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Canopy is key


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well...it seems Dr. Darian was right.

Start with a big canopy.

After going through all the threads concerning the damage done during this freezing weather, one fact rings true:

Palms located underneath canopy for the most part escaped major damage, while those left out in the open were decimated. (I can already hear the "duh's!!!, but how many people actually heed what they already know to be true and plant the canopy trees first?)

Had I known that the 80+ year old Pepper tree at my Dad's house with it's thin leaves would have provided SO much protection over the last few nights, I would have drug all the plants over to that area a LOT sooner. I really didn't think it was going to make that much difference, but now I'm on the search for what trees will make the best canopy for the day I get ready to put my dypsis collection in the ground.

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I am so tempted to walk up the hill and bang on his gate and ask him how his stuff did. I am sure he would welcome me with open arms!

His canopy has so many layers.  From the Eucalyptus on down. For me to get something like that would take a long time.


Vista, CA (Zone 10a)

Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."

-- Alfred Austin

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Live oaks do great and they really aren't that slow growing if provided regular water and fertilizer. They provide good protection and yet allow enough light to come through for most things to flourish under them. They also hold up pretty well in windy conditions. Many showed little damage in the recent hurricanes around here. Pretty drought tolerant too.

Royal Palm Beach, FL.

USDA Zone 10A/10B Subtropical

26.7 degrees N. latitude

10 miles West of West Palm Beach and the ocean

Avg. yearly rainfall 58 inches


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I dont' know about live oaks letting in light - they have pretty dense foliage.  Much of my neighborhood is a live oak forest with trees being planted back to the mid-teens.  In those areas where live oaks are the dominant street tree, about the only thing that will grow under them are ferns, aspidistra, jasmine, and mondo grass.  The other thing for our friends in CA, if you plant out the live oak we're talking about, i.e.quercus virginiana, be aware that by the time these trees get large, they drink COPIOUS amounts of water and will destroy pavement, storm sewer pipes, whatever to get at it.  I had a landscaper tell me that a 50yr old live oak can easily drink 100 gallons of water a day in high summer.  They are one of the most beautiful trees I can think of, though.  Go to Oak Alley on Hwy 18 south of New Orleans sometime and you'll be floored by the live oaks planted in the 1770's with 8'+ caliper trunks!


USDA Zone 9a/b, AHS Heat Zone 9, Sunset Zone 28

49'/14m above sea level, 25mi/40km to Galveston Bay

Long-term average rainfall 47.84"/1215mm

Near-term (7yr) average rainfall 55.44"/1410mm

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Very much agree about the value of a canopy though oaks in California don't like summer irrigation.  Prefer ficus since they can take little or lots of water.  Root system can be a problem.

I didn't experience any frost [lowest temp 37F] due to elevation/hill top dynamics, but I have noticed how much healthier palms are in shade even in summer.  Howea took the cold weather w/o any noticable damage.  A euterpe edulis planted partially under an orange tree looked great.  Kings/foxtail/royal  were fine out in the open but tend to get burned a little in summer.  Veitchia arecina & majesty get partial shade for a michelia; also no damage.

Actually my problem is too much shade since the back is a north-facing steep hill covered in native walnut trees/eucalyptus.  Very little winter sun but protection from summer heat.  I used to think it was useless for palms to be grown in shade; I don't think that anymore and will put more in under the trees.

Los Angeles/Pasadena

34° 10' N   118° 18' W

Elevation: 910'/278m

January Average Hi/Lo: 69F/50F

July Average Hi/Lo: 88F/66F

Average Rainfall: 19"/48cm

USDA 11/Sunset 23


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