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Most cold hardy date palm.


Jerrrod

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Hi everyone, just wanted to know what the most cold hardy date palm is? I keep getting conflicting information on the internet.

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Phoenix sylvestris "Robusta' is the most cold hardy and I tried all the more cold hardy Phoenix varieties.

 

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2 minutes ago, Steve in Florida said:

Phoenix sylvestris "Robusta' is the most cold hardy and I tried all the more cold hardy Phoenix varieties.

 

Steve, never even heard of this cultivar. Coming from you we certainly should but significant weight on that call. I would of guessed a CIDP variety ..  very interesting 👍

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These CIDP survived -10f on back to back nights in Alamogordo, NM 2011.  Back to back nights of near zero(1f/3f) show near 100% survival in El Paso of the same species.

The -10f survivors

 

image.jpeg.ffb74c56bdf548d5f55803373850dd60 (1).jpeg

alamogordo2011.jpg.2a6a991e9556ed46ab83aadd8e13ce4b.jpg

Edited by jwitt
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In my limited experience here in Houston, from most hardy to least hardy:

-Phoenix canariensis

-Phoenix sylvestris

-Phoenix rupicola

-Phoenix dactylifera

-Phoenix reclinata

-Phoenix roebelenii

After the 2021 cold spell, the Canaries surprised me the most in a good way.  Almost none of them here died.  Biggest disappointment were the dactyliferas, tons of them died.  And of course, landscapers are putting them right back in.  Oh well, we'll probably get 3 good decades out of them again.

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On 10/12/2022 at 12:40 AM, Jerrrod said:

Hi everyone, just wanted to know what the most cold hardy date palm is? I keep getting conflicting information on the internet.

To clarify are you referring to a Date palm that produces edible fruit or any including ornamental ones?

Out of all the Phoenix species I agree with the others Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island Date Palm)

Phoenix theophrastii is supposed to be pretty tough too.

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Phoenix Canariensis. Nothing else comes close, in my opinion. Canaries are battle tested and came back in huge numbers from San Antonio to Austin. Nothing else did. 

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On 10/12/2022 at 3:14 AM, Steve in Florida said:

Phoenix sylvestris "Robusta' is the most cold hardy and I tried all the more cold hardy Phoenix varieties.

 

Was this species tried outside of Florida?  No offense, but unless it was tried in Central or North Texas or somewhere like Georgia or South Carolina in the worst freezes, then I don’t know how it was adequately tested  

What we know for sure is that the only Phoenix palm to come back in great numbers from the Feb 21 freeze in Texas is Phoenix Canary  

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, strongbad635 said:

In my limited experience here in Houston, from most hardy to least hardy:

-Phoenix canariensis

-Phoenix sylvestris

-Phoenix rupicola

-Phoenix dactylifera

-Phoenix reclinata

-Phoenix roebelenii

After the 2021 cold spell, the Canaries surprised me the most in a good way.  Almost none of them here died.  Biggest disappointment were the dactyliferas, tons of them died.  And of course, landscapers are putting them right back in.  Oh well, we'll probably get 3 good decades out of them again.

I'd put rupicola at the same level as roebelenii, maybe even a hair above. True rupicola is not hardy. The only convincing rupicola I knew of in Houston were growing directly on the south shore of Galveston Bay next to large Cook pines (very warm microclimate). Roebelenii of course was much more widespread, to the point of being overplanted by around 2009. Some survived right up to the 2021 freeze in central and southern Houston. 

CIDP is bulletproof to cold in Houston, there were many large pre-89 CIDP in the early 2000s before disease slowly wiped them out in the next decade or so (and continues to do so). 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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6 hours ago, NBTX11 said:

Was this species tried outside of Florida?  No offense, but unless it was tried in Central or North Texas or somewhere like Georgia or South Carolina in the worst freezes, then I don’t know how it was adequately tested  

What we know for sure is that the only Phoenix palm to come back in great numbers from the Feb 21 freeze in Texas is Phoenix Canary  

 

 

 

CIDP often does not do well in North and North Central Florida.  I would have to spend hours citing what all I've seen over the years.  There are some scattered giants, planted in urban microclimates, that were likely planted from the 1880's to WW1,  but these are exceptional specimens.  Several years ago Panama City did not get above 28-29F during the day.  All trunking CIDP were scorched and had ugly dark brown and black leaves for two years.  Smaller ones were defoliated and removed when there was no new growth after 4-6 weeks.  Over the next 2-3 years it was decided that they were not suitable for the area and larger ones were removed from numerous public and private plantings.  My palms are in a rural, very low density area and actually shows up as a frost corridor on the better maps.  The coldest, still winter nights are about 5 degrees colder than nearby Mayo and Live Oak, which is over 20 miles to the north.   All my Phoenix palms were planted at a large 7 gallon to 15 gallon size and had no protection.  They were planted in an open field, and a single Phoenix sylvestris 'Robusta' was the only one to survive.  A few smaller CIDP in my area, likely planted in a warm microclimate, look like they are struggling until they can grow back enough leaves to look halfway decent in July or later.  Phoenix sylvestris' Robusta' is field grown about 45 miles north of me along with CIPD and 97-98% of the later is unsellable after 16F and wastes expensive fertilizer and labor.  Unlike CIDP, my Phoenix sylvestris "Robusta' is also super fast at replacing all damaged fronds and adding numerous, larger new ones each year.

Edited by Steve in Florida
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I haven't heard of that cultivar either, I'd like to try them. Can you eat dates from any other date palms or just true date palms?

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FSU Campus in Tallahassee, has numerous old Canaries that went through the 1980s lows of 6F, and 10F.

fsu.jpg

fsu2.jpg

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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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All we know is that Canary Island Date Palm came back in big numbers from single digit lows. Sure they took a while to recover but most are looking good now. There are many, many examples. I’ve seen some from Dallas that took near zero degrees and survived. Virtually all survived around here from around 9-10 degrees and look good today. 

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St George Utah has several trunking CIDP... they made it through the great freeze of 2015 where it didnt get above freezing  for a week and the lows were around 0

They did defoliate...but they lived

 

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42 minutes ago, MSX said:

funny MSU says the true date palm is hardier than CIDP, maybe in MS

 

You'd think public institutions would have higher standards when publishing stuff like this based on what seems like cursory google search...the first three shouldn't be in the table at all 

Large single-digit surviving pre-80s CIDP abound in the Deep South

Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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Also leaf hardy and surviving cold are two different things, no question CIDP survives extreme cold events better than others, but I often see that P dacty starts to take cold damage to fronds at slightly lower temps than CIDP. 

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Corpus Christi, TX, near salt water, zone 9b/10a! Except when it isn't and everything gets nuked.

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No one ever mentions cold air inversions which occur on the worst, still cold nights after a cold air mass has arrived.  Standardized temperatures are traditionally recorded at 5.5-6 feet.  That means a smaller plant endures maximum cold and duration.  There is a big difference between a smaller palm enduring middle teens for 6-8 hours and the canopy of a mature tree so high up that it's leaves only get two hours maximum into the low twenties Fahrenheit .

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3 hours ago, Xerarch said:

Also leaf hardy and surviving cold are two different things, no question CIDP survives extreme cold events better than others, but I often see that P dacty starts to take cold damage to fronds at slightly lower temps than CIDP. 

This is exactly right.  While CIDP does get damage from a fairly high temperature (for a cold hardy palm), there is no hardier date palm than CIDP.

Any palm that can survive 0-3 degrees in the Dallas area and can survive single digits in the Austin area with nearly a 90 percent + survival rate is the hardiest date palm in my opinion.

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On 10/12/2022 at 6:09 AM, jwitt said:

These CIDP survived -10f on back to back nights in Alamogordo, NM 2011.  Back to back nights of near zero(1f/3f) show near 100% survival in El Paso of the same species.

The -10f survivors

 

image.jpeg.ffb74c56bdf548d5f55803373850dd60 (1).jpeg

alamogordo2011.jpg.2a6a991e9556ed46ab83aadd8e13ce4b.jpg

A survivor in front of a survivor. I haven't seen a Long John Silver's/A&W in at least 15 years. 

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10 hours ago, JohnAndSancho said:

A survivor in front of a survivor. I haven't seen a Long John Silver's/A&W in at least 15 years. 

Odd match for sure.  Got one here in Rio Rancho too. Not missing much, other than the root beer.  

Stick with whataburger and Dr pepper, better choice....

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12 hours ago, JohnAndSancho said:

A survivor in front of a survivor. I haven't seen a Long John Silver's/A&W in at least 15 years. 

A&Ws are everywhere up here. It’s the go-to small town fast food joint. Love me a Mozza Burger. 

I always here / read varying things on whether canariensis or dactylifera are hardier.  Not a ton of mention goes to theophrasti. I planted a theophrasti this spring in a nice sunny spot and amended the soil with gravel. I won’t protect it this winter, so it will be a good test for a northern 8b climate.  I will never see absolute lows like what Dallas saw in 21, but my winters are definitely long, cold, and wet. 

FBA9343F-B2DF-48D4-A3E6-C99D6951A037.thumb.jpeg.f726134f82f71d91a9dfcd16a1fbf1e4.jpeg

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Zone 8b, Csb (Warm-summer Mediterranean climate). 1,940 annual sunshine hours 
Annual lows-> 19/20: -5.0C, 20/21: -5.5C, 21/22: -8.3C, 22/23: -9.4C, 23/24: 1.1C (so far!)

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Wow, those are beautiful, I have to try some. So, to my understanding, when they get over 6ft they can better handle the cold? Also what do you guys think off me adding mycorrhizal fungus to the seedlings or seeds?

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@ShadyDanI found that my P. canariensis did fine with overhead rain, frost and snow load protection. On rare occasions I used an old string of Xmas lights. It did fine for 10 years and once I removed the overhead canopy one winter ... toast. The new growth couldn't outpace the crown rot.

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47 minutes ago, Las Palmas Norte said:

@ShadyDanI found that my P. canariensis did fine with overhead rain, frost and snow load protection. On rare occasions I used an old string of Xmas lights. It did fine for 10 years and once I removed the overhead canopy one winter ... toast. The new growth couldn't outpace the crown rot.

Yea I really don’t want to be protecting things, so this one is on its own. Cost me a total of $0 so not much to lose haha. If it doesn’t make it, lots of other palms in the queue for that primo spot. 

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Zone 8b, Csb (Warm-summer Mediterranean climate). 1,940 annual sunshine hours 
Annual lows-> 19/20: -5.0C, 20/21: -5.5C, 21/22: -8.3C, 22/23: -9.4C, 23/24: 1.1C (so far!)

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3 hours ago, ShadyDan said:

I always here / read varying things on whether canariensis or dactylifera are hardier.  

For those of us who lived through the great Texas freeze of 2021, there is no debate whatsoever.  Canariensis was hardier.  By far.

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Phoenix sylvestris (non-hybrid) sourced from Nickel Palm Nursery in California was extremely hardy for me in Northern Louisiana but it was killed in the bad feb 2021 freeze.  It reached 15’ feet of clear trunk in 15 years from a 15 gallon pot.  Survived earlier single digits with bad wind and north exposure previously that killed my Phoenix canariensis and main trunks of my P delactiferas.  It had wider leaflets than the fronds of the dime-a-dozen sylvestris that clearly have some hybridization in them.  I don’t doubt a well-grown, very large  canariensis are hardier, but they cannot recover from cold damage in a single season here, whereas P sylvestris can by July.  Also, compare 15’ of clear trunk in 15 years for sylvestris versus maybe only 5’ for canariensis

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On 10/15/2022 at 2:26 PM, NBTX11 said:

For those of us who lived through the great Texas freeze of 2021, there is no debate whatsoever.  Canariensis was hardier.  By far.

Anecdotally, I would concur.  Most Phoenix canariensis survived the freeze event here pretty well.  But there is observation bias here as well in that most of the Phoenix spp. planted here are Phoenix canariensis.  There are far more Phoenix canariensis planted in the San Antonio area and environs than other Phoenix spp.  That is probably because Phoenix canariensis are generally thought to be more cold hardy than other Phoenix spp.  I do not think there were enough other Phoenix spp. planted here to do a really thorough comparison.  But from just driving around town, it pretty clear that Phoenix canariensis held up really well under those freeze conditions.

 

There were a large number of mature Phoenix dactylifera planted at the RIM in the summer of 2020.  All of them were killed in the freeze, along with some older Phoenix dactylifera planted there.  The newer ones probably were not established enough by the time the freeze hit in February, but the older ones had been there for many years.  In downtown San Antonio, there were some Phoenix dactylifera and Phoenix reclinata that survived the freeze.  A clump of Phoenix reclinata trunk died (or at least were trunk cut by the city the following summer), but came back from suckers in the clump.  At the entrance to the RIM on La Cantera Parkway, there are some interesting mature Phoenix spp. that survived the freeze.  They look very similar to Phoenix canariensis, but the drupes resemble Phoenix sylvestris (probably some sort of hybrid).  4 of 5 of them survived the freeze (actually, that is not entirely true; all 5 had new growth during the summer of 2021, but one later succumbed...possibly due to humidity issues from the wet spring of 2021).  A guy near Frederick Wilderness Park had a bunch of mature Phoenix sylvestris and Syagrus romanzoffiana planted in his back yard.  They were all killed by the freeze.  He replaced them all with new Phoenix sylvestris in the summer of 2021.  All of the in-ground planted Phoenix roebelenii along the Riverwalk that I know of were killed by the freeze.  Many of those have since been replaced with new Phoenix roebelenii.

Unified Theory of Palm Seed Germination

image.png.2a6e16e02a0a8bfb8a478ab737de4bb1.png

(Where: bh = bottom heat, fs = fresh seed, L = love, m = magic, p = patience, and t = time)

DISCLAIMER: Working theory; not yet peer reviewed.

"Fronds come and go; the spear is life!" - Anonymous Palmtalker

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On 10/13/2022 at 10:46 PM, Jerrrod said:

Can you eat dates from any other date palms or just true date palms?

Most if not all fruits from Phoenix species are edible but only the ones from true date palms (Phoenix dactylifera) have a good taste to them. 

Jon Sunder

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I have dried and ate some Phoenix canariensis and Phoenix reclinata dates before.  They tasted like Phoenix dactylifera "Honey" cultivar dates to me.  Not a lot of "flesh" on them, so not really worth the effort.  I just did it out of curiosity to see what they would taste like.

Unified Theory of Palm Seed Germination

image.png.2a6e16e02a0a8bfb8a478ab737de4bb1.png

(Where: bh = bottom heat, fs = fresh seed, L = love, m = magic, p = patience, and t = time)

DISCLAIMER: Working theory; not yet peer reviewed.

"Fronds come and go; the spear is life!" - Anonymous Palmtalker

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Only Phoenix I have are hybrid, of Patrick’s… P. Roe x P. Can, and P. Roe crossed with some palms from Parrot Jungle in Florida not sure which. No idea how hardy they will be but I’d like to fine a P. Theophrasti and a pure P. Canariensis… those have been hard to find. 

C99A6BB7-2D87-48C3-801B-A31F43EEE5B3.jpeg

5B9E4601-FE6D-4AC5-B878-6A5D56AD0CB5.jpeg

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Some Phoenix spp. survivors of the February 2021 freeze in San Antonio:

Phoenix reclinata (Riverwalk):

Clump 1 (Between The Pearl and downtown):

image.thumb.jpeg.9ef4ae05b6cde046a888feb0cdceba5d.jpeg

Clump 2 (Between The Pearl and downtown):

image.thumb.jpeg.ecbaf4642480bd22a9bb8b4b90c98152.jpeg

Phoenix reclinata (Oblate School of Theology):

image.thumb.jpeg.294d36e53ac245edb478cef6dd6c569b.jpeg

Phoenix dactylifera (Oblate School of Theology):

image.thumb.jpeg.8c3be1958f8ca7636ad7544cdced0767.jpeg

Three of six Phoenix dactylifera planted in the open survived at the Oblate School of Theology.  Two of those survivors had new growth from both the main truck, as well as the suckers.  One of them trunk died, but grew back from suckers.

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Unified Theory of Palm Seed Germination

image.png.2a6e16e02a0a8bfb8a478ab737de4bb1.png

(Where: bh = bottom heat, fs = fresh seed, L = love, m = magic, p = patience, and t = time)

DISCLAIMER: Working theory; not yet peer reviewed.

"Fronds come and go; the spear is life!" - Anonymous Palmtalker

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On 10/14/2022 at 10:44 PM, Xenon said:

You'd think public institutions would have higher standards when publishing stuff like this based on what seems like cursory google search...the first three shouldn't be in the table at all

Well I don't know what they're smoking over at these insitutions!

ceri.thumb.jpg.1ead354a724419f8a6051c04c18eb30b.jpg

Edited by MSX
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48 minutes ago, MSX said:

Well I don't know what they're smoking over at these insitutions!

ceri.thumb.jpg.1ead354a724419f8a6051c04c18eb30b.jpg

I've heard the cerifera is less hardy in a wet humid climate such as Florida. Whilst in a dry climate they are more hardy. Cerifera is native to the atlas mountains in Morocco which isnt very humid or wet, whilst the green form is found in areas of Europe that are more wet and humid.

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16 minutes ago, Foxpalms said:

I've heard the cerifera is less hardy in a wet humid climate such as Florida.

I have heard the same.  Definitely slower growers than the Chamaerops humilis var humilis.  There were some nice Chamaerops humilis var argentea specimens growing at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens prior to the 2021 Freeze; not sure how they fared thereafter though....

 

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Unified Theory of Palm Seed Germination

image.png.2a6e16e02a0a8bfb8a478ab737de4bb1.png

(Where: bh = bottom heat, fs = fresh seed, L = love, m = magic, p = patience, and t = time)

DISCLAIMER: Working theory; not yet peer reviewed.

"Fronds come and go; the spear is life!" - Anonymous Palmtalker

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In regards to the most cold hardy Phoenix dactylifera, head to Carrizo Springs, Texas ( between Laredo and San Antonio).  They are planted throughout the town. There are articles online you can find about trials of date palms for agriculture in Texas. The first dactylifera was planted before 1880 and lived at least into the 1950s. In 1911 500 dactylifera were planted nearby. Several different named varieties including seedlings dates were planted in Texas, so Its hard to say what is left. But several survived the 1980s and few died in 2021. So they have several old and tall ones that survived down to 10F. So far no signs of diseases that have killed the ones from the Rio Grand Valley and elsewhere.

 

4D1035C9-12EA-4ACB-8366-81FE9B00646C.jpeg

11105A69-B416-495E-9C4C-118F3AFCCD11.jpeg

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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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Phoenix theophrasti var. Epidaurus for sure. It should have the same hardiness as a Jubaea but since it grows faster it's gonna recover faster.

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50 minutes ago, Will said:

Phoenix theophrasti var. Epidaurus for sure. It should have the same hardiness as a Jubaea but since it grows faster it's gonna recover faster.

Interesting article on them.

https://www.coldpalm.nl/pub/media/pdf/Phoenix_theophrasti_var._Epidaurus.pdf

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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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On 10/14/2022 at 8:50 PM, JohnAndSancho said:

A survivor in front of a survivor. I haven't seen a Long John Silver's/A&W in at least 15 years. 

Out of all the people on PalmTalk.... I appreciate your humor the most.

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I have a working theory about Phoenix acaulis but they're not common in cultivation because they're a b**** to trim and also they are generally unimpressive.  A 30 year old specimen looks like an overgrown P. roebelenii seedling that was grown in shade and still hasn't developed a trunk yet.  Apparently in native habitat they grow up to like 6000' or something -- I can't remember the statistic I heard.  Waiting for a once-in-a-century freeze around here to test my theory.

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