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Microclimate Conundrum


General Sylvester D. Palm
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Microclimate Conundrum  

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  1. 1. So which one is it? North or south?

    • North Facing Wall
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    • South Facing Wall
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So in the past few months/weeks I've observed something quite interesting around my yard. As some of you know, I am very interested in trying to figure out what microclimates are around my house. I've come across a conundrum of my south and north facing wall, and what to plant there. Recently I've noticed, at night, the north facing wall has consistently been around 2 degrees warming that the south, east, and west facing walls. I also want to address the most important thing about this post, the frost. I've observed that the north facing wall gets absolutely ZERO frost at night. I went out there after one of these cold snaps here in the southeast and noticed that there was no frost on the ground where the north facing wall is. I believe the reason this is happening is because of my house shading the north side. My neighbor's house is also right next to me and there isn't much space in between, which means my north facing wall, is completely protected from the northern winds, unlike most people's north facing walls. The south facing wall is typically around 20-30 degrees warmer than what the normal temperature is during the day, because of course, the sun, which does have some good effects as the mulch that the sun is blaring down on holds heat and releases it at night. While my north side during the day, remains around 1-10 degrees colder than the other areas. So, here is where the conundrum comes into play. While I am getting ready to plant more plants as the spring is coming, and I am wondering if I should plant my 9a plants by the North facing wall, or the South. Which is basically, either, no frost and no winds, but the typical 8b weather (north), or, a bit warmer 8b with frost and some small winds (south). So which one should I pick for more sensitive plants?

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@General Sylvester D. Palm Is there any possibility of introducing some form of canopy on the south end?  Which plants are you planning on using? 

 

Palms rated for 9a should handle frost fairly well, and the south side of the house should block the wind from the direct north.  Any windbreak to the west?

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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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2 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

@General Sylvester D. Palm Is there any possibility of introducing some form of canopy on the south end?  Which plants are you planning on using? 

 

Palms rated for 9a should handle frost fairly well, and the south side of the house should block the wind from the direct north.  Any windbreak to the west?

So I was planning to plant a Queen Palm on the south side but I am having second thoughts. And yes, there are some shrubs on the west. The south facing wall doesn't really get much wind either, just some small winds, nothing to hurt really any kind of palm. You think any good 9a/9b palms would do good for both the north and the south?

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@General Sylvester D. Palm In the Myrtle Beach area, Syagrus romanzoffiana would have some issues with some of the temperatures in the sheets we discussed in the Make Your Own Zone Map! thread.  Just looking from 2000 forward, you'd have about a 1 in 3 chance of losing a queen palm, assuming that temperatures below 18F could potentially kill it.

image.png.188a5ebdf8d7edb8d1aa493a130b453c.png

If you have some high overhead canopy, you'll have better luck since it will help keep freezing precipitation out of the crown and mitigate some of the radiational cooling.  That said, queens are cheap and easily replaced, so go for it if you want to try it.  If I were to attempt pushing anything in the 9a/9b categories, here are a few to consider other than Queen palms:

  • Acoelorraphe wrightii #
  • Acrocomia totai, aculeata
  • Allagoptera arenaria $#
  • Arenga engleri, ryukyuensis $#
  • Brahea armata, brandegeei
  • Chamaedorea radicalis, microspadix, cataractarum, costaricana $#
  • Copernicia alba
  • Dypsis decipiens #
  • Guihaia argyrata , grossifibrosa $#
  • Jubaea chilensis (there was one growing in SC at one time according to a SE Palm Society meeting publication)
  • Livistona chinensis, decora, rigida
  • Nannorrhops ritchiana (green would work better, probably would need to be mound planted) $#
  • Phoenix acaulis $#, canariensis, dactylifera #, theophrasti #
  • Rhapis excelsa, humilis $#
  • Sabal etonia $
  • Serenoa repens $#
  • Trachycarpus (latisectus comes to mind, but there are a lot of them that are a bit more tender than fortunei)
  • Trithrinax campestris $#, biflabellata, brasiliensis, schizophylla
  • Washingtonia filifera, filibusta
  • Various hybrids between Jubaea, Butia, Syagrus

$ = typically small stature, # - clustering varieties available

You'll likely have the best luck with a small, clustering palm

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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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13 hours ago, General Sylvester D. Palm said:

So I was planning to plant a Queen Palm on the south side but I am having second thoughts. 

If you do I'd certainly shoot for a known Silver Queen, Syagrus romanzoffiana Litoralis.  Or better yet, perhaps get a Frank Lewis super mule, as some in the PNW have reported excellent cold hardiness, down into the teens.

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1 hour ago, Scott W said:

If you do I'd certainly shoot for a known Silver Queen, Syagrus romanzoffiana Litoralis.  Or better yet, perhaps get a Frank Lewis super mule, as some in the PNW have reported excellent cold hardiness, down into the teens.

I've got a Silver though it is rather small... Not sure if I should try and plant it this year. We shall see.

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11 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

@General Sylvester D. Palm In the Myrtle Beach area, Syagrus romanzoffiana would have some issues with some of the temperatures in the sheets we discussed in the Make Your Own Zone Map! thread.  Just looking from 2000 forward, you'd have about a 1 in 3 chance of losing a queen palm, assuming that temperatures below 18F could potentially kill it.

image.png.188a5ebdf8d7edb8d1aa493a130b453c.png

If you have some high overhead canopy, you'll have better luck since it will help keep freezing precipitation out of the crown and mitigate some of the radiational cooling.  That said, queens are cheap and easily replaced, so go for it if you want to try it.  If I were to attempt pushing anything in the 9a/9b categories, here are a few to consider other than Queen palms:

  • Acoelorraphe wrightii #
  • Acrocomia totai, aculeata
  • Allagoptera arenaria $#
  • Arenga engleri, ryukyuensis $#
  • Brahea armata, brandegeei
  • Chamaedorea radicalis, microspadix, cataractarum, costaricana $#
  • Copernicia alba
  • Dypsis decipiens #
  • Guihaia argyrata , grossifibrosa $#
  • Jubaea chilensis (there was one growing in SC at one time according to a SE Palm Society meeting publication)
  • Livistona chinensis, decora, rigida
  • Nannorrhops ritchiana (green would work better, probably would need to be mound planted) $#
  • Phoenix acaulis $#, canariensis, dactylifera #, theophrasti #
  • Rhapis excelsa, humilis $#
  • Sabal etonia $
  • Serenoa repens $#
  • Trachycarpus (latisectus comes to mind, but there are a lot of them that are a bit more tender than fortunei)
  • Trithrinax campestris $#, biflabellata, brasiliensis, schizophylla
  • Washingtonia filifera, filibusta
  • Various hybrids between Jubaea, Butia, Syagrus

$ = typically small stature, # - clustering varieties available

You'll likely have the best luck with a small, clustering palm

I've heard good things about the Chamaedorea microspadix. Only problem is that it likes wet, and sunny. Unfortunately I only have cool, wet, and shady. And on the other hand, relatively dry, hot, and sunny. If there are any palms that come to your mind that can take, wet, and shade that are in the 9a/9b range, let me know. Also, you think Phoenix roebelenii could do well on my hot south side? I can always easily protect it. I also remember some suggested to me Lytocaryum weddellianum, think that would work for the north side? Again, no frost there, so I think I'd have a better chance at doing it on my north side than anywhere else.

Edited by General Sylvester D. Palm
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My Chamaedorea microspadix here are in shade year-round.  If you have good moisture retention in your soil, they are worth a shot there.  In the area that is more dry/hot/sunny, you could try Phoenix roebelenii, but there is a good chance you'd be disappointed.  Nannorrhops is probably the better choice there, especially if you don't like watering.  Nothing wrong with giving something a try, though.

Lytocaryum weddellianum I can't say for sure.  We have a few here growing under canopy, so I know they can handle dappled light, but that's something that will almost assuredly need to be covered if you don't mind that.  In the Cold Hardiness Master Data spreadsheet, there is a very high chance of death once you go below 24F.

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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