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Polar Vortex vs. Large Palms in Zone 9a


Alicehunter2000

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The big Sabal causiarum is showing discoloration, it will take years to grow out of this.post-97-0-96597700-1390676384_thumb.jpg

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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post-97-0-38887600-1390676768_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-42717500-1390676833_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-85029000-1390676923_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-40471100-1390676981_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-69317200-1390677061_thumb.jpg

P. sylvestris, reclinata, R. rivularis, Caryota sp. and D. decary

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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Not intending to rub salt in the wound but did anyone think about covering their small palms and tropicals with frost cloth? I assume it's sold down in your area. It's really a shame to see the little guys get burnt so badly when they could have been protected and doing fine afterwards.

Seeing some of your damage I can only imagine the kind of hit nurseries in your areas are taking during this winter.

Zone 9b (formerly listed as Zone 9a); Sunset 14

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After 18F last night I took some pictures. This is sad and shouldn't be viewed by sensitive individuals.

Spear pull on this Pheonix Canariensis ? might be a hybrid:

2q8scuo.jpg

Washingtonias are all like this:

2s60rnm.jpg

Livistona Chinensis:

2rrnck8.jpg

Rhpidophyllum is fine:

2q1gay0.jpg

Pheonix canarienensis #2 is fine:

2moe9ef.jpg

Pan view of washies and The butia is fine:

16i8k6b.jpg

I might just start planting the hardy ones from now on...

Edited by ArchAngeL01

Los Angeles, CA and Myrtle Beach, SC.

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WCG.......that is with frost cloth........there was no frost, just cold advective freeze. Winds were around 20-25 mph....temps down to 19.6 F. Nothing was spared the wrath of the wind. Amazingly most of the sheets and tarps remained in place and did not blow off.

Your canary looks to have a lot of sylvestris blood in it....definitely hybrids.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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Frost cloth can't fend off lows in the teens if a palm is sensitive - my majesties burn if lows get close to freezing. Supplemental heat is necessary. I've suggested this elsewhere: during the summer troll Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift shops and scarf up all the cotton flannel bed linens you can find. People in FL will dump them after the end of winter and no one will want them till the first autumn cold front. Layer them over plants and use extra heat if necessary. Goodwill has 50% off on Saturday every few months which is another boon.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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WCG.......that is with frost cloth........there was no frost, just cold advective freeze. Winds were around 20-25 mph....temps down to 19.6 F. Nothing was spared the wrath of the wind. Amazingly most of the sheets and tarps remained in place and did not blow off.

Your canary looks to have a lot of sylvestris blood in it....definitely hybrids.

Thanks for the reply to clarify. I forgot we had two different types of freezes. We definitely had frost and humidity, and when we had wind it wasn't very strong, but enough one or two night to dislodge some of our frost cloth resulting in damage.

Did a little bit of reading on the differences between the two and you definitely got the worst of it and I gather aside from a heated greenhouse setup for small things there really isn't anything to do but grin and bear it. BTW found this FOA Corporate Document Repository publication by the National Resources Management and Enviroment Department on the subject "Frost Protection: Fundamentals, Practice and Economics" (also in pdf format) that I put into my iBooks and will use for some nighttime reading. Thought others might find it worth a look: http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/y7223e/y7223e00.htm#Contents

Zone 9b (formerly listed as Zone 9a); Sunset 14

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Meg, good idea on the bargain frost blankets....you ever have problems with the actual weight of the blankets messing stuff up.....I use light sheets but sometimes they don't seem warm enough, just keeps off the frost.

WCG yes it was unusually brutal cold we had. Will check out the article. Here are a couple of mules , they did pretty good but were not totally unfazed.post-97-0-39459200-1390700423_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-01489200-1390700482_thumb.jpg

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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Another suprise, a small P. roebelini only covered with a sheet. A couple of more shots of the ponytail's....a little damage. I bought these nandina's right before the freeze on discount for a couple of buck's.post-97-0-21642000-1390701135_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-94877800-1390701188_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-82451200-1390701231_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-96706000-1390701294_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-65477600-1390701339_thumb.jpg

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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The truth will be told in June. Until then nobody knows.

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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Meg, good idea on the bargain frost blankets....you ever have problems with the actual weight of the blankets messing stuff up.....I use light sheets but sometimes they don't seem warm enough, just keeps off the frost.

WCG yes it was unusually brutal cold we had. Will check out the article. Here are a couple of mules , they did pretty good but were not totally unfazed.attachicon.gif20140125_111056.jpgattachicon.gif20140125_111636.jpg

David, I usually am far more worried about the effects of the cold than of the flannel sheets. You can lay them over small plants and weigh them down with rocks, bricks, etc. I wrapped my red spicata dwarf coconut with flannel and secured edges with wood clothespins so the fabric won't blow away. I've wrapped Chamaedoreas with hoodies and clothespinned them. I've dressed numerous palm seedlings in cotton t-shirts - stripped my closets bare. Desperation can be the mother of invention.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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I've wrapped Chamaedoreas with hoodies and clothespinned them. I've dressed numerous palm seedlings in cotton t-shirts - stripped my closets bare. Desperation can be the mother of invention.

lol Like little kids dressed for school. Been there done that also, towels, sweatshirts, anything I can find.

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WCG.......that is with frost cloth........there was no frost, just cold advective freeze. Winds were around 20-25 mph....temps down to 19.6 F. Nothing was spared the wrath of the wind. Amazingly most of the sheets and tarps remained in place and did not blow off.

Your canary looks to have a lot of sylvestris blood in it....definitely hybrids.

Thanks for the reply to clarify. I forgot we had two different types of freezes. We definitely had frost and humidity, and when we had wind it wasn't very strong, but enough one or two night to dislodge some of our frost cloth resulting in damage.

Did a little bit of reading on the differences between the two and you definitely got the worst of it and I gather aside from a heated greenhouse setup for small things there really isn't anything to do but grin and bear it. BTW found this FOA Corporate Document Repository publication by the National Resources Management and Enviroment Department on the subject "Frost Protection: Fundamentals, Practice and Economics" (also in pdf format) that I put into my iBooks and will use for some nighttime reading. Thought others might find it worth a look: http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/y7223e/y7223e00.htm#Contents

Great article. Thx for posting.

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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I have been using thermal underlayment for floating wood floors as a cover...... its insulating and waterproof. Has saved my jubaeopsis so far down to 23. I put a hot hands shake-up glove warmer in there on the coldest night. I actually put it over the palm last night even though our overnight low was only 57. I want to keep it dry so when we freeze it will not have ice on it.

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I also use spring gardener greenhouses. They are easy to put up and you don't have to run around when the cold front comes through... they are already in place. Of course, once your palms are taller than 8 feet they are on their own. And also, I am nervous that one little 1500 W space heater may not be enough Tuesday night since we are forecast to go to 21 F. Like Keith said, overall, this may go down as the coldest January, EVER.

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Everything that survived the Polar Vortex is now being subjected to a layer of ice. All the big and small palms that could not be covered might very well be dead....I don't know at this point what to expect. I am at 25 degrees at 8 am looking at the big 5000 lb., 15 ft. overall, Sabal causiarum out the window with ice all over it. If all this big stuff dies....I will not continue this hobby. Wish me luck in the spring that these palms are hardy enough to withstand this kind of brutality.

Temps have been below freezing for 8 hours now and it will probably go on through the morning hours. Tonight another freeze in the mid to low 20's expected. These palms were not seedlings....there was a huge investment in landscape sized specimens....I feel pretty stupid and sad.....don't know what else to say. If they survive....this will be a great data point for anyone in the future as to what can survive.

Can't go to work until the ice clears off the roads........if misery loves company.....Keith and others up here on the Gulf Coast.....I'm right here with you.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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My thermo seems to be stuck at 23 this morning. Just goes to show that living in this area, we have to be very selective on what to grow because this has been a hard dose of reality.

Tyler

Coastal Zone 9a

''Karma is a good girl, she just treats you exactly how you treat her"

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The bright side is that spring will weed out the winners and losers and give you more space to try something new

Tyler

Coastal Zone 9a

''Karma is a good girl, she just treats you exactly how you treat her"

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David, I hope it won't be as bad come spring/fall as you are feeling it could be right now and that it might take survivors a few years to rebound and work thru the damaged. Maybe the fact that you guys have had several successive cold spells has hardened the palms after the first one or two. While the ice always looks bad to see, it does actually protect. All the same I feel for you, Keith and others in the same boat.

I did want to say that as hard as I am sure it has been for you to take photos of your palms during this time, thanks for sharing. I hope we will get some photos down the road showing signs of recovery.

Zone 9b (formerly listed as Zone 9a); Sunset 14

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David,

As a fellow collector, I fully understand how disheartening it is to see prized specimens fall victim to circumstances well beyond our control. Can't tell you how many times I have personally thought of throwing in the towel. Whether because of loosing stuff id had high hopes for, or due to negative or brow beating, discouraging opinions of those who stay safely tucked within the box.. so to say..

I think, like many things in life, it is challenges like this which only strengthen one's spirit to succeed in their endeavor. A valuable saying I learned as a kid, that has always stuck with me is simply this: passion is simply another definition for the heart's rage.. this rage is what drives ambition.. when guided, it is this ambition which drives one toward success. There will be many lessons to learn as ones passion is guided, but, in the end, it is the results of these lessons that helps us weather the worst of storms, still ready to take on what lies ahead. Our passions guide where our dreams will take us.

As far as those of us who collect palms, or plants in general are concerned. Sure, each of us could stick with stuff we know is bullet proof.. than again where is the enjoyment if boundaries aren't tested. It takes ambition to be a pioneer.. and see where the journey takes us. At times like this, I always think of people like Fairchild or anyone who farms for a living.

While there may be losses, the rewards of the endeavor far outweigh the heartbreak faced today. Its been a tough winter for everyone up there but, as old a saying as time, sunshine always returns.. Enjoy it. The sun heals.

-Nathan-

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Thanks for the support....I still have hope...time will tell.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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Thanks for the support....I still have hope...time will tell.

Worse case, I'll schedule a special trip to come pee on them.

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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Is it "special".....or do you have to add bottlecaps. ....will it turn my queens to abreojos queens?

Thought I would post what is riding the cold out inside.post-97-0-03060600-1391051193_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-63332000-1391051268_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-18361400-1391051320_thumb.jpg

Got some nice but common gingers sweating it out in the pool bathroom.

Got 5 Butia's In a single pot....got them out of the boots of trees at the parents house.

Got a Dillon edule that the wife got me for Fathers day. Also got some seedlings of vanilla bean tree that Matt in California gave me.

Edited by Alicehunter2000

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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post-97-0-04338100-1391051852_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-86752300-1391051896_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-82946800-1391051958_thumb.jpg

Phoenix reclinata, various cacti and Phoenix sylvestris. ..all from seeds or cuttings

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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David, you been holding out on us. Look at all of that nice healthy green.

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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post-97-0-45723100-1391052216_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-76864100-1391052268_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-57944900-1391052341_thumb.jpg

A Mark Heath possible hybrid, garage lined up with Bizzy's, chinesis, A.wrightii, Filibusta's , Inside we got C. elegans, triangle, draeceana, peace lilies.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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Ha ha....always got some little stuff .....can't seem to get away from potted stuff and seeds.post-97-0-81716100-1391052910_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-33459600-1391052952_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-08349700-1391052996_thumb.jpg

Next up we have chinesis, bottle, and some sort of Caryota.

My collection of C. microspadix from seed collected years ago in Miami.

Spindle and a clumping Caryota from seed.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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Lastly a Satakentia and 5 Sabal maurautiformis that need to be separated...from Ken. Thats it for now....got a bunch of European fans in pots keeping the big bizzy in the front company......BTW it is still freezing outside .....midnight will be 24 hours below freezing.post-97-0-95498700-1391053988_thumb.jpg

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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What a shame to see that damage already, however lot of them will survive and regrow with your summerheat.

The last few winters has been really hard here as well and because of that I lost some beautifull palms. This winter is more how our winters have been with lots of rain and wind. However this time it is also a bit on the extreme side as I did not record any frost yet and forecast for beginning of feb is even milder.

Southwest

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David.... you have a beachhouse.... you have to have a tropical garden. You may not be able to have towering coconut palms.... but I saw you have some nice mules. Those can be the height in your landscape. The lower/ understory areas.... you can grow whatever you want to 8-9 feet! Get some spring gardener greenhouses to put up over your in ground plantings in Dec and take down in March..... I love them. I have coconuts pushing spears, heliconias, and alpinia ginger all thriving right now even through this ridiculous weather. It is refreshing to see all that green midwinter. That's just my two cents.

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David.... you have a beachhouse.... you have to have a tropical garden. You may not be able to have towering coconut palms.... but I saw you have some nice mules. Those can be the height in your landscape. The lower/ understory areas.... you can grow whatever you want to 8-9 feet! Get some spring gardener greenhouses to put up over your in ground plantings in Dec and take down in March..... I love them. I have coconuts pushing spears, heliconias, and alpinia ginger all thriving right now even through this ridiculous weather. It is refreshing to see all that green midwinter. That's just my two cents.

the problem with reading PalmTalk is that it's easy to get carried away and start growing all sorts of things that are nothing but headaches in colder climates. Last Summer I was putting in all these marginal experimental dypsis, and I sorta "woke up" from the trance and decided to order some bullet proof backups for "when" and not "if" these marginal things were going to die. Sure enough, I've already replaced a few things with species that are proven and easy in my climate.

A palm garden outside of the tropics needs to have a backbone made up of about 80% bullet proof items that are going to give your garden that tropical vibe. Then you can focus on the remaining 20% that requires more work and more protection.

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A palm garden outside of the tropics needs to have a backbone made up of about 80% bullet proof items that are going to give your garden that tropical vibe. Then you can focus on the remaining 20% that requires more work and more protection.

I agree with this approach 100%. (Of course....I didnt always think that way.) But an 80/20 ratio of diehards vs. borderlines is all but sure to allow there to be an eventual mature landscape.

In the case of David's landscape with all the big stuff brought in, I would guess that although there are some very borderline species in there, that the bulk of the items chosen would fall into the 80% category, and therefore the lions share of the landscape will live on.

This year is certainly indicative of what can happen weather-wise to the southeast US, but it does seem unusual for a 9a zone to reach 9a temps so many times (and with ice added in).

Larry 

Palm Harbor, FL 10a / Ft Myers, FL 10b

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the problem with reading PalmTalk is that it's easy to get carried away and start growing all sorts of things that are nothing but headaches in colder climates.

Heck yes!

If one were to scroll through some of my posts for yesteryear theyd see photos of 10-15 ft long two layer "palm socks", hundreds of feet of high wattage rope lights, 400k Btu/hr propane heaters, etc!

Larry 

Palm Harbor, FL 10a / Ft Myers, FL 10b

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I love it. Yes I saw the palm socks. Awesome. Not bad if only 20% requires it. I agree with Axel. The problem is when you live in 9a, its so depressing to plant a queen when you see photos of beccariophoenix and kentiopsis. And you think, we havn't seen cold in a while... maybe global warming is true..... maybe I am now 9b...... I'm gonna get me some of those "cool" palms. So tempting.

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I have second thoughts about continuing to heat my greenhouse, but when I see new fronds emerging out of coconut laying in beach sand in the middle of an ice storm.... I can't turn off the heat.

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I have second thoughts about continuing to heat my greenhouse, but when I see new fronds emerging out of coconut laying in beach sand in the middle of an ice storm.... I can't turn off the heat.

lol

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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Intellegent, well thought out replies....thanks everyone. Hoping that all the big stuff will make it......or the 80% as it were. Really tried to pick large species that could handle a low of 20 degrees. Just didn't bargain for testing the theory so soon...lol. Also didn't bargain for the first freeze to be advective in nature or the second wave to involve lots of freezing rain.... a very odd year.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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Murphy's Law at it's finest!

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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David.... you have a beachhouse.... you have to have a tropical garden. You may not be able to have towering coconut palms.... but I saw you have some nice mules. Those can be the height in your landscape. The lower/ understory areas.... you can grow whatever you want to 8-9 feet! Get some spring gardener greenhouses to put up over your in ground plantings in Dec and take down in March..... I love them. I have coconuts pushing spears, heliconias, and alpinia ginger all thriving right now even through this ridiculous weather. It is refreshing to see all that green midwinter. That's just my two cents.

That's interesting. ¨Please could you share pictures?

All the best.

Jean-Michel

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Jean-Michel....I'm not right on the beach..about 200 meters back. Here is a pic around Christmaspost-97-0-40072500-1391114669_thumb.jpg

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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