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Zone 10 palms in South Texas


Xenon
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Royals are one of the most common palms in the Rio Grande Valley (the 4 southernmost counties in Texas) and are probably the most common pinnate palm in Brownsville, the McAllen metro area, and the coast. They are ubiquitous in private, commercial, and increasingly, even public landscapes. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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Foxtail palms are not that far behind in popularity 

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Check out the big mango tree ! 
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Another big mango, a common street tree

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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Sneaking in some more dicots...the big Ficus elastica teased earlier 
 

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A big Ficus microcarpa

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Royal poinciana (Delonix regia) is another common street tree, this one was especially big 

 

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Edited by Xenon
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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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The unicorns...coconuts! They look real hit and miss. Many of them are not getting enough water and some are barely hanging on. The last two winters have been very mild.

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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Great pix Jonathan.  Thanks for sharing!

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Clay

South Padre Island, Zone 10a

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More rare than a Texas coconut is this Corypha utan at a collector's (Dr. Medsen) house in McAllen. Also Acrocomia, Cocothrinax, and Hyphaene among others

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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The Valley's official palm, Washingtonia robusta, outnumbers everything else by a long shot. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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The canals in Port Isabel 

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The mouth of the Rio Grande. The lighthouse in the distance is in Tamaulipas, Mexico. 

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View of South Padre Island from the south at the Boca Chica jetties 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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How reliable are coconuts in S. Texas? Are there older ones or have there been total wipeout freezes like what happens every once in awhile in Florida.

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Westchase | 9b,  St. Petersburg | 9b,  Laurel | 10a

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@Xenon Wonderful photos!  Thank you for sharing!

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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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6 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

How reliable are coconuts in S. Texas? Are there older ones or have there been total wipeout freezes like what happens every once in awhile in Florida.

Some death here and there but no complete wipeout in Brownsville and near the coast since 1989. Much like some parts of central Florida. The lowest reading at the airport in Brownsville for the last 30 years is 28F, with an average annual extreme minimum of 33-34F. South Padre, the barrier island, has only seen a freeze twice in the last 30 years and would technically be zone 10b. The inland areas around McAllen have warmed up dramatically in the last 20 years due to booming development helping to strengthen the heat island though there are also a few 15-20+ year old coconuts in the area. There is also more daytime heating. Tropicals actually look better and seem more abundant around McAllen (60-80 miles inland) due to all the newer development planting tropicals very generously (royal and foxtail palms galore). This area is also economically better off in general so plants are better maintained and irrigated. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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Very interesting documentation!

Thank you very much!

best regards from Okinawa - 

Lars

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2 hours ago, Xenon said:

Some death here and there but no complete wipeout in Brownsville and near the coast since 1989. Much like some parts of central Florida. The lowest reading at the airport in Brownsville for the last 30 years is 28F, with an average annual extreme minimum of 33-34F. South Padre, the barrier island, has only seen a freeze twice in the last 30 years and would technically be zone 10b. The inland areas around McAllen have warmed up dramatically in the last 20 years due to booming development helping to strengthen the heat island though there are also a few 15-20+ year old coconuts in the area. There is also more daytime heating. Tropicals actually look better and seem more abundant around McAllen (60-80 miles inland) due to all the newer development planting tropicals very generously (royal and foxtail palms galore). This area is also economically better off in general so plants are better maintained and irrigated. 

Thanks, so was there a total kill in 1989?

Brownsville is kind of interesting. It’s not that far for Monterrey which looks stunning, only it’s probably not safe to go there. :(

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Westchase | 9b,  St. Petersburg | 9b,  Laurel | 10a

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Beautiful photos of a beautiful area. Thanks, Jonathan. A towering royal is one of the loveliest palms in the world.

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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 really need to take a trip down there. Thanks for the pic's,  very palmy area =) 

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T J 

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2 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Thanks, so was there a total kill in 1989?

Brownsville is kind of interesting. It’s not that far for Monterrey which looks stunning, only it’s probably not safe to go there. :(

1989 was a devastating year for the Gulf Coast including Florida.  It hit 9*F here in Houston December 24th, Brownsville showed a low of 16*F. Since then the low for Brownsville was 28*F.

Edited by Meangreen94z
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1 hour ago, RedRabbit said:

Thanks, so was there a total kill in 1989?

Brownsville is kind of interesting. It’s not that far for Monterrey which looks stunning, only it’s probably not safe to go there. :(

Was mid to upper teens for 1989. Total coconut kill on the coast of Tamaulipas all the way past the Tropic of Cancer, low-mid 20s well south of the 24th parallel. Was quite the freeze. A repeat would be devastating.  Abundant pre-89 coconuts start around 22.5*N, just north of Tampico. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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I'd say there are more queen palms than royals in the valley , if you look at what's field grown in nurseries , and not just brought in by the money laundry outfits 

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1 hour ago, Umbrae said:

I'd say there are more queen palms than royals in the valley , if you look at what's field grown in nurseries , and not just brought in by the money laundry outfits 

I find it depends on the area, queens are still dominant in Harlingen and the smaller cities. Royals are dominant in more recent development in McAllen Area, most of Brownsville, the coast, and SPI. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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royals get frosted out , die from trunk damage , and ill care moreso than queens , one reason they are still a  standard 

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Wow to Brownsville's average monthly temperature for December 1989.  That would average lows in the upper 20s and highs in the upper 40s for the month as a whole.  Obviously the cold wave and undoubtedly other cold fronts skewed the average way downward, but still.

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I need to do more touring of Brownsville. I’ve mostly driven around Mcallen, Harlingen, and South Padre.

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37 minutes ago, Meangreen94z said:

I need to do more touring of Brownsville. I’ve mostly driven around Mcallen, Harlingen, and South Padre.

As far as tropical abundance goes, I'd say McAllen-Pharr has the edge over Brownsville. The eastern part of Brownsville around Boca Chica is nice, that's where the giant Ficus is located. There's a healthy mature coconut on Indiana Ave/Boca Chica that I wasn't able to photograph. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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2 hours ago, palmsOrl said:

Wow to Brownsville's average monthly temperature for December 1989.  That would average lows in the upper 20s and highs in the upper 40s for the month as a whole.  Obviously the cold wave and undoubtedly other cold fronts skewed the average way downward, but still.

Per NWS, Brownsville recorded an average high of 61.9F and an average low of 41.7F for December 1989. A mean of 51.8F, way below average (about -10F) but not THAT below average haha

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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6 hours ago, necturus said:

Damn man, what am I doing up here. Great pictures, thanks.

Right haha 

T J 

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Coconuts donated by John Purcell aka Mr. Coconut Palm at the Native Plant Center on South Padre. IIRC, one of them is a Fiji Dwarf and the other a Malayan. The "center" looks abandoned and most of the plants are drought stressed/dying (common problem across the RGV). They should be much bigger than this. 

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Yellow Malayan (?) in San Juan that believe it or not was planted as a seedling in 2011. Growth rate far from stellar, but it's still there haha

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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