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Coldest Temperatures since the Arctic Outbreak of December 1989


Collectorpalms

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8 minutes ago, PricklyPearSATC said:

Sand?  The Hill Country and San Antonio has alkaline, clay fill soil.
Sand begins in South East Bexar County.   
 

There are some pretty "ancient" (way before 80s freezes) Butia in Houston growing in gumbo clay alkaline soil. They are not so popular anymore so you mostly see them in older neighborhoods, where they can be locally abundant. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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9 hours ago, PricklyPearSATC said:

Sand?  The Hill Country and San Antonio has alkaline, clay fill soil.
Sand begins in South East Bexar County.   
 

South of I10 in Seguin and Guadalupe county has sand also. 

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14 hours ago, PricklyPearSATC said:

I have never seen a healthy Butia in San Antonio!  In the 90's there was a healthy one near the parking garage entrance at Methodist Plaza, but I think it's been long gone.  A neighbor had one for years and finally took it out.  It was yellow and pathetic. 

Have seen some healthy ones here, but mostly in commercial plantings.  They are used at all the In-N-Out Burger locations in the city and I have seen some at Taco Cabana locations that looked nice, too.  Wonder if there is some secret that those in commercial maintenance know about the needs of this tree, like some micronutrient that needs to be supplied here or something?

Also, a lot of the ones that look good seem to be of the bluish-green rather than the straight green type.  Not sure if that is just because that is mostly what is available, or if that somehow influences success with them here.  But have seen a couple of decent green ones, too.

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.5980622,-98.4560139,3a,75y,32.05h,74.83t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s6RaXRoj2qTeG-p9KgcpZQw!2e0!5s20190401T000000!7i16384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.5979807,-98.4557678,3a,75y,40.15h,85.01t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sEzHkyUjpGJIvp8sLklKTzA!2e0!5s20190401T000000!7i16384!8i8192

Another mystery is that most of the ones that look good here are fairly young.  Some of the ones in Houston are really robust and old.  But you hardly ever see a tall, old Butia with a sizable trunk here in SA. That is striking to me, given that they have been grown in the city for well over a century (see clipping from 1917 below, where it is called Cocos australis, an old nursery name for Butia odorata). 

One of the older ones that I saw was in Olmos Park, but it is gone now.  Here it was, damaged after the 2011 freeze and looking bad--removed sometime afterward:

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.4714633,-98.4910835,3a,75y,345.38h,81.93t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sbcWj20y5oe66KPaCN3etmQ!2e0!5s20110401T000000!7i13312!8i6656

knox nursery advertisement 1917 palm trees.jpg

Edited by mulungu
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19 hours ago, PricklyPearSATC said:

I have never seen a healthy Butia in San Antonio!  In the 90's there was a healthy one near the parking garage entrance at Methodist Plaza, but I think it's been long gone.  A neighbor had one for years and finally took it out.  It was yellow and pathetic. 

Here is one in my backyard!

1989894895_rsz_B.odorata.thumb.jpg.93a9e934fbb575c6660fb5a9d3628b9e.jpg

5 hours ago, mulungu said:

Also, a lot of the ones that look good seem to be of the bluish-green rather than the straight green type.  Not sure if that is just because that is mostly what is available, or if that somehow influences success with them here.  But have seen a couple of decent green ones, too.

You might be right about that.  My large one pictured here is a bluish-green one as is a smaller one I grew from seed of a very bluish mother palm.  Both are growing well - at least they were last month before the freeze - and located in my backyard.  Alkaline soil is to blame from what I understand regarding difficulties growing Butia here in SA.  I had a smaller and greener Butia planted in my front yard that started pushing yellow new growth 18 months after planting.  It continued to struggle in spite of giving it regular fertilizer (PalmGain) so I dug it out, put in a container with different soil and gave to my neighbor.  He kept it in the container and it perked up. 

 

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Jon Sunder

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4 hours ago, Fusca said:

Here is one in my backyard!

1989894895_rsz_B.odorata.thumb.jpg.93a9e934fbb575c6660fb5a9d3628b9e.jpg

You might be right about that.  My large one pictured here is a bluish-green one as is a smaller one I grew from seed of a very bluish mother palm.  Both are growing well - at least they were last month before the freeze - and located in my backyard.  Alkaline soil is to blame from what I understand regarding difficulties growing Butia here in SA.  I had a smaller and greener Butia planted in my front yard that started pushing yellow new growth 18 months after planting.  It continued to struggle in spite of giving it regular fertilizer (PalmGain) so I dug it out, put in a container with different soil and gave to my neighbor.  He kept it in the container and it perked up. 

 

Nice!  Generally sand is not alkaline.  It's all our limestone here which makes use the chalkiest place on earth!

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There are quite a few areas of SE Houston - Pearland, Friendswood, Dickinson, etc - that are laden with highly acidic soils.  Provides a great combination to naturally try acid-loving plants against a milder near-Gulf microclimate (as all the other acidic areas of Houston tend to be along/north of I-10).

As far as the Houston "gumbo," the clay runs neutral, or slightly acidic even around the surface-upper layers - but it becomes far more alkaline deeper into the column. This is for the "Lake Charles" series that tends to be common throughout the area.

Edited by AnTonY
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  • 1 year later...

Update from another thread where someone asked. We lived in Fort Worth, TX for a few years and had a few Sabal Palmettos planted along with a BxJ hybrid. I took drastic measures (burlap, reflectix insulation, and incandescent lights around the spears) to protect them during the Valentine's day palm massacre. Good news is the Sabals seem to have made it and appear to be thriving:

Right before the 9 day sub freezing event (-1° F absolute low)

PXL_20210214_002013071.thumb.jpg.681329aed9e12b57172fa89f499cc15a.jpg

 

Picture old neighbor took from their backyard 8/22/2022 (healthy Sabal)

1853533910_FWSabal.thumb.jpg.af74ab1ca2d5019471bcbf152c6fa76a.jpg

Wunderground Weather Data from Valentine's Day Massacre (Feb 10 - 19, 2021) --- (High, Avg, Low Temp)

image.png.03eace92b47bd66b28f3e7756510bb02.png

Edited by romeyjdogg
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On 2/9/2021 at 9:15 PM, Xenon said:

Here is the old CIDP that miraculously hasn't died from disease yet. This is the view from a bridge, so it's much taller than it looks. 

oldphoenixcanariensis.thumb.JPG.4c1337b41d684f690ad7b963e404b29a.JPG

update: ( alive looks like a female but not pollinated)  Maybe those pesky leaf hoppers died in the freeze, one can only wish.

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.7617624,-95.3435435,3a,75y,288.88h,94.71t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sMGdxSsXw0BtWWFXCBUp82g!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Current Texas Gardening Zone 9a, Mean (1999-2024): 22F Low/104F High. Yearly Precipitation 39.17 inches.

Extremes: Low Min 4F 2021, 13.8F 2024. High Max 112F 2011/2023, Precipitation Max 58 inches 2015, Lowest 19 Inches 2011.

Weather Station: https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KTXCOLLE465

Ryan (Paleoclimatologist Since 4 billion Years ago, Meteorologist/Earth Scientist/Physicist Since 1995, Savy Horticulturist Since Birth.)

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  • 1 year later...

Did any winning microclimates emerge from all of this? 

Clearly, it was bad everywhere. However, I think I saw 22f in Galveston which is, all things considered, is actually pretty good since SPI was 23-24f. I’m curious where else may have had it less bad than expected on a relative basis.

.

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I've been reading this whole thread this morning and this just gives me the chills . I can only imagine what every palm grower went through,  what a nightmare . It was like reading a thriller. 

Looking at what's left 3 years later I have to say that devastation wasn't really that bad at all.  Washingtonia filifera/Filibusta,  Sabal palms , Butias were true winners . Everything else not so much. 

These type of polar vortexes can happen anywhere,  not just Texas . Anybody remembers the freeze that killed many coconut trees in Miami back in the 1980s ? The citrus industry was crushed above I-4 . Never recovered from the 80s.  

We can only hope that these extreme cold events gets milder over time. Every degree warmer is appreciated.  I  would love to see at least 5 years of milder winters where every palm gets a break from our few hard freezes we had in the last few years.  

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17 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Did any winning microclimates emerge from all of this? 

Clearly, it was bad everywhere. However, I think I saw 22f in Galveston which is, all things considered, is actually pretty good since SPI was 23-24f. I’m curious where else may have had it less bad than expected on a relative basis.

The low in Galveston was 18-19F. Galveston has always been a warm anomaly due to its positioning with the extensive Bay system directly north of it. The island experienced 13 zone 10 winters in a row from 1997-2009.

It's also worth noting the trajectory of the cold air mass, the epicentre was a +/- a line from Dallas to Corpus Christi, it was comparatively not as cold (or not as cold for as long) to the east (Beaumont) or west (Laredo). Not every cold event is going to mirror the same positioning so I'd be cautious about drawing microclimate conclusions.

Now for radiational freezes? Easy = water + UHI. That's when somewhere like Houston really shines, can be warmer than places 150-200 miles to the south. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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