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Winterizing Queen Palm in Zone 8b


MarcusH

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This year in May I've bought a queen palm from HD and planted it in our front yard.  Little know did I know about cold hardy palms back then .  My idea is to move it away from the front yard reason number one is this side is exposed to cold fronts moving in from the Northwest .  There's an area on the side of the house where it's protected.  So if I wrap the trunk with Xmas lights and blankets , put enough mulch around the base and deep water it before a severe cold snap (February 2021 )moves in ,is that enough to keep it alive ? To some it might not be worth it but to me it is and I see a lot of people here pushing the hardiness of their palms .  I know it gets more complicated once the tree reaches a height where special equipment is required to reach the crown . Does anybody had any success winterizing a queen in zone 8b ?

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 I winterize a mule so just do something like that.  Look for my mule thread in my profile or go to my TNtropics youtube and look how I winterize it.  

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YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@tntropics - 60+ In-ground 7A palms - (Sabal) minor(7 large + 27 seedling size, 3 dwarf),  brazoria(1) , birmingham(4), etonia (1) louisiana(5), palmetto (1), riverside (1),  (Trachycarpus) fortunei(7), wagnerianus(1),  Rhapidophyllum hystrix(7),  18' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia odorata (1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -6F, -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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I just did I watched some of your videos before.  Great content just subscribed to your channel since it's very informative.  Thanks 

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3 hours ago, MarcusH said:

This year in May I've bought a queen palm from HD and planted it in our front yard.  Little know did I know about cold hardy palms back then .  My idea is to move it away from the front yard reason number one is this side is exposed to cold fronts moving in from the Northwest .  There's an area on the side of the house where it's protected.  So if I wrap the trunk with Xmas lights and blankets , put enough mulch around the base and deep water it before a severe cold snap (February 2021 )moves in ,is that enough to keep it alive ? To some it might not be worth it but to me it is and I see a lot of people here pushing the hardiness of their palms .  I know it gets more complicated once the tree reaches a height where special equipment is required to reach the crown . Does anybody had any success winterizing a queen in zone 8b ?

There were queen palms all over the place in San Antonio prior to 2010. Where you are on the edge of 8b/9a, many winters you will have to do nothing. I’ve seen queen palms go through unscathed in many winters. If 2021 happens, forget about, it’s dead. But in an “average” or warm winter where the overall low is in the 20s you really don’t need to do anything. Expect some occasional spotting and burning. That’s ok. 

You’re really looking to protect it for about 3 nights a year. Maybe 5 in a bad winter. I’ve seen a lot of winters that did not drop below 26 or 27 degrees. Hopefully this is one of them. I would worry about my queen palm if it is forecasted to drop below 25, because it can get colder than forecast. I’ve seen large queen palms defoliate but come back from upper teens, maybe 16-18 degrees. It’s rare to have forecasted lows below 25 in San Antonio. Once per year maybe. 2021 notwithstanding. 
 

One other thing if it does burn do not give upon it. You may have to do surgery in the spring but it may push green in the spring even after burning or spear pull. Been there done that. 
 

I think I will plant me another queen palm. 

Edited by NBTX11
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Thank you I always appreciate your feedback since they're very informative.  I honestly don't expect another palmaggedon winter anytime soon but I wouldn't give up on it if we ever have one in the next 20 years or so. You never know.  I would assume almost nobody protected their Queens last year.  I just wonder how much it would helped if someone did everything possible to protect it but you might be right . Anyway they're fast growing and cheap and beautiful IMO so it's worth to plant them in the yard.  

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3 hours ago, MarcusH said:

Does anybody had any success winterizing a queen in zone 8b ?

Marcus, I bought a 3-gal sized queen palm (maybe 5' overall height) in September 2017.  It was only in the ground about 4 months before our first bad cold in January 2018 when it dipped down to 20°F.  I put a 6' length of PVC pipe in the ground next to it and wrapped it with only some incandescent party lights which burn warmer than the newer LED's.  I only turned the lights on that one night and it took zero damage.  I didn't protect it again until 2021.

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Jon Sunder

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5 hours ago, Fusca said:

Marcus, I bought a 3-gal sized queen palm (maybe 5' overall height) in September 2017.  It was only in the ground about 4 months before our first bad cold in January 2018 when it dipped down to 20°F.  I put a 6' length of PVC pipe in the ground next to it and wrapped it with only some incandescent party lights which burn warmer than the newer LED's.  I only turned the lights on that one night and it took zero damage.  I didn't protect it again until 2021.

Did it come through the Feb 21 freeze OK?

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Thats great that definitely encourages me to keep it alive.  Good job !!! Christmas lights vs heat tape what's your opinion about it ? 

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17 hours ago, Manalto said:

I will only add that if you cover it and the cover is touching the fronds, use cloth not plastic.

Ok thank you I'll keep that in mind.  Get some frost clothes that doesn't absorb moisture.  Any recommendations? 

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13 hours ago, NBTX11 said:

Did it come through the Feb 21 freeze OK?

I ran out of lights and other protection on palms.  The queen was still small enough (about 7') so I dug it up and kept it in a container in the garage for a week and replanted.  So yes it survived but it got a lot of help!

Jon Sunder

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1 hour ago, Fusca said:

I ran out of lights and other protection on palms.  The queen was still small enough (about 7') so I dug it up and kept it in a container in the garage for a week and replanted.  So yes it survived but it got a lot of help!

What zone do you live in ? 

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I have had my Queens in the ground since 2019 in NW FL zone 8b, but this is a very different climate than yours. My Queens are now trunking, both of them. Most winters, you wont need to protect them at all. Some winters may require protection though.

This is my protection method:
1) Tie up the fronds, not too tight but tight enough to hold them in place.
2) Wrap a sheet or 2 (or more if needed) around the palm. Make sure the entire palm is covered. Tie rope or string (something strong) around the sheets in various places to ensure that its secured in place. This is also required if you are doing crownshaft palms like Royals and Foxtails, as the lights will burn the crownshaft.
3) Wrap C9 mini christmas lights around the palm, use more strands of lights depending on how cold it will be. More lights = more heat. (NO LED LIGHTS!)
4) Repeat Step 2 (this is completely optional but it recommended for colder nights). 
5) Wrap plastic around the palm. If the palm is small, a large trash bag or a contractor bag will do just fine. You may need large tarps for big palms.

I use the sheets as a first layer to prevent burning of leaves or trunk. I use the lights as a heat source, and the second optional sheet layer is to hold in the heat more on the coldest nights. The plastic or tarps is to keep the wind off the palm, this is important because the wind will blow the heat away from the palm. This thought process is similar to how wind chill affects humans. And also, the plastic acts as a thicker layer to hold in more heat.
Here is graphic on my reference to wind chill affects:

KUESWRKFNNDHBFGWUKLKQPFLOE.png

Instead of thinking about the human body, replace the image of the person with the image of a wrapped up palm lol

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Palms - 4 S. romanzoffiana, 1 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 1 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 4 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 2 P. canariensis, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 1 BxS, 3 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 9 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 2 C. macrocarpa, 1 L. chinensis, 1 R. excelsa, 1 S. bermudana, 1 L. nitida

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I fixed the graphic 🙂

image.thumb.png.7762831320574945941ad223001956d7.png

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Palms - 4 S. romanzoffiana, 1 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 1 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 4 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 2 P. canariensis, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 1 BxS, 3 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 9 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 2 C. macrocarpa, 1 L. chinensis, 1 R. excelsa, 1 S. bermudana, 1 L. nitida

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37 minutes ago, JLM said:

I have had my Queens in the ground since 2019 in NW FL zone 8b, but this is a very different climate than yours. 

Not really. Our average highs, average lows, and record lows are all extremely similar to NW Florida. If anything, our average winter highs are slightly warmer than NW Florida. We get more winter heat and 80 degree days mid winter, than for example Pensacola to Panama City, but less overall rainfall. Otherwise it’s virtually the same type climate temperature wise. 
 

For example the average high in Pensacola in Feb and Mar is 65 and 70 where in San Antonio it’s 67 and 74. The record lows are similar also. The panhandle record lows are in the single digits everywhere and in the case of Tallahassee below zero. 
 

Other than rainfall the climates are nearly identical 

Edited by NBTX11
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1 hour ago, MarcusH said:

What zone do you live in ? 

I live in zone 10a near Harlingen since March.  Previous 5 years were in zone 9a San Antonio.

Jon Sunder

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19 hours ago, MarcusH said:

Ok thank you I'll keep that in mind.  Get some frost clothes that doesn't absorb moisture.  Any recommendations? 

I can't help you there; I'm sorry. I'll occasionally throw an old sheet over a tender plant when we're having an early cold snap. That's the extent of my zone pushing. There are plenty of people here who can advise you well on this topic.

 

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19 hours ago, JLM said:

I have had my Queens in the ground since 2019 in NW FL zone 8b, but this is a very different climate than yours. My Queens are now trunking, both of them. Most winters, you wont need to protect them at all. Some winters may require protection though.

This is my protection method:
1) Tie up the fronds, not too tight but tight enough to hold them in place.
2) Wrap a sheet or 2 (or more if needed) around the palm. Make sure the entire palm is covered. Tie rope or string (something strong) around the sheets in various places to ensure that its secured in place. This is also required if you are doing crownshaft palms like Royals and Foxtails, as the lights will burn the crownshaft.
3) Wrap C9 mini christmas lights around the palm, use more strands of lights depending on how cold it will be. More lights = more heat. (NO LED LIGHTS!)
4) Repeat Step 2 (this is completely optional but it recommended for colder nights). 
5) Wrap plastic around the palm. If the palm is small, a large trash bag or a contractor bag will do just fine. You may need large tarps for big palms.

I use the sheets as a first layer to prevent burning of leaves or trunk. I use the lights as a heat source, and the second optional sheet layer is to hold in the heat more on the coldest nights. The plastic or tarps is to keep the wind off the palm, this is important because the wind will blow the heat away from the palm. This thought process is similar to how wind chill affects humans. And also, the plastic acts as a thicker layer to hold in more heat.
Here is graphic on my reference to wind chill affects:

KUESWRKFNNDHBFGWUKLKQPFLOE.png

Instead of thinking about the human body, replace the image of the person with the image of a wrapped up palm lol

Sounds like a good plan to keep them safe from our occasional freezes.  It will be very challenging once the palm reaches a certain height where wrapping is nearly impossible unless you become a palm tree trimmer and have all the equipment.  No problem I just wrap my 80ft tall robusta 😄.  I used to be a roofer in my younger years so height isn't that much of an issue and queen palms over here usually don't grow to tall from what I have heard.  I wonder if a silver queen palm would do better . 

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3 hours ago, Manalto said:

I can't help you there; I'm sorry. I'll occasionally throw an old sheet over a tender plant when we're having an early cold snap. That's the extent of my zone pushing. There are plenty of people here who can advise you well on this topic.

 

After all I would go with wrapping and c9 lights plus heavy mulching and watering before the cold snap. That's all I can do 

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18 hours ago, Fusca said:

I live in zone 10a near Harlingen since March.  Previous 5 years were in zone 9a San Antonio.

Must be a paradise to grow palms 🌴 

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18 hours ago, NBTX11 said:

Not really. Our average highs, average lows, and record lows are all extremely similar to NW Florida. If anything, our average winter highs are slightly warmer than NW Florida. We get more winter heat and 80 degree days mid winter, than for example Pensacola to Panama City, but less overall rainfall. Otherwise it’s virtually the same type climate temperature wise. 
 

For example the average high in Pensacola in Feb and Mar is 65 and 70 where in San Antonio it’s 67 and 74. The record lows are similar also. The panhandle record lows are in the single digits everywhere and in the case of Tallahassee below zero. 
 

Other than rainfall the climates are nearly identical 

I also believe we're on the same latitude if not even slightly lower.  

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19 hours ago, JLM said:

I fixed the graphic 🙂

image.thumb.png.7762831320574945941ad223001956d7.png

Makes sense it’s kind of how we protect ourselves in colder weather .  The wet cold air is the worst.  

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1 hour ago, MarcusH said:

 

Are Silver Queen syagrus romanzoffiana litoralis a better alternative?  

I lost a silver queen last winter whereas a standard survived. Slightly different siting but same general protection. Try to source yourself a Uruguay. They're your best cold-tolerant bet

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1 hour ago, MarcusH said:

I also believe we're on the same latitude if not even slightly lower.  

Correct out latitude is lower. We’re equal with somewhere around Ocala to Gainesville Fl (going off memory here without looking it up). 

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1 hour ago, NBTX11 said:

Correct out latitude is lower. We’re equal with somewhere around Ocala to Gainesville Fl (going off memory here without looking it up). 

Yes like about 60 miles north of Orlando . 

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1 hour ago, DAVEinMB said:

I lost a silver queen last winter whereas a standard survived. Slightly different siting but same general protection. Try to source yourself a Uruguay. They're your best cold-tolerant bet

Now I'm confused since the nurseries promote them as being more cold tolerent.  I guess not as robust as advertised.  

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19 minutes ago, MarcusH said:

Now I'm confused since the nurseries promote them as being more cold tolerent.  I guess not as robust as advertised.  

Some say they are, some say there's no difference between them and standards. I'm sure every experience is going to be slightly different. There are a number of discussions on the forum about the two if you want to do a deep dive. At the end of the day I believe the general consensus is Uruguay has been proven to withstand colder temps. 

I got my seedlings from woodlanders nursery in GA. The parent tree was planted in 04.

 

Edited by DAVEinMB
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2 hours ago, DAVEinMB said:

Some say they are, some say there's no difference between them and standards. I'm sure every experience is going to be slightly different. There are a number of discussions on the forum about the two if you want to do a deep dive. At the end of the day I believe the general consensus is Uruguay has been proven to withstand colder temps. 

I got my seedlings from woodlanders nursery in GA. The parent tree was planted in 04.

 

I think down the road there're multiple factors for making any palm more cold hardy. Number one how it's been taking care of.  If you have a good immune system you'll overcome illnesses better , the same goes for a healthy tree. A weakened palm is going to struggle.  The other factor are winter protection and what kind of cold front. 

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8 minutes ago, MarcusH said:

I think down the road there're multiple factors for making any palm more cold hardy. Number one how it's been taking care of.  If you have a good immune system you'll overcome illnesses better , the same goes for a healthy tree. A weakened palm is going to struggle.  The other factor are winter protection and what kind of cold front. 

Absolutely

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You're only going to need to protect a queen palm 3 days a year in 8b/9a San Antonio (some years zero or one day).  Don't worry about creating an elaborate structure to put over the palm for 3 months.  Temporary protection methods such as wrapping and lights should be fine.  Protect the palm if the forecasted low is 25 or less.  OK if you want to be safe 27 or less when small.  That isn't going to happen very often.

But the real question is, what are you gonna do with it when it's 20 or 25 feet tall.  At that point it's basically unprotected and you just have to hope for continued mild winters.

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3 hours ago, MarcusH said:

Now I'm confused since the nurseries promote them as being more cold tolerent.  I guess not as robust as advertised.  

Moon Valley nurseries in Houston sell what they call "Piru Queen" palms which they advertise to be more cold tolerant.  I don't think they have proven to be any different than "standard" queens' cold tolerance.  Buyer beware.  Below is from their website:

Piru Queen Palm™

Arecastrum romanzoffianum 'Piru'

BAR CODE#: 0003774882619
Rating:
100% of100

4

  • Custom-grown to love full sun and be extra hardy in heat or cold!
  • Thicker trunks, fuller crowns than standard Queen Palms
  • Extremely durable specimens custom-grown for Western climates
  • 64,391 PIRU QUEEN PALMS™ FOR SALE IN STOCK NOW!

Jon Sunder

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4 hours ago, DAVEinMB said:

I lost a silver queen last winter whereas a standard survived. Slightly different siting but same general protection. Try to source yourself a Uruguay. They're your best cold-tolerant bet

I missed them at woodlanders 🤬

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18 minutes ago, Fusca said:

Moon Valley nurseries in Houston sell what they call "Piru Queen" palms which they advertise to be more cold tolerant.  I don't think they have proven to be any different than "standard" queens' cold tolerance.  Buyer beware.  Below is from their website:

Piru Queen Palm™

Arecastrum romanzoffianum 'Piru'

BAR CODE#: 0003774882619
Rating:
100% of100

4

  • Custom-grown to love full sun and be extra hardy in heat or cold!
  • Thicker trunks, fuller crowns than standard Queen Palms
  • Extremely durable specimens custom-grown for Western climates
  • 64,391 PIRU QUEEN PALMS™ FOR SALE IN STOCK NOW!

Everything I’ve read is that they’re snake oil.

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30 minutes ago, RJ said:

I missed them at woodlanders 🤬

Damn they went quick...

any word on when more will be available? With how well mine took 19F I'd like to add a couple more in less protected spots and see what becomes of them. 

Granted I don't blame you if you don't tell anyone haha

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1 hour ago, NBTX11 said:

But the real question is, what are you gonna do with it when it's 20 or 25 feet tall.  At that point it's basically unprotected and you just have to hope for continued mild winters.

You could protect one but a yard full is a problem,  You'd lose the fronds.  I just put lights on all my palms today.  For a big trunked palm a spotlight hoisted on a pole pointing at crown and either wrap trunk over mini lights or take 3 long poles like pool telescoping poles, wrap them in mini lights and secure to trunk then wrap frost cloth around trunk using pole as support.  I just put lights on a 15' mule no problem, maybe 15 minutes.

Edited by Allen

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@tntropics - 60+ In-ground 7A palms - (Sabal) minor(7 large + 27 seedling size, 3 dwarf),  brazoria(1) , birmingham(4), etonia (1) louisiana(5), palmetto (1), riverside (1),  (Trachycarpus) fortunei(7), wagnerianus(1),  Rhapidophyllum hystrix(7),  18' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia odorata (1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -6F, -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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24 minutes ago, DAVEinMB said:

Damn they went quick...

any word on when more will be available? With how well mine took 19F I'd like to add a couple more in less protected spots and see what becomes of them. 

Granted I don't blame you if you don't tell anyone haha

Honestly don’t know, just saw they weren’t on their website anymore. I’ll try giving them a call next week. 

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3 minutes ago, RJ said:

Honestly don’t know, just saw they weren’t on their website anymore. I’ll try giving them a call next week. 

I imagine they get a pretty steady crop from the parent tree. It wouldn't surprise me if they had some available for spring 23, especially because the demand is there. 

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Heavy mulching , deep watering and probably use a heat tape . I wouldn't mind learning the techniques of a palm trimmer and get some equipment.  Like I said I've been a roofer I worked in heights higher than 30ft .  Of course safety first.  I'm not as crazy and climb up a 100 ft robusta like I've seen on YT lol . Nothing is guaranteed but I believe you can do a lot to keep it alive.  What I'm going to do when my other palms reach 20 or 30ft . Nursery guy told me if you aren't afraid of heights  you can do it by yourself.  I mean a palm tree trimmer can do it too right ? As long as you're healthy go for it. If not at least I tried everything possible then I'd cut it down and plant another one. 

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2 hours ago, MarcusH said:

Heavy mulching , deep watering and probably use a heat tape . I wouldn't mind learning the techniques of a palm trimmer and get some equipment.  Like I said I've been a roofer I worked in heights higher than 30ft .  Of course safety first.  I'm not as crazy and climb up a 100 ft robusta like I've seen on YT lol . Nothing is guaranteed but I believe you can do a lot to keep it alive.  What I'm going to do when my other palms reach 20 or 30ft . Nursery guy told me if you aren't afraid of heights  you can do it by yourself.  I mean a palm tree trimmer can do it too right ? As long as you're healthy go for it. If not at least I tried everything possible then I'd cut it down and plant another one. 

If you were a roofer, especially in Texas or anywhere in the SE you’ve got my respect 👍 

 

 

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