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Sabal causiarum's Slow Recovery


Alicehunter2000
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Thought I would share a few pics on the recovery of the big Sabal causiarum that was transplanted into the garden last year. As you can see the petiole's remained green but the fronds got pretty much toasted. I'm just glad it survived the worst winter in 25 years here. Hopefully this winter will be mild and it will harden up to future freezes when it gets more established.post-97-0-04937400-1401156965_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-70254800-1401157007_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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I cut a few fronds every couple of weeks now that temps are in the 90's. I've noticed that it speeds up the growth rate to remove these damaged but still living fronds.

My assumption is that the palm would continue to expend energy to these old half dead fronds and not put as much into new fronds formation. This may not be a correct assumption, but growth rate does seem to increase when it is not trying to hold on to the old growth.post-97-0-85482200-1401157416_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-89224400-1401157462_thumb.jpgpost-97-0-35912300-1401157505_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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David I have witnessed and read both arguments in regard to cold damage and the pruning of damaged or dead leaves, etc. From what I have read and witnessed all foliage that is completely dead should be removed, but if there is any green left at all on other foliage it should be left until new healthy growth continues. I have practiced this myself and have had many palms that I was about to dig up rebound and appear non the worse after a few months. Livistona and Sabal both seem to do well with this treatment. The tree can pull all of the nutrients out of the damaged growth and use it to increase new growth without having to expend extra energy. You have a very nice Sabal by the way. How old is it? Hope you are doing well my friend.

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After seeing the S causiarum at Mike Evan's place, it is amazing how different this palm looks full sun grown vrs shade grown. And it may take a few years to recover, but suspect it will be a more cold hardy palm to show for it.

I was mixed on whether to leave those still partly alive fronds on my palms getting opinions both ways, so I decided to go halfway, remove half and leave the other half on till fall or until the canopy was full again. I always go back to what would nature do. In nature they would stay till they fell on their own or a storm blew them off.

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 agree with Keith that has been my deciding factor as well. Don't worry about what the neighbor's say; we palm guys know that the tree is alright. I have always wondered why people cannot stand for a palm to have any leaf damage at all but if any other tree defoliates it is deemed acceptable.

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Ha ha yes it was killing me to see the brown foliage. I waited to see growth of some healthy fronds before deciding to cut anything. I understand the reasoning regarding re-absorption of nutrients, but couldn't you just fertilize and achieve the same? The fronds are obviously not nearly photosynthesizing as much as the new green growth so I wouldn't think removal would be too detrimental in that respect. It would be an interesting experiment to see the growth rate of two similarly damaged palms, trimming one and leaving the other natural.

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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I have read both arguments and have had good results with trimming most of the damaged fronds and leaving a few of the better ones. The big problem I think is when all or almost all are cut leaving no green material for photosynthesis to produce needed nutrients. How did your Copernicia A fair after warm weather hit David? Not to change subjects but for reference with the Sabal.

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Not a lot of hope for them......the strongest one I've had to cut on more to try and stay ahead of the rot. The weaker one has just callous 'ed over and is hard....the tall one is dead and hard. It will make a nifty garden feature if I grow some other stuff on it. Copernicia alba is not an extreme 9a palm......I would rather grow Bizmarkia anyway (they all survived)

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 a lot of hope for them......the strongest one I've had to cut on more to try and stay ahead of the rot. The weaker one has just callous 'ed over and is hard....the tall one is dead and hard. It will make a nifty garden feature if I grow some other stuff on it. Copernicia alba is not an extreme 9a palm......I would rather grow Bizmarkia anyway (they all survived)

I have no idea exactly how much difference it makes in the end, a little or a lot, but you have to consider where your palms came from and that they were not established. They had no built up resistance over time to hardly any real cold at all. If that palm had been established, or had come from a more northerly region of Florida, the results could have been somewhat different. Still damaged, no doubt, but maybe still alive. One of the alba seedling I had given up for dead is returning. I was shocked. I think one raised in our climate might at least have a fighting chance.

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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C. Alba dead.... Bizmarkia alive????? Weird. Solution to your pruning problem cut off only brown plant tissue... not the whole frond. That's a compromise.

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These are definitely odd results in comparison with my own experience in the slightly colder climate of Natchez, Mississippi. My two large Sabal causiarum look perfect and always have, including two episodes (2010 and 2014) of three continuous days frozen solid, with lows to 18F. These have never shown a speck of damage. Yours looks like my specimen of S. domingensis, a species which is well documented to take heavy foliar damage or complete defoliation if frost settles on the leaves for any period. Also, my Copernicia alba, though it defoliated, is pushing leaves like crazy and already has two full leaves out, with no stunting. It is rather small but nevertheless the bud is aerial and thus the apical meristem was frozen through for this extended period. My experience with Bismarckia was that it would survive typical winters in Natchez (23F or so, at least one or two twelve-hour freezes per winter), but with damage. The 2010 winter killed it outright. So obviously you either have a strong Bismarckia, weak Copernicia and very weak Sabal causiarum (and perhaps a Sabal domingensis masquerading as S. causiarum). Perhaps Keith is right in re your South Florida transplants, which may indeed have been quite weak due to their South Florida origin and recent transplanting.

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)

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Yes, weird. Was not expecting these results either. Even had both alba's covered during the ice event.

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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These are definitely odd results in comparison with my own experience in the slightly colder climate of Natchez, Mississippi. My two large Sabal causiarum look perfect and always have, including two episodes (2010 and 2014) of three continuous days frozen solid, with lows to 18F. These have never shown a speck of damage. Yours looks like my specimen of S. domingensis, a species which is well documented to take heavy foliar damage or complete defoliation if frost settles on the leaves for any period. Also, my Copernicia alba, though it defoliated, is pushing leaves like crazy and already has two full leaves out, with no stunting. It is rather small but nevertheless the bud is aerial and thus the apical meristem was frozen through for this extended period. My experience with Bismarckia was that it would survive typical winters in Natchez (23F or so, at least one or two twelve-hour freezes per winter), but with damage. The 2010 winter killed it outright. So obviously you either have a strong Bismarckia, weak Copernicia and very weak Sabal causiarum (and perhaps a Sabal domingensis masquerading as S. causiarum). Perhaps Keith is right in re your South Florida transplants, which may indeed have been quite weak due to their South Florida origin and recent transplanting.

this makes some sense, and I think differentiating domingensis and causiarum is much tougher than may think. Domingensis have been reported all over as notably less cold hardy than causiarum, possibly a full zone. I dont necessarily believe that the ligule growth is definitive, perhaps the inflorescences are the only way to differentiate. My own domingensis has now decided it is going to grow ligules, currenly 18" long and growing. Even botanists in the field have misidentified them and Im sure they had lugules to work with. Still, Davids palms were not established, the root systems should have at least 2 full summers to get established, and this is probably even more critical for sablas which develop a large underground root system. I saw even some recently transplanted sabal palmettos struggle after the 2010 28F and frosty cold event in my area. I learned some things from 2010 myself, recent transplants are certainly less cold hardy. Not sure about the origin of the palm, I thought those causiarum were from the panhandle, not south florida, and these palms originate much further south in the carribean. there is also the question of salt content in the soil/underground water, as David is close to the coast. Causiarum are not salt tolerant at all. I hope this is not an issue as non salt tolerant plants can't stay hydrated, and this could be fatal.

Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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Causiarum are not salt tolerant at all. I hope this is not an issue as non salt tolerant plants can't stay hydrated, and this could be fatal.

Hmm....this is strange to me, seeing that they are from islands. Mine didn't seem to have an issue until the Polar Vortex. I got a small one that sailed through the freezes with no issues. I'm really thinking the recent tranplanting was the issue as well. I planted it high and believe it or not the top inch or two of sand froze during the event. This probably wasn't the best thing for the roots that were up high above the surrounding sand.

Things are slowly getting better; it's been pushing some nice healthy dark green growth but still too slow. Just hoping for a nice mild winter this coming 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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D

Causiarum are not salt tolerant at all. I hope this is not an issue as non salt tolerant plants can't stay hydrated, and this could be fatal.

Hmm....this is strange to me, seeing that they are from islands. Mine didn't seem to have an issue until the Polar Vortex. I got a small one that sailed through the freezes with no issues. I'm really thinking the recent tranplanting was the issue as well. I planted it high and believe it or not the top inch or two of sand froze during the event. This probably wasn't the best thing for the roots that were up high above the surrounding sand.

Things are slowly getting better; it's been pushing some nice healthy dark green growth but still too slow. Just hoping for a nice mild winter this coming year.

David,

Axel gave you the table showing you this on post #11 in this thread. Sabal bermudana, the palm you had issues with "flooding" is also not salt tolerant, but no one seemed to notice or comment on it. Neither causiarum nor bermudana are salt tolerant.

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/41827-sabals-that-love-water/?hl=sabals#entry645974

Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/17668-need-help-with-sabal-id/

Scroll about half way down to see S. bermundana in habitat. Got to be some salty wind around.

Sabal causiarum in habitat is growing right on the beach.

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/19774-sabal-causiarum-in-habitat-shots/

Hmm...maybe Axel should have consulted PalmTalk for information...lol

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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Did a little more research on S. bermandana as the above link was not definative.

Seems that Paget Marsh is the area where S. bermandana is most prevalant on the island....here is an exerpt:

"The marsh has peat to depths of 20–30 feet (6.1–9.1 m) which is acidic and does not permit growth of many of the natural species of Bermuda, as it gets flooded during high tides."

Here is the Wikki Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paget_Marsh_Nature_Reserve

One Bermuda site that shows tours of the Reserve states:

"Dr Wingate says, "There are pure stands of red mangrove, saw-grass, savanna, original cedar and palmetto canopy, with native ferns covering the floor, and intermediate woodland with wax myrtle, wood shrubs and bushy areas. The boardwalk goes through all these habitats."
In Paget Marsh one can understand how Bermuda's interior valleys looked to the first settlers before the clearing began. The palmettos are so numerous that the ground is covered with dead leaf fronds. "

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, I was unable to find any wild stands of causiarum on the beach. And salt tolerance can be defined as tolerance to salt air or a high salt soil content or saltwater flooding. the salt soil tolerance issue is a much greater problem as it effects water and nutrient intake by the roots. If you have high salt content in the soil, it is a much more serious problem I expect. But I did see conflicting opinions on causiarum from different sources. the natural habitat is "away from the beach areas and on ridges and hillsides" according to floridata, and these I would guess do not have a salty water table.

Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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Both of my S. domingensis and S. causiarum have ligules. Both are clearly different plants as juveniles, at least the ones I'm growing. Domingensis does not handle frost, suffering major damage in heavy frost (regardless of the temps) but will survive temps into the upper teens (F). Causiarum handles frost well but seems to crap out completely at the same temps as domingensis, which for me has been around 15F, give or take a degree or two (probably on the upper end more than the lower). Domingensis will recover faster than causiarum, at least as juveniles and seems to be a faster growing plant in general. I have plants grown from seed from 3 different sources and the plants look the same for each species. Scott Zona's monograph keys the two out based on fruit size.

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Jason

Gainesville, Florida

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Both of my S. domingensis and S. causiarum have ligules. Both are clearly different plants as juveniles, at least the ones I'm growing. Domingensis does not handle frost, suffering major damage in heavy frost (regardless of the temps) but will survive temps into the upper teens (F). Causiarum handles frost well but seems to crap out completely at the same temps as domingensis, which for me has been around 15F, give or take a degree or two (probably on the upper end more than the lower). Domingensis will recover faster than causiarum, at least as juveniles and seems to be a faster growing plant in general. I have plants grown from seed from 3 different sources and the plants look the same for each species. Scott Zona's monograph keys the two out based on fruit size.

Interesting observation Jason, and with replicates. this confirms my suspicion that the ligules are not unique to causiarum and therefor not an identifying trait. If Davids palm were domingensis this would explain everything, the simplest solution it could have been misidentified. I had a causiarum from Gary woods, it died from bud rot from daily sprinkler watering over my property line by a neighbor trying to water his grass. My domingensis from tejas tropicals always had a lighter texture to the leaflets, not as stiff, but it was a far faster grower(consistent with your findings). Its now 12' overall, 3 1/2 years from a strap leaf seedling. And now it has decided to grow many ligules.... I cant speak for the frost sensitivity as it was not around in dec 2010 when we had our last good frost. But my causiarum laughed at that hard frost 2 nights in a row, no damage.

Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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Somebody please put up a picture of a ligule.

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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Papery stuff at the base of the boots. More pronounced in some species.

Remember guys, I didn't just experience frost.....but hard freeze with ice. Icicles were literally hanging from the fronds for a couple of days. That was two weeks after experiencing the Polar Vortex where my temps got down to around 20 degrees with winds 20-30 mph. ......... the palms have not even been in the ground but about 8 months at that time.

It was a tough winter...

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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Somebody please put up a picture of a ligule.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.palmpedia.net%2Fwiki%2FSabal_causiarum&tbnid=7xJuFoEUEK8RvM:&docid=tvPfpF5G0R3nDM&h=449&w=301

the papery looking fiber straps at the leafbases. this one looks just like my domingensis. If Zcott Zona doesnt use ligules to differentiate, its good enough for me. Mine had no ligules 15 months ago, now they are all over.

Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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  • 2 weeks later...

Removal of the green was not a good thing in my opinion. The removal of the burnt brown part would have been OK. Green means photosynthesis is still going on, thus carbohydrates are being produced. Even if was only producing 1% carbs compared to prior the cold, it was still 1%. Your new growth is consuming the carbohydrates that were already stored in the stem. Newly planted Sabals take a few years to establish and rely on stored carbohydrates to maintain active growth. If you get another winter like last, the comsumed stored carbs could make an unhappy palm stressed and could become difficult to return to vigor IMO.

Coral Gables, FL 8 miles North of Fairchild USDA Zone 10B

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Removal of the green was not a good thing in my opinion. The removal of the burnt brown part would have been OK. Green means photosynthesis is still going on, thus carbohydrates are being produced. Even if was only producing 1% carbs compared to prior the cold, it was still 1%. Your new growth is consuming the carbohydrates that were already stored in the stem. Newly planted Sabals take a few years to establish and rely on stored carbohydrates to maintain active growth. If you get another winter like last, the comsumed stored carbs could make an unhappy palm stressed and could become difficult to return to vigor IMO.

agreed, never remove green material from a badly stressed palm. Even the petioles can perform photosynthesis of green and this palm has seen a huge reduction in its capacity to photosynthesize. The sap of a palm is precious and requires ferilizer, and photosynthesis, and time to produce. the palm draws the sap back as the leaf dies to preserve the sap. cutting off a green petiole is like a "blood" loss for a palm that has already lost most of its "blood".

Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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Since I cut the fronds it has had a surge of growth developing three healthy green fitonds. We have several more months of warm weather. Now I have three full green fronds photosynthesizing instead of just green petioles. I did not cut all of the brown fronds because I am afraid of pencil necking the trunk. However by cutting at least some of the fronds I believe more energy has gone into quick healthy fronds production as opposed to the palm attempting to hold on to mostly unproductive fronds.

I understand the concepts of not cutting green and re-absorption of sap and I think It would be prudent if I were going into cold weather. However we are going into prime growing season and this palm is snapping back pretty well.

Maybe we could get somebody like Axel to do an experiment with cutting and not cutting fronds and see what kind of growth results we would get.

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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Lol....he always seems like he's game for something like this...besides he doesn't think twice about ripping out a non-performer.

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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Since I cut the fronds it has had a surge of growth developing three healthy green fitonds. We have several more months of warm weather. Now I have three full green fronds photosynthesizing instead of just green petioles. I did not cut all of the brown fronds because I am afraid of pencil necking the trunk. However by cutting at least some of the fronds I believe more energy has gone into quick healthy fronds production as opposed to the palm attempting to hold on to mostly unproductive fronds.

I understand the concepts of not cutting green and re-absorption of sap and I think It would be prudent if I were going into cold weather. However we are going into prime growing season and this palm is snapping back pretty well.

Maybe we could get somebody like Axel to do an experiment with cutting and not cutting fronds and see what kind of growth results we would get.

David - I understand your reasoning. However, it will take about three years before you have a full crown again. Until then, your palm will be producing carbohydrates at a lessened rate. It would have been drawing on its reserves regardless. Bottom line, it don't need no more ice on it. I would be supplementing it with a time released K-Mag from Harrell's. Magnesium is a very important component in the photosynthesis process. There is also some evidence that high levels of Magnesium can make your palm a little less susceptible to the cold. You can't just put down Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts), it could cause Potassium uptake problems for your palm. Our Florida soils lacking in Potassium anyway. The ratio to use is 2:1, Potassium:Magnesium.

Adding Maganese Sulfate right into the crown of all your palms that got damaged would be beneficial to their recovery.

Best regards,

Ron

Coral Gables, FL 8 miles North of Fairchild USDA Zone 10B

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Can I buy magnesium sulfate in liquid form? Or do I need to mix a granular with water? Please go on more about application rates and concentrations etc. I've never heard of crown application like this. Would this be similar to a foliar application?

Is there a product available at one of the box stores that is recommended in the correct ratio? My feed and seed stores will not even special order palm ferts for me so I kind of rely on the box stores for that stuff.

Thanks for the advise and wishing me a normal winter next 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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David - it Manganese sulfate, a trace element. It comes in a water soluble powder. I purchased a large bag (25 lb bag) several years ago from Diamond fertilizer. Unfortunately I could not find it in a smaller size. You got to check local sources. There may be a Harrell's distributor near you, I know they have a presence in Alabama as well as Florida.

Coral Gables, FL 8 miles North of Fairchild USDA Zone 10B

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Checked .... can't find a distributor for Harrell ....only salesmen that work the area.

Here is a more recent pic.post-97-0-05116500-1403115050_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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Checked .... can't find a distributor for Harrell ....only salesmen that work the area.

Here is a more recent pic.attachicon.gif20140615_151636.jpg

If you can get hold of a salesman who works the area, they can tell you who they are delivering to that might sell you some.

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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Checked .... can't find a distributor for Harrell ....only salesmen that work the area.

Here is a more recent pic.attachicon.gif20140615_151636.jpg

Slow recovery is still recovery, nice to see that nice new leaf that has come out. That's got to be somewhat encouraging after the devastating winter.

Corpus Christi, TX, near salt water, zone 9b/10a! Except when it isn't and everything gets nuked back to the stone age of zone 8.

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Yes, extremely so....there are a couple of more green leaves tucked in there as well. Hopefully this winter will not be repeated any time soon.

May try and do a complete update on everything since summer officially starts this weekend. June 21st.

Keith, I may do that.

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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