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Queen Palms in El Paso?


ChrisA
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Hello Everybody,

 

Driving back from San Antonio last weekend I was going through El Paso on I-10 and noticed a Taco Cabana. It is well known that this chain prefers to plant palms to add that tropical feel at their restaurant locations, but I was stunned when I examined more closely that there were three good-sized Queen Palms in the front hell-strip!  Google maps shows these as being planted after the terribly cold vortex that slammed the region in February 2011.  These were likely planted either later on in 2011 or in 2012. The December 2012 street view shows very young queen palms which grew greatly by 2015. Looks like they normally have the fronds singed in winter, although winter of 2019/2020 shows the fronds still quite green in February of 2020; and pretty good in 2019.

I'm not great at detecting the difference between mules and Queen palms. Perhaps someone can verify if they are indeed pure Queens as I suspect?

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@31.7821343,-106.4053766,3a,75y,305.53h,90.23t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sAXhpWujDT-ppUYjQN9krzw!2e0!5s20200201T000000!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en

 

-Chris

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I think the reason they can survive is because its dry and ice does not form on the plant or its warm enough I don't know or maybe a combination of the 2

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

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11 minutes ago, DAVEinMB said:

@ChrisA yes sir, queens. Great find :shaka-2:

:greenthumb: ^X2 Queens for sure..  Bet Mules would do about as well/ better there too.

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Thanks all! I'm impressed that they are making it there so well.  I don't believe any exist in the southern New Mexico desert towns although I'd heard rumors of them in Las Cruces and Alamogordo. 

 

Maybe their landscaper figured the best time to plant them was right after the 100-year cold snap. Hopefully they'll have a fighting chance for the next several years to come.

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2 minutes ago, ChrisA said:

Thanks all! I'm impressed that they are making it there so well.  I don't believe any exist in the southern New Mexico desert towns although I'd heard rumors of them in Las Cruces and Alamogordo. 

 

Maybe their landscaper figured the best time to plant them was right after the 100-year cold snap. Hopefully they'll have a fighting chance for the next several years to come.

From the looks of the post- cold snap time stamp, it looks like they planted small ones that might??  have gotten beat up, and were replaced later ( note changes in the other plants in the same general bed, esp when you zoom in close/ pull up closer up to them ) Those.. -potentially older- ( wish there was a pic from 2014 ) Queens have done well since being planted.. I'd try a few more ( or mix in Mules ), in the open area to the right / open bed on the opposite side of the sidewalk, if i had installed these/ still maintained the property.. Definitely not something you'd anticipate seeing there/ in Southern NM.

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12 minutes ago, ChrisA said:

Maybe their landscaper figured the best time to plant them was right after the 100-year cold snap. Hopefully they'll have a fighting chance for the next several years to come.

Yep. Note the row of dead young W. robusta in 2011, behind where the queens would be planted.  Also note the defoliated Chamaerops in the background and the pair of robusta that barely survived behind a south facing wall (!) next door at the Holiday Inn. 

A similar thing happens with bottle palms in Zapata and royal palms in Laredo, they "shouldn't" be there going by the numbers or the maps but it does seem like the drier conditions are more forgiving when it gets cold. 

Edited by Xenon
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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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6 minutes ago, Xenon said:

Yep. Note the row of dead young W. robusta in 2011, behind where the queens would be planted.  Also note the defoliated Chamaerops in the background and the pair of robusta that barely survived behind a south facing wall (!) next door at the Holiday Inn. 

A similar thing happens with bottle palms in Zapata and royal palms in Laredo, they "shouldn't" be there going by the numbers or the maps but it does seem like the drier conditions are more forgiving when it gets cold. 

Agree.. our typically drier air this time of year helps.. While we may see lows in the mid/lower 30s often enough thru x # of winters, a widespread frost.. or freeze isn't always a result since our dew points can be in the low 20s/ teens ( or occasionally near zero ) and humidity values running about the same on many of the same nights.

It is those cold snaps following a good, widespread cold rain event, where dew points/ humidity is much higher as everything clears out that causes me more concern for the tender stuff.. at least what i have, or i see growing in/around town, my neighborhood.  Heat island effect closer to town helps of course as well.

 While just a personal opinion, El Paso seems on par in many respects with Tucson, except perhaps more vulnerable to slugs of colder air that roll down the high plains every so often, part of which can get re-directed west but doesn't quite make it over the " hills " between there and South Central AZ... kind of pooling over El Paso and adjacent parts of Southern New Mexico before moderating or simply washing out. Even so, it seems far southeastern AZ takes the brunt of most of the more robust " back door " cold fronts that do spill over before the air experiences modification as it spreads west/northwest. Imagine some of it gets pulled south through the various north/south aligned canyons in inland northern Sonora, that line up with the border down there as well.

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1 hour ago, ChrisA said:

Driving back from San Antonio last weekend I was going through El Paso on I-10 and noticed a Taco Cabana. It is well known that this chain prefers to plant palms to add that tropical feel at their restaurant locations, but I was stunned when I examined more closely that there were three good-sized Queen Palms in the front hell-strip! 

I did the same double-take when I drove by there 2 years ago.  I used to travel to The Pass a lot in the late 90's and there were never any queen palms around - in fact very few washies back then also.

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Jon Sunder

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SE Arizona definitely seems to be the "stopping" ground for the bad cold fronts that occasionally work westwards through southern NM.  Even today is a good example, after getting down to 15F here in Albuquerque this morning and struggling to reach the freezing mark by 10AM I see the Valley of the Sun already at 67 degrees, and the Santa Cruz valley not much cooler. There are certainly a lot of hills as the cold air presses west, I imagine that gorgeous area where Texas Canyon is stops most of them. Seems that from Benson west is a lot more reliable for subtropical species.

Jon, I remember also back in the late 90's you didn't see anywhere near the numbers of Washies in Las Cruces.  Now there are many throughout the city that are skyline trees, even following the below zero weather of 2/2011! Never thought that'd be possible there. I'm wondering if they'll ever be a skyline tree in Albuquerque... Really don't think so unless sea level suddenly rises 1000' and someone completes the central mountain chain that allows the consistent Plains cold fronts to enter through the passes with those hideous winds! LOL! 

 

In early October I went camping with some friends south of Alamogordo and was amazed that it was still about 90 each day and the nights were in the mid 60's. Albuquerque was already regularly in the low to mid 40's every night in spite of temps in the mid to upper 70's.  I brought a hoodie just in case but was in shorts and t-shirt the entire time, even late at night, without being chilled. Crazy difference!

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On the google maps image, did anyone else notice the roebelenii's?? They look terrible but still existing :greenthumb:
They are up against the building.

Edited by JLM
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Palms - 3 S. romanzoffiana, 2 W. bifurcata, 7 W. robusta, 3 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 2 P. roebelenii, 2 S. palmetto, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 A. merillii, 3 P. sylvestris

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^ i did

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

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51 minutes ago, ChrisA said:

SE Arizona definitely seems to be the "stopping" ground for the bad cold fronts that occasionally work westwards through southern NM.  Even today is a good example, after getting down to 15F here in Albuquerque this morning and struggling to reach the freezing mark by 10AM I see the Valley of the Sun already at 67 degrees, and the Santa Cruz valley not much cooler. There are certainly a lot of hills as the cold air presses west, I imagine that gorgeous area where Texas Canyon is stops most of them. Seems that from Benson west is a lot more reliable for subtropical species.

Jon, I remember also back in the late 90's you didn't see anywhere near the numbers of Washies in Las Cruces.  Now there are many throughout the city that are skyline trees, even following the below zero weather of 2/2011! Never thought that'd be possible there. I'm wondering if they'll ever be a skyline tree in Albuquerque... Really don't think so unless sea level suddenly rises 1000' and someone completes the central mountain chain that allows the consistent Plains cold fronts to enter through the passes with those hideous winds! LOL! 

 

In early October I went camping with some friends south of Alamogordo and was amazed that it was still about 90 each day and the nights were in the mid 60's. Albuquerque was already regularly in the low to mid 40's every night in spite of temps in the mid to upper 70's.  I brought a hoodie just in case but was in shorts and t-shirt the entire time, even late at night, without being chilled. Crazy difference!

Agree and its kind of weird when you think about it since elevation increases as you head south/ south east along the 10 from here.. I myself would think, since cold air is denser, it would slosh around and head off the higher areas south and east toward the lower desert but that's not always the case.. We'll sometimes see a cool-ish breeze roll in from the southeast this time of year, but doesn't seem as common as i'd think.  Then again, higher areas of the rim/ Northeastern AZ  can be in the 40s/50's while it is 70+ here ..and down in Tucson as well. Imagine if the rim were a very gradual north to south slope, with few hills, it might get a lot colder here. ( it was in the teens in spots up there earlier today ) 

As far as vegetation, while you find few ( if any ) Saguaro in the far southeastern part of the state, say anywhere east of roughly Nogales, some pretty tough species in a few rather tropical Genus reach their northern-most limit in that part of the state instead of here where winters would be milder. Have mentioned how traveling through there during a really good Monsoon season can make you forget you're in AZ, resembling some place like Central/South Texas.. perhaps some part of FL during the same part of the year..  It REALLY has to be a good year for the landscape here to green up during summer, lol...

On that note, have shared some stuff i researched showing how, if that region does grow warmer, as is possible, Saguaro itself could expand it's territory,  growing -un-aided- in Southern NM and deep into West TX.  Queens surviving in the area could also be a sign of a gradual but obvious trend toward milder winters, but only time will tell. I have heard Creosote Bush, which is considered cold tender ironically, has been marching up the Rio Grande toward Albuquerque in the past couple decades.. Wonder if Desert Ironwood is/ has been trialed out there as a landscape tree option. Fits into that " Will tolerate some cold, but not constant hard freezes, semi-tropical climate plant " kind of category..

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1 hour ago, JLM said:

On the google maps image, did anyone else notice the roebelenii's?? They look terrible but still existing :greenthumb:
They are up against the building.

How ironic they replaced the freeze damaged/dead (?) Chamaerops humilis with roebelenii. The roebelenii have had a good run though, it's been zone 9 since the 3 days of single digits in 2011. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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5 hours ago, ChrisA said:

Jon, I remember also back in the late 90's you didn't see anywhere near the numbers of Washies

Maybe the spread of Taco Cabanas through the state has helped introduce palms to the masses.

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Jon Sunder

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4 hours ago, Xenon said:

How ironic they replaced the freeze damaged/dead (?) Chamaerops humilis with roebelenii. The roebelenii have had a good run though, it's been zone 9 since the 3 days of single digits in 2011. 

There looks to still be one Chamaerops left on the side of the building.

 

El Paso, Texas - Google Maps

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29 minutes ago, DCA_Palm_Fan said:

There looks to still be one Chamaerops left on the side of the building.

 

El Paso, Texas - Google Maps

Looks like there might be one or two more over in an island by the drive thru as well.  

Touring around a bit, pretty decent amount of Washingtonia in nearby neighborhoods, and what looks like one popping up on its own next to a Palo Verde over by the Memorial Rose Garden/ Public Library. ( Culvert on the right side of 3201 Grant Ave to be more precise ) Looks like it has been there since 2016-2017.  A couple other possible Chamaerops in front of a house at 3117 Copper Ave that look like they were put in around 2013.. Hidden behind some Red Bird of Paradise in some of the pictures taken during the summer.

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So what were the weather stats (temp, duration, humidity, etc..) for the 2011 freeze. I thought I had heard that many things had surprisingly survived.  Guess that was wrong.  There were at least 2 Jubaea in El Paso with waist high trunks.  I believe that one was moved to San Angelo by a palm hobbyist/PSST member there before 2011.  San Angelo also experienced some cold weather during that freeze.  Am curious how either/both fared?

Clay

South Padre Island, Zone 10a

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33 minutes ago, Austinpalm said:

So what were the weather stats (temp, duration, humidity, etc..) for the 2011 freeze. I thought I had heard that many things had surprisingly survived.  Guess that was wrong.  There were at least 2 Jubaea in El Paso with waist high trunks.  I believe that one was moved to San Angelo by a palm hobbyist/PSST member there before 2011.  San Angelo also experienced some cold weather during that freeze.  Am curious how either/both fared?

quite the spread in temps

elpaso.JPG.c95821bf4c2189f6c40cedeb8a80b1fe.JPG

Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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On 12/3/2020 at 2:56 PM, JLM said:

On the google maps image, did anyone else notice the roebelenii's?? They look terrible but still existing :greenthumb:
They are up against the building.

I didn't even notice those!  I wonder how they look by the end of summer. I'm really surprised that those would survive in that climate, even with the restaurant awning overhead.

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