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Poll on Florida hardiness zones


Jimbean

which hardiness zone map do you prefer of Florida?  

41 members have voted

  1. 1. which hardiness zone map do you prefer of Florida?

    • map #1
      3
    • map #2
      17
    • map #3
      1
    • map #4
      7
    • map #5
      13
    • map #6
      0


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3 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

Coastal Pinellas and Hillsborough do appear to be a shade or two cooler than what they are.  They do have coconuts that survived 1989 at Kopsick and that is on the east side of the peninsula in Pinellas.  I would still say #5 is the best overall map from my point of view.

Yeah, map #5 doesn't do a good job on the west coast. It basically says 95% of Sarasota County is warmer than Pinellas which clearly is not the case. 

@Jimbean, this is the best map I've seen for the immediate Tampa Bay area:

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/6179-make-your-own-zone-map/#comment-104327

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Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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45 minutes ago, Estlander said:

 

Another plant I like that you see alot as soon as you get down to 9B is the Norfolk Island pine. Unfortunately that is nowhere to be seen here. 

5bca640fd5422.image.thumb.jpg.21a9cc9ee9

Here's what a bad freeze does to them in 9b, similar latitude to Destin. This is the TX state champion (there may be larger specimens further down the coast and in the RGV). They were one of the most common trees in Galveston and survived Hurricane Ike in 2008. January 2018 absolutely nuked them. (Sorry for OT) 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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1 hour ago, Estlander said:

Love the look of P. Reclinata a lot. They’re extremely rare for the area. So I took seeds from both P. Reclinatas back in October and they’ve all germinated. Gonna plant one on my yard when they’re big enough to be planted. :)

That's too bad they're not up there. They're all over the place here, very invasive. 

52 minutes ago, Estlander said:

Another plant I like that you see alot as soon as you get down to 9B is the Norfolk Island pine. Unfortunately that is nowhere to be seen here. 

I don't think Norfolk Island pines are actually long term hardy in 9B. There's a ton of them in 9B now, but you don't see the huge 100+ ft tall pines until you get to warmer parts of 10a. I'm guessing they must have not fared well in the 80s around here.  

Edited by RedRabbit
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Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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7 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

Yeah, map #5 doesn't do a good job on the west coast. It basically says 95% of Sarasota County is warmer than Pinellas which clearly is not the case. 

@Jimbean, this is the best map I've seen for the immediate Tampa Bay area:

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/6179-make-your-own-zone-map/#comment-104327

Thanks for sharing that link.  Definitely some valuable commentary for our region.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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22 minutes ago, Xenon said:

5bca640fd5422.image.thumb.jpg.21a9cc9ee9

Here's what a bad freeze does to them in 9b, similar latitude to Destin. This is the TX state champion (there may be larger specimens further down the coast and in the RGV). They were one of the most common trees in Galveston and survived Hurricane Ike in 2008. January 2018 absolutely nuked them. (Sorry for OT) 

Ouch! If it’s really dead it would cost a pretty penny to take that beast down so close to the house. 

For me they’ve always been one of the most visible markers between 9A and 9B. I’m sure that when those 9B areas ever have a lower end 9A winter, they will most likely freeze. 

They’re everywhere in Daytona Beach. 

Edited by Estlander
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35 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

Yeah, map #5 doesn't do a good job on the west coast. It basically says 95% of Sarasota County is warmer than Pinellas which clearly is not the case. 

@Jimbean, this is the best map I've seen for the immediate Tampa Bay area:

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/6179-make-your-own-zone-map/#comment-104327

it's detailed but looks too warm. 

Brevard County, Fl

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3 hours ago, Estlander said:

Can’t do that, lol. Then I’d be looking at S. Repens, Sabals, Butia and Euro fans only.  

Couldn’t imagine my surroundings without W. Robusta, CIDP, P. Sylvestris, P. Dactylifera, L. Chinensis/Nitida/Decora, Queens. Some of these palms have become numerous enough that they’re stepping on the toes of Sabals already.

Could you imagine your area of Tampa/Clearwater/St. Pete without Royals, Foxtails and other crown shaft palms and Coconuts? St. Pete went down to 18F in the 80’s. 

We certainly do have 9B winters here but not reliably enough to actually grow any 9B palms for more than a few years. P. Roebelenii is still a no go here unless you provide it some protection during a 9A winter. 

Another plant I like that you see alot as soon as you get down to 9B is the Norfolk Island pine. Unfortunately that is nowhere to be seen here. 

Nothing wrong with a little variety :)

Where did the 18F in St. Pete come from?  The record low for St. Pete is 22F according to weather.com:

201812290100_StPeteWeather.png

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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3 hours ago, Jimbean said:

it's detailed but looks too warm. 

It may be a little warm. Regardless of the scale, the lines are drawn well for radiational freezes. 

Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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4 hours ago, Estlander said:

Ouch! If it’s really dead it would cost a pretty penny to take that beast down so close to the house. 

For me they’ve always been one of the most visible markers between 9A and 9B. I’m sure that when those 9B areas ever have a lower end 9A winter, they will most likely freeze. 

They’re everywhere in Daytona Beach. 

They're really a 9b/10a plant. Start showing damage at around 30F and major damage under 27-28F. Long duration freeze and an ultimate low of 25F (still technically 9b) erased 20 years of growth in Galveston. You can see all the dead trees on streetview...several on every block, quite sad. For comparison, some royal palms and a few foxtail palms managed to slip by.

Daytona Beach (near the water) is probably close to 10a, at least in the short term. The handful of coconuts there are a testament to that. 

 

Edited by Xenon

Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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9 hours ago, Xenon said:

They're really a 9b/10a plant. Start showing damage at around 30F and major damage under 27-28F. Long duration freeze and an ultimate low of 25F (still technically 9b) erased 20 years of growth in Galveston. You can see all the dead trees on streetview...several on every block, quite sad. For comparison, some royal palms and a few foxtail palms managed to slip by.

Daytona Beach (near the water) is probably close to 10a, at least in the short term. The handful of coconuts there are a testament to that. 

 

Daytona Beach is 9B and nowhere close to 10A.  It sounds like Norfolk Island pines are susceptible to long duration freezes.

Brevard County, Fl

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10 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

Nothing wrong with a little variety :)

Where did the 18F in St. Pete come from?  The record low for St. Pete is 22F according to weather.com:

201812290100_StPeteWeather.png

Yes, the lowest for St Pete is 22F, 19F in Clearwater and 18F in Tampa. No crownshaft palm would survive those temps. 

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16 hours ago, Estlander said:

Not to mention all these Queens around town and in the area. And that’s not nearly all of them. There’s many more that I know of. 

Yeah, I know all about the 80’s freezes. Yes, they happened. Jacksonville went down to single digits and had a lot of snow. Neither area has seen those temps since. So why are they 9A on map #5 and coastal panhandle in a colder end of 8B?

So yeah, to reiterate my earlier point: Map # 5 sucks :D

Wow, you sure have found all the queens around there- I haven't seen many of those. I can see how if the area continues to have nothing colder than 9a temps, queens will become VERY prevalent. sure looks like they are almost common with your picture compilation, but they still aren't quite a widespread landscape staple at this point (more so to someone who doesn't live and drive around there a lot). Most of those are either planted post-2014 (like the ones at the Palms of Destin Resort) or they were 100% defoliated after that winter (with rare exception). 

I similarly remember in the mid/late 2000's, there was a big push for Phoenix roebelenni to become a landscape staple- they were being planted left and right everywhere. If it hadn't been for the freezes, they would be in almost everyone's front yard today.

I'll also point out that it wasn't just 80's freezes that had queen killing temps in the Destin area. Feb 1996 had 14 degrees at nearby Eglin Air Force Base (which probably meant nothing warmer than upper teens for the Destin area). And January 2003 had 19 degrees in the Destin area as well.

Edited by Opal92
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47 minutes ago, Estlander said:

Yes, the lowest for St Pete is 22F, 19F in Clearwater and 18F in Tampa. No crownshaft palm would survive those temps. 

Probably not even at the St. Pete low.  Eric in Orlando had a great thread about the 1989 freeze that shows what can happen when the big one comes.  Even some of the hardy stuff takes a dive.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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3 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

Probably not even at the St. Pete low.  Eric in Orlando had a great thread about the 1989 freeze that shows what can happen when the big one comes.  Even some of the hardy stuff takes a dive.

3 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

 

3 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

 

Many mature Royals survived the 80's freezes in the warmer areas of St Pete, but they were completely defoilated.

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Lived in Cape Coral, Miami, Orlando and St. Petersburg Florida.

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5 hours ago, Opal92 said:

Wow, you sure have found all the queens around there- I haven't seen many of those. I can see how if the area continues to have nothing colder than 9a temps, queens will become VERY prevalent. sure looks like they are almost common with your picture compilation, but they still aren't quite a widespread landscape staple at this point (more so to someone who doesn't live and drive around there a lot). Most of those are either planted post-2014 (like the ones at the Palms of Destin Resort) or they were 100% defoliated after that winter (with rare exception). 

I similarly remember in the mid/late 2000's, there was a big push for Phoenix roebelenni to become a landscape staple- they were being planted left and right everywhere. If it hadn't been for the freezes, they would be in almost everyone's front yard today.

I'll also point out that it wasn't just 80's freezes that had queen killing temps in the Destin area. Feb 1996 had 14 degrees at nearby Eglin Air Force Base (which probably meant nothing warmer than upper teens for the Destin area). And January 2003 had 19 degrees in the Destin area as well.

I wish I could say how long all of these Queens have been around, but I can't. But believe me, there's more. :D Have also seen surprisingly many of them in Panama City and Panama City Beach.

This is only my second winter that I've been paying close attention to how everything does around here in the winter. Up until two years or so ago I took everything growing around here for granted. I had no idea about how low winter temps could drop in Florida and what the cold hardiness levels of different Palms even were.

Then I heard about the winter of 1899 and -14C being recorded in Tallahassee. Blew me away. I was like, ok, that was over 100 years ago and who knows if it happens again (not yet being aware of the 80's freezes at that point, lol). When I finally did find out about the 80's freezes and hardiness levels of Palms is when everything changed. Started seriously freaking out at that point :D

Coming back to the Queens, however, the only one I've personally been aware of since 2012 is the one that's a few houses down from me. The crown on this thing is massive and nothing like the sorry ones on the ones I've posted. That one actually shows up on Google Maps images from 2007. So it's been there at least 12 years.

There's another one a couple of miles from me that's even bigger. It's tall with a thick robust trunk and the fronds on that thing are scary big when you're standing by it. Wouldn't wanna climb up there to prune that thing ,lol.

Edited by Estlander
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7 hours ago, Opal92 said:

I similarly remember in the mid/late 2000's, there was a big push for Phoenix roebelenni to become a landscape staple- they were being planted left and right everywhere. If it hadn't been for the freezes, they would be in almost everyone's front yard today.

Considering they're about 5F less hardy than Queens, probably not such a good idea to spend money on those. With that being said, I do have one in ground as well. :D 

There's a nursery here that sells them for only $25. It was hard not to try one out. They're all  5-6ft tall with 4ft. of trunk, both singles and triples. Mine is planted on the south side of the house that is consistently 2 degrees Celsius warmer than the rest of the yard.

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4 hours ago, Palmaceae said:

Many mature Royals survived the 80's freezes in the warmer areas of St Pete, but they were completely defoilated.

Interesting.  Do you happen to know if those areas stayed above 25F?

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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5 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

Interesting.  Do you happen to know if those areas stayed above 25F?

At my place in south central St Pete, my lowest was 25F in the 80's and 98% of the royals survived. Even though it was 25F the duration below 32F was over 12 hours. 

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Lived in Cape Coral, Miami, Orlando and St. Petersburg Florida.

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Just now, Palmaceae said:

At my place in central St Pete, my lowest was 25F in the 80's and 98% of the royals survived. Even though it was 25F the duration below 32F was over 12 hours. 

Thanks for that piece of information.  I didn't get down here until 2003, so I didn't experience the 80s freezes first-hand here. 

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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11 hours ago, Jimbean said:

Daytona Beach is 9B and nowhere close to 10A.  It sounds like Norfolk Island pines are susceptible to long duration freezes.

In 2010, our 40 foot Norfolk Island Pine had only damage to the tiny new growth tips which means like 99% of the foliage was undamaged.  This was after 24F and lots of incessant cold and below freezing temperatures.  My large royals were defoliated but did both survive.

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11 hours ago, palmsOrl said:

In 2010, our 40 foot Norfolk Island Pine had only damage to the tiny new growth tips which means like 99% of the foliage was undamaged.  This was after 24F and lots of incessant cold and below freezing temperatures.  My large royals were defoliated but did both survive.

We had very similar events in 2010.  Down here, we bottomed off at 26F twice, with a balmy 28F night in between.  The first time it hit 26F overnight, the high for the day was 37F.  Almost every royal in town and most of the foxtails survived with varying levels of burn (in most cases ~80%).  I had figured that 25F would be the cutoff for these, but that number apparently needs adjusted downward.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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33 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

We had very similar events in 2010.  Down here, we bottomed off at 26F twice, with a balmy 28F night in between.  The first time it hit 26F overnight, the high for the day was 37F.  Almost every royal in town and most of the foxtails survived with varying levels of burn (in most cases ~80%).  I had figured that 25F would be the cutoff for these, but that number apparently needs adjusted downward.

I know royals can survive for short periods of 23F

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Brevard County, Fl

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On 12/29/2018, 10:35:14, Opal92 said:
On 12/29/2018, 10:35:14, Opal92 said:

 

Wow, you sure have found all the queens around there- I haven't seen many of those. I can see how if the area continues to have nothing colder than 9a temps, queens will become VERY prevalent. sure looks like they are almost common with your picture compilation, but they still aren't quite a widespread landscape staple at this point (more so to someone who doesn't live and drive around there a lot). Most of those are either planted post-2014 (like the ones at the Palms of Destin Resort) or they were 100% defoliated after that winter (with rare exception). 

I similarly remember in the mid/late 2000's, there was a big push for Phoenix roebelenni to become a landscape staple- they were being planted left and right everywhere. If it hadn't been for the freezes, they would be in almost everyone's front yard today.

 Thought I'd post a few more pics of Queens around Destin-Santa Rosa Beach area that I know of. Surprisingly there are quite a few P. Roebeleniis too.

The third one is the one that's been around at least since 2007. The fourth blurry one is a Queen in Fort Walton Beach that I've been keeping an eye on since at least 2010. I used to live in FWB until 2012 and I had been aware of it at least a couple of years before moving. Unfortunately I don't have a good pic of it. Just a very blurry Google Maps pic as it's by the house that's on a busy road and I just can't pull into someone's yard to take a pic of it, lol.

 

 

 

IMG_0349.JPG

IMG_0353.JPG

IMG_E0343.JPG

IMG_0361.PNG

Edited by Estlander
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And then there’s my young Queen, of course. It’s second winter in ground. It grew well the past summer and is now 11-12ft. tall. 

39AC466F-40A6-4C2F-9893-B5A58A1B165E.jpeg

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  • 2 years later...

Map #2, the USDA 2012 map, is by far the best of the lot. Map #4 drags 8b way south into Central Florida, which is patently ridiculous. I have been growing palms and citrus east and later southeast of Gainesville for 41 years, and since '89 I have only seen temps fall below 20 very few times. Nothing under 22 since 2011. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here is some interesting info.
Most of the people who live in the Panhandle in/around the Pensacola area has been on Scenic Hwy at some point. Well, there are some pygmy dates just before the west bound I-10 ramp from Scenic Hwy. I dont know for sure, but looking at google maps images these things are OLD. Pre 2007 old for one of them (one of the clump has died recently) and also with the older clump there was a tall trunking queen, but it got zapped probably in 2014 but the pygmy dates survived. While these things are old and are still living, they do get covered up with a tarp every winter. There are some nice Mules, Canariensis, W. robusta, Butia, and of course Palmetto along the Hwy. This road runs along the Escambia Bay, and is surely part of a microclimate. Will make an seperate post with pics from 2007 streetview images to 2019.

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Palms - 3 S. romanzoffiana, 1 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 1 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 2 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 2 P. sylvestris, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 2 BxS, 1 C. nucifera, 1 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 9 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 2 C. macrocarpa

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Time period from 2007-2019. Saw these palms the other day and they are still growing.

2007.PNG

2008w.PNG

2011.PNG

2013.PNG

2015.PNG

2016.PNG

2018.PNG

2019w.PNG

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Palms - 3 S. romanzoffiana, 1 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 1 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 2 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 2 P. sylvestris, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 2 BxS, 1 C. nucifera, 1 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 9 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 2 C. macrocarpa

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Wow!  Awesome @JLM.  2010 was the worst.  I took some pics of interior north central FL recently I'll be posting soon.  Seems zone 9a is moving further north,

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  • 1 year later...
On 12/5/2018 at 1:09 PM, Jimbean said:

Map #4

post-664-0-05598200-1391728580.gif.e82a3a3d0ffe86a9534eb261f1894fde.gif

Anyone know any interactive or zoom able or higher res version of map #4? I'm highly interested in those yellow dots and lines within the zone 9b. like to pinpoint them on street/google map. Thanks!

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8 hours ago, Jay1 said:

Anyone know any interactive or zoom able or higher res version of map #4? I'm highly interested in those yellow dots and lines within the zone 9b. like to pinpoint them on street/google map. Thanks!

Those are the higher elevations of the Lake Wales Ridge.  The map itself is not very high resolution so you would have to make another map based on that concept. 

Brevard County, Fl

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I am in Cross Creek, 20 miles southeast of Gainesville in Alachua County just above the Marion County line. For the past five years I have successfully grown a number of tender tropicals in my yard including the following: Mango, heart leaf philadendron to the tops of cypress trees, Pigmy Date, Ficus religiosa (Bodi Tree),  Dypsis lutescens, and Strelitzia nicolai and for the last three years Ficus elastica, Ficus lyrata, and Ravenea rivulari. For the past fifeteen years I have grown Queen palms, Chinese Fans, bougainvilla, and dozens of various citrus cultivars. I regularly harvest large crops of bananas from my 20 foot Cavendish.  Zone 9b? I don't think so.

I have been a member of IPS since 1962.

Edited by robert Lauriault
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53 minutes ago, robert Lauriault said:

I am in Cross Creek, 20 miles southeast of Gainesville in Alachua County just above the Marion County line. For the past five years I have successfully grown a number of tender tropicals in my yard including the following: Mango, heart leaf philadendron to the tops of cypress trees, Pigmy Date, Ficus religiosa (Bodi Tree),  Dypsis lutescens, and Strelitzia nicolai and for the last three years Ficus elastica, Ficus lyrata, and Ravenea rivulari. For the past fifeteen years I have grown Queen palms, Chinese Fans, bougainvilla, and dozens of various citrus cultivars. I regularly harvest large crops of bananas from my 20 foot Cavendish.  Zone 9b? I don't think so.

I have been a member of IPS since 1962.

A few questions you could almost certainly help with:

  • How do the temperatures recorded in your garden compare to Micanopy, Gainesville, and Ocala?
  • Do you know of any good WUnderground stations we could use to modify the maps?
  • Does Citra have a similar advantage?
  • Are any of these plants under canopy?

Given the siting of Cross Creek, it is certainly possible that the water significantly modifies the climate.  The folks in Belle Isle (Orlando) and the Chain of Lakes areas in Winter Haven have a similar advantage.  I'm guilty of lumping it into a similar climate zone with the other map makers.  This is largely due to the lack of data to support doing otherwise.

20220813_CrossCreek_Citra.jpg.bbfbc35538ccfa72340ea0d5b4fbdde6.jpg

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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Thanks for your response and inquiry re my post. 

How do the temperatures recorded in your garden compare to Micanopy, Gainesville, and Ocala? Generally two to three degrees warmer than Gainesville and usually a couple of degrees warmer than Ocala airport (which is a cold location). I don't know about Micanopy, but bananas there nearly always freeze well before I suffer any damage to mine.

Do you know of any good WUnderground stations we could use to modify the maps? There's a station here in Cross Creek just half a mile up CR 325 from me. 

Does Citra have a similar advantage? Citra generally has similar minimums as Cross Creek, but when Orange Lake levels fall I suspect that Citra is disadvantaged. Of course large scale commercial orange groves existed there from the late 19th century until the great freezes of the 1980's.

Are any of these plants under canopy? Yes, but mostly from diciduous cypress trees. Of course the moss and vines in the cypress must offer some protection. My least cold hardy plants are all planted on the south side of my log house beneath cypress and cabbage palms. 

Between 2013 and 2022 my property has not experienced what I would term a 'killing freeze or frost'.  The January freeze this past winter was the coldest it's been in quite a few years. My thermometer said 24, but horticulural damage was at a minimum. I have yet to understand why this was. For example, bananas only suffered moderate leaf damage, bougainvilla practically no leaf loss, an eighteen foot tall hibiscus, no damage, a white guava only minor leaf loss, and my mango, no damage whatsoever.  The heart leaf philodendron had lost only a very few of the older leaves. These vines grow high into the cypress in various parts of my yard.

 

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11 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

A few questions you could almost certainly help with:

  • How do the temperatures recorded in your garden compare to Micanopy, Gainesville, and Ocala?
  • Do you know of any good WUnderground stations we could use to modify the maps?
  • Does Citra have a similar advantage?
  • Are any of these plants under canopy?

Given the siting of Cross Creek, it is certainly possible that the water significantly modifies the climate.  The folks in Belle Isle (Orlando) and the Chain of Lakes areas in Winter Haven have a similar advantage.  I'm guilty of lumping it into a similar climate zone with the other map makers.  This is largely due to the lack of data to support doing otherwise.

20220813_CrossCreek_Citra.jpg.bbfbc35538ccfa72340ea0d5b4fbdde6.jpg

That map actually overstates the lakes some. A large part of Lochloosa depicted here is really more swamp/marsh than actual lake when you view Google Satellite imagery. Moreover, I think the distance between the two lakes may be too far for a big climate advantage like Belle Isle… I would guess the area is Z9a if I didn’t know better, although it doesn’t sound like it based on what’s growing there.

Edited by RedRabbit

Westchase | 9b 10a  ◆  Nokomis | 10a  ◆  St. Petersburg | 10a 10b 

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20 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

That map actually overstates the lakes some. A large part of Lochloosa depicted here is really more swamp/marsh than actual lake when you view Google Satellite imagery. Moreover, I think the distance between the two lakes may be too far for a big climate advantage like Belle Isle… I would guess the area is Z9a if I didn’t know better, although it doesn’t sound like it based on what’s growing there.

My 50-year average map initially had this near the border of 9a-2 (22F-23.999F) and 9a-b (24F-25.999).  It makes sense that the areas south and east of Lake Orange would have some advantage, even if the plantings in most cases don't take advantage of it.  I'll attach a sheet with some interesting Wunderground data.  Since there is a Dypsis lutescens there, I'd like to see how Roystonea regia, Wodyetia bifurcata, or Archontophoenix cunninghamiana attempted.  Chambeyronia macrocarpa, Satakentia liukiuensis or Chambeyronia (Kentiopsis) oliviformis would be interesting too.

21 hours ago, robert Lauriault said:

Thanks for your response and inquiry re my post. 

How do the temperatures recorded in your garden compare to Micanopy, Gainesville, and Ocala? Generally two to three degrees warmer than Gainesville and usually a couple of degrees warmer than Ocala airport (which is a cold location). I don't know about Micanopy, but bananas there nearly always freeze well before I suffer any damage to mine.

Do you know of any good WUnderground stations we could use to modify the maps? There's a station here in Cross Creek just half a mile up CR 325 from me. 

Does Citra have a similar advantage? Citra generally has similar minimums as Cross Creek, but when Orange Lake levels fall I suspect that Citra is disadvantaged. Of course large scale commercial orange groves existed there from the late 19th century until the great freezes of the 1980's.

Are any of these plants under canopy? Yes, but mostly from diciduous cypress trees. Of course the moss and vines in the cypress must offer some protection. My least cold hardy plants are all planted on the south side of my log house beneath cypress and cabbage palms. 

Between 2013 and 2022 my property has not experienced what I would term a 'killing freeze or frost'.  The January freeze this past winter was the coldest it's been in quite a few years. My thermometer said 24, but horticulural damage was at a minimum. I have yet to understand why this was. For example, bananas only suffered moderate leaf damage, bougainvilla practically no leaf loss, an eighteen foot tall hibiscus, no damage, a white guava only minor leaf loss, and my mango, no damage whatsoever.  The heart leaf philodendron had lost only a very few of the older leaves. These vines grow high into the cypress in various parts of my yard.

You've created what I refer to as a "perfect storm" microclimate.  The house shields the plants from windy advective cold, the canopy likely negates the bulk of the frost, and the lake to your west keeps the night time temperatures elevated compared to the areas with no large bodies of water in the vicinity.  Expert care is also a factor in this case.  Leu Gardens in Orlando combines what you're doing in Cross Creek with a strong UHI effect (+7F).  This allows Leu Gardens (and you) to grow a lot of plants that would otherwise not be able to survive. 

I did some digging on WUnderground and found a few stations of interest, including the one you had mentioned.  The book A History of Florida Citrus Freezes mentions Citra frequently.  My personal copy of this book is at one of my offices, so I'll have to grab it and look at some of damage descriptions in there next time I am in that particular office.

/*=================*/

As for the WUnderground data, there are some comparisons in the graphic and in the attached spreadsheet.  The years I looked the most closely at were 2022 and 2018. 

January 2022 was more or less a typical Florida cold front.  Some stations in the area recorded temperatures in the 27F-28F range.  28F was the temperature used for the cutoff of zone 9b-2.  Zone 9b-2 with canopy could certainly support a lot of the palms and other plants typically pegged as "zone 10".  I'd be interested to see how a Roystonea regia, Wodyetia bifurcata, or Archontophoenix cunninghamiana would fare in Robert's garden.  Robert's low was equal to what was recorded at KZPH - almost 90 miles south of Cross Creek.  The lows in the 27-28 range at the stations south of Orange Lake are similar to that of KPCM - almost 100 miles south of Cross Creek.  The damage in the outlying areas around Plant City and north of I-4 was well above what Robert described as most of the plantings were out in the open near open fields.

January 2018 was primarily an advective freeze, so frost wasn't a concern.  Temperatures were roughly a standard deviation lower than the average annual low in most locations.  To put the 25.5 reading at KFLCITRA10 in perspective, this is slightly higher than the NOAA reading at KLAL for that freeze.  The distance is roughly 100 miles from the south shore of Orange Lake to KLAL.  The Cross Creek station recorded ~22 => slightly under 9a-2.  The remaining lows are a shade under 24F => what I would expect from a 9a-b transition zone.

image.thumb.png.ccd63507914cb0edd215213d83ab591f.png

Overall, my take is that a zone 9a-b is appropriate for the area in general, but certainly 9b-1 and even 9b-2 are possible in areas sheltered by canopy and/or lake effect.  Revising my map to reflect this is going to be interesting.

202208142030_Citra_CrossCity_WU.xlsx

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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