably 8, till I said enough is enough. I let them all go. Now, when they say 25, I just pour a little wine, sit back and enjoy the evening with no second thoughts and no regrets.

I've been doing it (cold protection) for 12 years. I do it because I like being the only game in town (my neighborhood) that has the palm species I have, and for the personal pleasure I get from having and looking at them.

Many of the more tender species of palms I have wouldn't have near the value and meaning to me if I lived in a climate where every Tom, Dick, and Harry could grow them.

In my USDA zone 9b, most winters, but not even all of them, it's just the matter of one friggin winter night that can seriously hurt or possible kill a substantial number of palms in my palm collection. I'm not going to set back on my butt for just one night out of the year and watch my prized palms destroyed. I feel it's a small price to pay for the enjoyment of the other 364 days of the year.

But the above being said, I may in fact in the future open a bottle of wine (or beer, etc.) because of late my winters have went from a one-night event to a dozen events, each winter event employing various degrees of PITA palm protection. That's why I vowed to my wife that what ever palms I lose to winter cold this winter will be the last. They will not be replaced in kind, but with cold hardy species if I in fact replace them at all.

After 12 years of this stuff, I now realize I can't fight Mother Nature and Father Time indefinitel. They are going to eventually win.

Mad about palms

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This is truly pathetic. It's now 30.4 degrees at my place at 9:38 and 28 degrees at Archbold Biological Station, 8 miles south of me! And the weather guy said it was only going down to 34 tonight. But he did say the temps may rise during the latter night as the high pressure system moved east.

Mad about palms

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Dang Walt, you are really taking it this year. Glad you said something, thing I'll put the heat back on my plants.

Best of luck!

Alan

Tampa, Florida

Zone - 10a

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look at fawn right now 58 (time is 22:28) at jay (in the panhandle, 36 in homestead! Wait! What?

Alan

Tampa, Florida

Zone - 10a

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Well if you look what damage they had in the UK or Europe! I guess just grow a bit hardier palms and you are fine! Should not be the first time you get some frost there! But during the day you still get 15C to 20C and some places warmer! For me that springweather!

Well maybe the cold climate here makes people sinical! In some parts here in Europe people froze to dead, so only a few burnt palms...

Alexander

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Wakehurst, south of London must be a mess. They're showing a picture of a snowman.

For my yard, the 26 degree freeze has been worse than all of last winter. Two Satakentias are toast. They were recovering from last year's loss of leaves and almost certainly will have to be removed, Archontophoenix tuckeri have leaf damage. The Chamaedoreas and (of all things) Dypsis decaryi and D. carlsmithii are looking fine. D. plumosa, too.

Fla. climate center: 100-119 days>85 F
USDA 1990 hardiness zone 9B
Current USDA hardiness zone 10a
4 km inland from Indian River; 27º N (equivalent to Brisbane)

Central Orlando's urban heat island may be warmer than us

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And count your blessing downthere in Florida!

Alexander

I am counting my blessings. 32.4F on tuesday morning and just barely broke 35F this morning. Thats probably like a summer morning where you're at, but we're just a bunch of babies down here in Florida. ?? But seriously, i think i made it through relatively unscathed compared to some of the others in the sunshine state.

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I got up at 4 a.m. to crank my greenhouse heater up one heat setting. My thermometer in the greenhouse read 40 degrees. My outside thermometer read 26.1 degrees. I'm in a cold pocket here in Highlands County. Not the coldest pocket mind you, but cold nevertheless compared to the high ground and lake areas.

Right now at 4:31 a.m. it's 26.4. I suppose I will be a couple of degrees warmer this morning at day break than I was yesterda at 22.1 degrees.

Mad about palms

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The weather in Moscow, Russia at the moment.

Moscow, Moscow region (PWS) Updated: 12 min 43 sec ago snow.gif 15.1 °F / -9.4 °C Light Snow Windchill: 15 °F / -9 °C Humidity: 68% Dew Point: 7 °F / -14 °C Wind: - from the North Pressure: 29.18 in / 988.0 hPa (Steady) Visibility: 6.2 miles / 10.0 kilometers UV: 0 out of 16 Clouds: Mostly Cloudy 1300 ft / 396 m Mostly Cloudy 10000 ft / 3048 m (Above Ground Level)

Don Kittelson

 

LIFE ON THE RIO NEGRO

03° 06' 07'' South 60° 01' 30'' West

Altitude 92 Meters / 308 feet above sea level

1,500 kms / 932 miles to the mouth of the Amazon River

 

Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil - A Cidade da Floresta

Where the world´s largest Tropical Rainforest embraces the Greatest Rivers in the World. .

82331.gif

 

Click here to visit Amazonas

amazonas2.jpg

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I've been protecting my plants since 1993 but some years require little or no work so that's a misleading statistic. Now if the next 5 years are like the last two and the one we're experiencing now, yes I'll give up doing this here and move to Pine Island a little sooner than originally planned.

Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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Melbourne Beach has extraordinary protection from the broad Indian River. This freeze hit the Atlantic mainland very hard (26º in my neighborhood). I'll have a report from Heathcote Botanical Garden in Ft Pierce next week. For what it's worth, the Indian River grapefruit are fine.

The episode does confirm that Archontophoenix cunninghamiana is pretty hardy, more so (in my yard) than A. tuckeri. Here's the early damage report:

Satakentia--fried. Almost certainly need to replace.

Archontophoenix cunninghamiana--looks fine.

Archontophoenix tuckeri--leaf damage. More might show up.

Carpentaria--leaf damage. Will probably recover well.

Dypsis decaryi (triangle palm)--looks undamaged. Need to wait and see. This palm suffered light damage last winter.

Crysophila warscewiczii (rootspine palm)--looks fine

Dypsis plumosa--OK? This seems a surprisingly hardy species.

Dypsis carlsmithii--leaves look fine.

Chamaedorea, several species, including C. metallica, C. seifrizii--look fine.

Coccothrinax argentata and C. barbadensis look fine for now, but need to wait and see. The latter looked good last winter, then leaves started dying. Recovered nicely this summer.

Allagoptera arenaria--fine.

Syagrus schizophylla--fine.

Acoelorrhaphe wrightii (Everglades or Paurotis palm)--fine.

Rhapis (several species)--fine.

Trachycarpus--fine, of course.

Cycads:

Zamia variegata--one plant has some damaged leaves, two others fine.

Z. loddigissii (probably really a garden hybrid) has some damaged leaves. Doesn't look like a big deal, at least so far.

Z. vazquezii--fine, surprisingly. They weren't covered.

Z. pumila (our native, anyway), fine, of course. I visited some wild ones in the Bulow Plantation area recently. Kind of odd to see how much smaller they are than the cultivated ones, and how widely separated. Must be hard-working pollinators.

Ceratozamia hildae looks fine.

Mangos have leaf damage. Avocados look fine. Need to wait for Jaboticaba. Heliconias need to be cut to the ground.

Fla. climate center: 100-119 days>85 F
USDA 1990 hardiness zone 9B
Current USDA hardiness zone 10a
4 km inland from Indian River; 27º N (equivalent to Brisbane)

Central Orlando's urban heat island may be warmer than us

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I quit protecting stuff maybe 15 years ago. Wasn't worth the hassle as stuff still got damaged under the sheets/blankets/cloth. Now if it makes it it makes it. If not, then replant it in a better spot or with a hardier specimen. No more spending cold windy days trying to wrap plants and then worrying all night.

The only thing I worry about is bring the big Cyrtostachys in at work the first sub 50F night.

Eric

Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

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So, who is out there that has been doing this protecting routine for over 10 years? I did it for a good 6 years, probably 8, till I said enough is enough. I let them all go. Now, when they say 25, I just pour a little wine, sit back and enjoy the evening with no second thoughts and no regrets.

I've been doing it (cold protection) for 12 years. I do it because I like being the only game in town (my neighborhood) that has the palm species I have, and for the personal pleasure I get from having and looking at them.

Many of the more tender species of palms I have wouldn't have near the value and meaning to me if I lived in a climate where every Tom, Dick, and Harry could grow them.

In my USDA zone 9b, most winters, but not even all of them, it's just the matter of one friggin winter night that can seriously hurt or possible kill a substantial number of palms in my palm collection. I'm not going to set back on my butt for just one night out of the year and watch my prized palms destroyed. I feel it's a small price to pay for the enjoyment of the other 364 days of the year.

But the above being said, I may in fact in the future open a bottle of wine (or beer, etc.) because of late my winters have went from a one-night event to a dozen events, each winter event employing various degrees of PITA palm protection. That's why I vowed to my wife that what ever palms I lose to winter cold this winter will be the last. They will not be replaced in kind, but with cold hardy species if I in fact replace them at all.

After 12 years of this stuff, I now realize I can't fight Mother Nature and Father Time indefinitel. They are going to eventually win.

Walt, I couldn't agree with you more. I have my backyard wrapped up like a Tortilla now. I also like being the only game in town with palms - and I was up until about 2 years ago. They're starting to pop up everywhere now.

Bobby

Long Island, New York  Zone 7a (where most of the southern Floridians are originally from)

AVERAGE TEMPS

Summer Highs  : 85-90f/day,  68-75f / night

Winter Lows     : 38-45f/day,   25-35f / night

Extreme Low    : 10-20f/day,    0-10f / night   but VERY RARE

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Well if you look what damage they had in the UK or Europe! I guess just grow a bit hardier palms and you are fine! Should not be the first time you get some frost there! But during the day you still get 15C to 20C and some places warmer! For me that springweather!

Well maybe the cold climate here makes people sinical! In some parts here in Europe people froze to dead, so only a few burnt palms...

Alexander

Alexander,

The major difference is that in Cold Europe, you EXPECT it.. In Florida, you don't. I live in New York, where I expect that it will get down to 18f at night in the winter - when I see that it gets that cold in Gainesville, It's a bit of a shock to me. People move and live in Florida because they don't want or expect that cold. Heck, I've been planning to move down for the past 5 years, but Our winters have been getting warmer up here while I notice Florida getting colder.. But I still think it's cyclical.

  • Upvote 1

Bobby

Long Island, New York  Zone 7a (where most of the southern Floridians are originally from)

AVERAGE TEMPS

Summer Highs  : 85-90f/day,  68-75f / night

Winter Lows     : 38-45f/day,   25-35f / night

Extreme Low    : 10-20f/day,    0-10f / night   but VERY RARE

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Bobby,

Nice to see you here again.

dk

Don Kittelson

 

LIFE ON THE RIO NEGRO

03° 06' 07'' South 60° 01' 30'' West

Altitude 92 Meters / 308 feet above sea level

1,500 kms / 932 miles to the mouth of the Amazon River

 

Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil - A Cidade da Floresta

Where the world´s largest Tropical Rainforest embraces the Greatest Rivers in the World. .

82331.gif

 

Click here to visit Amazonas

amazonas2.jpg

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I had another bad night, with a low of 25.3 degrees F. My buddy 500 feet from the lake logged 35.9 F. Glades Electric Utility located near the intersection of US 27 and SR 70 (seven miles south of Lake Placid) had low of 40F.

I unwrapped all my covered palms and everything looks fine. It's only in the open areas that I mainly have damage to unprotected plants. In more protected and semi wooded areas the only light damage I see is at ground level, stuff like wandering jew, alocasia, etc. I don't see any damage at all on my A. cunninghamiana palms, but A. alexandrae got burned to various degrees depending on location. I have one A. alexandrae in a protected area that incurred no damage. None of my majesty palms were damaged.

The breakdown of the low temperatures I've had (unprotected in the open yard) are as follows:

Dec. 7th 25.4 degrees

Dec. 8th 23.9 "

Dec. 14th 25.0 "

Dec. 15th 22.1 "

Dec. 16th 25.3 "

I had three nights in the mid 30s leading up to the above days. The number days in the 20s is unprecedented for me. I've never had that many mid to low 20s in an entire winter since I moved here just over 13 years ago.

I think the three nights in the 30s help acclimate my tender palms and plants to a degree. Plus, I had no frost on any of the nights that dropped into the 20s. There's no doubt that the frostless nights helped keep foliage damage to a minimum. All of the nights that dropped into the 20s were radiational cooling nights; hence, sheltered areas ran up to five or more degrees warmer.

Mad about palms

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That plant looks fine! A little water and some sun and itll perk right up :mrlooney:

:floor: I was thinking the same sort of thing--how much "inspection" does that need? :lol:

I was thinking the same thing when the photog asked me to do that, I could tell from the golf cart !!!

Eric

Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

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Hey Walt, when I get those kind of readings as far south as you are, I start doubting the accuracy of the thermometer. I logged 29°F this morning using my cheap weather forecast station from Best Buy. I seriously doubt it got that cold this morning. I wonder if and how do they calibrate those thermometers. The inside reading which is coming from an internal thermocouple was reading 65°F when it clearly didn't feel like it, and the heater was steady at 75°F. I guess it's time to do the baggie ice water test.

Frank

 

Zone 9b pine flatlands

humid/hot summers; dry/cool winters

with yearly freezes

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Thanks Walt for the motivational reply.

I've been doing it since 2005 when we moved down to Houston from the Dallas area (I am originally from Tampa and a lot of my family is still in Florida). I inherited a beautiful backyard full of several "zone pushers" - it's one of the main reasons why we bought the house. Here is a sampling:

- 4 Majesty Palms

- 2 Pygmy Date palms

- 2 Mexican Fan palms

- 2 Windmill palms

- 4 Sagos

- 1 Orange Tree

- A mix of tropical shrubs (Hibiscus, Hawaiian Tis [Red Sisters], dwarf Bird of Paradise, Florida Gardenia, etc.)

The only ones I have to really worry about are the Majesty Palms (plus the beds/shrubs). I wrap them any time the forecast calls for 28*F or below, which is fairly infrequent, or so it used to be. They are about 10 years old now and the tallest one has a trunk almost 10' tall. The shortest one is still pretty low to the ground, but he is shaded so he's not the same as the other 3. The first five years before we bought the house, from 2000-2004, nothing was ever wrapped.

When we moved here in 2005, those first 3 winters, I didn't have to do much at all. The last three - especially last year, have been pretty intense.

Last year was the worst. We had a low of 19*F one morning. I wrapped the Pygmy Dates for the first time. I had double wraps on the Majesty Palms and two 50K btu heaters aimed at the two largest majesties for four nights in a row. We had one day where it never got above freezing. Everything made it, although the majesty fronds completely turned to mush. They didn't look normal again until this past fall. But it was the first time since we moved here that they looked bad into the summer. They seem to be mostly unaffected since I wrapped from above the crowns all the way to the ground; I think the damage was mostly cosmetic.

(Side note: one time, 2 or 3 years ago, it was forecasted to fall to 29* or 30* and I didn't wrap anything. We had a low of 26*F and it didn't do anything to the Majesty Palms. No frost that night though....)

This past Sunday, like I posted earlier, I wrapped everything anticipating a low of 25*F. We were at a family gathering out of town and didn't get home until about 8:00 Sunday night. I *almost* gave-up. I told my wife "I just don't want to mess with it anymore". She actually talked me into trudging outside with my ladder and wraps and fighting it once again. Even though it was warmer than anticipated (30), I am glad I went ahead and did it. I have motivation to push onward through the season, although I hope this was the worst of it. There is some hope in the long-range forecasts that La Nina will finally have its influence and keep most of us warmer in Jan & Feb. Let's only hope.

I'm only doing this for a few more years. We're planning to move back to Florida and although the career will ultimately dictate where we move, I am pretty much set on Anna Maria island or Siesta Key (IF I can find something suitable in SRQ). Maybe the Naples area too. TBH, not too interested in Metro South Florida. If we move back to Florida, I refuse to move into anywhere that's not zone 10+. That limits my options along the west coast in a place big enough to have decent jobs, which can be challenging in FL to begin with. Once we settle, part of me says I'm only gonna plant what will make it, but the devil on my shoulder just knows even then I'll be apt to "try" some things that don't belong...

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So far my low has been 28F out here in the cold sink of western Houston.... :angry:

Becariophoenix is doing great, and Majesty only has some spotting on the older fronds.

Brownsville and Port Isabel, Texas have only been down to 39F, with South Padre probably being around 41F. That's warmer then most of South Florida!

:) Jonathan

Edited by Xenon

Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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Hey Walt, when I get those kind of readings as far south as you are, I start doubting the accuracy of the thermometer. I logged 29°F this morning using my cheap weather forecast station from Best Buy. I seriously doubt it got that cold this morning. I wonder if and how do they calibrate those thermometers. The inside reading which is coming from an internal thermocouple was reading 65°F when it clearly didn't feel like it, and the heater was steady at 75°F. I guess it's time to do the baggie ice water test.

This is a very good question and you have to take temperature readings with a grain of salt. A lot of consumer-grade thermometers out there are just not that accurate. The digital ones (like from Oregon Scientific, etc.) are decent but even still, they are only accurate within +/- 2 degrees. That's a 4 degree spread. So when people post pictures and say "it was 28.2 here this morning" in reality, it was anywhere from 26-30F. And that doesn't even factor whether or not the instrument was placed properly!

Officially, a thermometer should be located 2M (6 ft.) above ground and protected from exposure, preferably in an enclosure such as a "Cotton Region Shelter" (a wooden box on stilts that is vented). There is a whole writeup available from the NWS on this. It's disturbing that this information is freely available and so few 'networked' weather stations that you see online (such as on Weatherbug, etc.) adhere to these requirements.

If you look around online - you will find web sites that have photos of "Weatherbug" thermometers on rooftops, next to AC & Heater units, 30ft above ground (again, like on a rooftop), thermometers completely exposed to the sun (and uncovered at night). Oftentimes, schools seem to be the worst culprits as they just install the units wherever they can.

So, be very careful and skeptical when looking at temperature reports. If you are not certain the reporting site is using calibrated equipment that is located in a compliant location, stick with the official NWS/ASOS sites.

Edited by jasons
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Pleased to hear from Bobby. Long Island Newsday has free access this month, so I took the chance to look over beach photo galleries. Florida surfers admire Montauk (and at least one Florida board shaper exports a lot of surfboards to L.I.).

The problem with Florida is that when winds are from precisely the correct direction, air from eastern Siberia comes directly to central Florida. Tuesday morning,we might as well have been inland. Being near the Atlantic provided no protection at all, while St. Petersburg did get some protection from the Gulf and Tampa Bay. This part of Florida is in a severe drought, so there wasn't much water around to ameliorate the cold. Before the 20th century, our county possibly had some protection from the marshes of the upper St. Johns River, which have suffered a lot of drainage.

Fla. climate center: 100-119 days>85 F
USDA 1990 hardiness zone 9B
Current USDA hardiness zone 10a
4 km inland from Indian River; 27º N (equivalent to Brisbane)

Central Orlando's urban heat island may be warmer than us

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Well it well known that places like Orlando get almost every year some frosty nights! And most of Florida is probably not frostfree. Even the Everglades get some light frost now and then. So if I would live there I had to take that into mind when planting more tender palms for example. You could even say that Florida gets pretty cold if you see what the latitudes are downthere! If you realy want 365 days tropical weather, or almost tropical you should go to Hawaii. Well for the US that is.

Well Orlando will get 23C with sun, a pleasant Dutch summerday in December!

I grow Trachycarpus fortunei here in Holland, would like to grow much more species though but thats not possible here. Some people grow more species like Butia, well spearpull or death sooner or later here.

Alexander

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The Everglades (and the agricultural area south of Miami) are vulnerable to rare frost and freezes. However, a long list of tender plants (fruits in this case) can be grown there. Even Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden needs a conservatory to display cold-intolerant plants. They've just started construction on a bigger and better one.

North of Miami, the risk of severe cold increases. Coastal areas are somewhat less vulnerable, and some tropical species are native only along the coasts. Coccothrinax argentata is native as far north as Palm Beach County while the distinctive tropical tree Bursera simaruba (gumbo limbo) is native as far north as Cocoa Beach, despite the death of many individuals in severe freezes in the 1980s. It's kind of neat to own a tree that also grows in Panamá and Colombia.

Severe freezes occur erratically, so Florida residents tend to forget past horrors during good years. Citrus growing is instructive. There used to be productive orange groves in northern Florida, near Jacksonville and Gainesville (on the protected south side of Orange Lake). They eventually froze. More recently, there was a lot of citrus west of Orlando, all abandoned after the great 1989 freeze.

Another factor in Florida gardening is hurricanes. Especially around Miami, smart gardeners realize that anything they plant will likely be damaged or uprooted by wind. The best that can be done is to install trees and palms that will regrow, or that can be righted and will develop new roots (which is the case for many palms). Georgia Tasker is the most articulate advocate of living in expectation of damage.

With palms and cycads, we still occasionally find species that are relatively cold hardy. Dypsis plumosa may be one. I'm intrigued by the performance of Dypsis carlsmithii in my yard, which seems untouched by the latest freeze. Bismarckia nobilis seems reasonably freeze resistant, too (even if it's already becoming overplanted). Eric at Leu Gardens has done valuable work by growing palms cheaply from seed and keeping records. A lot of palms that wouldn't have been familiar to Orlando residents forty years ago have proven reasonably reliable.

Fla. climate center: 100-119 days>85 F
USDA 1990 hardiness zone 9B
Current USDA hardiness zone 10a
4 km inland from Indian River; 27º N (equivalent to Brisbane)

Central Orlando's urban heat island may be warmer than us

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Freezes are one thing. The persistance of cool/cold weather as we've seen it the last year is nearly unprecedented. In west Central Florida, it was the second coldest winter on record last year (records began in 1890). There was a pretty good bashing freeze in there just too just to round things out. Yes, we tend to forget how bad it can get any given winter but last winter and this December are again off the charts. Bad freezes are typically buried amongst warm weather not a persistent cold pattern. There's needs to be warm air ahead of cold weather because that's what generates snow up north. A good snowpack up north is what prevents air modification as it travels south and that's the common thread in all killing Florida freezes.

The citrus groves west of Orlando would be flourishing again if replanted after 1989. Had their been a large amount of citrus in that area back in say 1890, the decade that followed would have been wiped it out. You can grow citrus reliably in that arae for about 80-90 years. A barrage of horrible freezes are what wiped out hundreds of thousand of citrus groves not one freeze. In reality, it was the entire decade of the 1980's that wiped out the citrus in Lake and Sumter Counties. 1989 was just the final blow.

Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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