Jump to content

Back from the Brink: Hurricane Ian survivors in Cape Coral, FL


PalmatierMeg

Recommended Posts

Hurricane Ian destroyed most of our landscaping. We lost many palms and most of our large tropical trees. In our Garden Lot those trees broke, uprooted and fell, taking with them everything beside them and crushing all plantings beneath them. Most of the large palms we lost were taken out by trees. Exceptions were Bismarckia (4 of 6 lost) which failed spectacularly in their own right, Attaleas (3 of 4) and Beccariophoenix (same) and one Pseudophoenix vinifera (just one left). After the wreckage was removed I started counting the palm losses and was discouraged by the one-of-a-kind palms I lost, including our only Tahina spectabilis (irreplaceable), a Sabal grethereae, numerous Hemithrinax ekmanii, Syagrus picrophylla and more.

Fast forward 2-1/2 months and I have hope for some of these palms. I recently saw new green fronds emerging from scenes of carnage. Does that mean all will survive? Wish I could say that but recovery has just begun but experience has told me palms cling to life for months before succumbing to damage or disease (my first Sabal palmetto Lisa died of weevil infestation 18 months after Irma - in all that time it had stopped growing & flowering). And to temper my enthusiasm we know at least two large palms we initially hoped would make it will not: a Bismarckia and an Elaeis guineensis, which now must be taken down.

Yesterday I took photos of palms I initially feared dead that may be miracle survivors.

Tahina spectabilis - crushed flat but growing point survived underground

1366021482_Tahinaspectabilis0112-05-22.thumb.JPG.b1e32fb931b8f97b34faf8174eae8d3a.JPG1895088545_Tahinaspectabilis0212-05-22.thumb.JPG.4f558b07542523e8e3eddbb61ce7d255.JPG

Sabal gretherae - also smashed

777789996_Sabalgrethereae0112-05-22.thumb.JPG.8911d966423c988e5a141dfc97c8d91c.JPG1092387216_Sabalgrethereae0212-05-22.thumb.JPG.0636b8fbf643f4b347a954bb76097ff4.JPG

Livistona mariae - looked like the center was fatally broken but is putting out new fronds

1508199445_Livistonamariae0112-05-22.thumb.JPG.b63acaa5bba84e8153da8acc9b3bc395.JPG1796970107_Livistonamariae0212-05-22.thumb.JPG.fc15f6a823051d50e2b058c8959239b8.JPG

Syagrus picrophylla - fronds were sagging and browning and we thought it was a goner. But is putting up new green

972689171_Syagruspicrophylla0112-05-22.thumb.JPG.dafc881204365a83daad72e731e2e3b1.JPG181742563_Syagruspicrophylla0212-05-22.thumb.JPG.b058b3a00481aef90b3b83cdd5bce6a2.JPG

Attalea phalerata - appeared whole crown had broken and collapsed. But Ian's winds had sheared 15' fronds in half. New ones on the way. My only surviving Attalea

1926849333_Attaleaphalerata0112-05-22.thumb.JPG.6096c903e9e48834e4b2cd012fda96c5.JPG954689126_Attaleaphalerata0212-05-22.thumb.JPG.72e90f4f7d6deb5fa809169a2355ea3f.JPG653622613_Attaleaphalerata0312-0522.thumb.JPG.f1c1a7a7a722ee9ab6acafabbda76201.JPG

Livistona decora - was terribly beaten up by Ian and the African oil palm beside it. Looks like it will make it. The oil did not

130870203_Livistonadecora0112-05-22.thumb.JPG.c751b9d3a2fb16eee3238998d042d01b.JPG

  • Like 18
  • Upvote 3

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seeing those pics makes me think there isn't a place that's truly safe from mother nature, regardless of where we live. Good to see life emerge from the devastation.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some bonus photos. I believed from the outset these palms had survived but it's nice to see them coming back.

Roystonea violacea - my sole specimen germinated from 20 seeds bought from RPS before the documentation/permit fiasco. Irreplaceable

209078568_Roystoneaviolacea0112-05-33.thumb.JPG.b3841865317a6e453027a87c91b33a6a.JPG

Cocos nucifera dwarf red spicata twins - germinated 2015

552734123_Cocosnuciferadwarfredspicatatwins0112-05-22.thumb.JPG.eb8bbb8a6955e026d15637f412d115ef.JPG

Cocos nucifera dwarf red spicata single - germinated 2016. I lost the mother of this coconut and the twins to Hurricane Irma in 2017. It has been exceedingly difficult to stabilize it. Ian blew it over to the west. In Nov. Hurricane Nicole winds blew it to the south. I really want to save it but it is a behemoth.

2045417063_Cocosnuciferadwarfredspicata0112-05-22.thumb.JPG.ed432c002c0c1f639905f779e91c875e.JPG

Roystonea regia - an example of how tough this species is. Lost all its leaves down to a spear and is already on its way back. 

1824077355_Roystonearegia0112-05-22.thumb.JPG.6d9f89ef98cb6ee1b6d7f03a4958bbf8.JPG

 

 

  • Like 11
  • Upvote 1

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My fingers will stay crossed for your Tahina and Attalea to make full recoveries. So sad to not have seen your garden in person before this destruction =/ 

T J 

T J 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate seeing this kind of damage. It hurts people like us who love these plants. But in a way seeing them come back from such pain reminds us of why we love them. Going for the absolutel best for your garden. Also how did you get your dwarf coconut seedlings?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Palms are very tough when you think they are goners they come back the only ones that are hard to survive are ones that are very slow to grow!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m so sorry, such difficult losses. I’m attached to my palms nurtured from seed or young, and my heart goes out to you. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meg that is some good growth on the tahina and sabal in so short a time!  Most these survivors have full root systems so growth should be more rapid than planting a new palm.  In a few years your place should be vibrant with plenty of new growth.  

Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Happy to see that some of your palms are refoliating. Doing so for palms is more critical than for plants that can store larger reserves of carbohydrate to support the new growth. On palms that I have left that are refoliating, I am intensely watering them to support the emerging growth.

The conditions here on Pine Island were much the same but being directly in the eye wall our winds were a bit more intense. I did notice that some palms with large spears emerging had the spears and meristem completely pulled from the plant. And no specie or genus was any better or worse that the other...some individuals of the same specie were destroyed while other individuals made it.

Wishing you best of luck.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

It has been 8 months since Hurricane Ian wrecked SWFL, including our Paradise 0.61 Acre. So, yesterday I took some followup photos of the palms mentioned above. While all still live and some have shown encouraging growth, others seem to struggle to overcome the horrendous beating they took. I hope now growing season is in full steam and rainy season lurks only a few weeks away these palms will shake off their doldrums and take off. I also hope the replacement palms I planted will do the same. I still have more candidates that I've grown up to plant if we could find the time and energy to do so.

Tahina spectabilis - slow grower but moving. I hope a blanket of mulch around it helps.

1930892010_Tahinaspectabilis0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.8d5ef17283f9247e54f0c5142b61dfdd.JPG 

Sabal grethereae - from being crushed to this. Tough palm indeed

1528782037_Sabalgrethereae0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.25771e7aa549080b7ab3e26fbf8ec4de.JPG

Livistona mariae - also doing well

1501230454_Livistonamariae0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.e39084c24289f208a78ed80fbd4b1580.JPG

Syagrus picrophylla - still with us but the jury is out

1652167219_Syagruspicrophylla0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.549a5e250f5552d0a40b8a42224eead1.JPG

Attalea phalerata - only remaining Attalea coming back. Note the shattered petiole from Ian in photos 2 & 3. I think it is the prettiest species

1773462885_Attaleaphalerata0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.761f765c557bb922386f107297357ae7.JPG1340228061_Attaleaphalerata0205-06-23.thumb.JPG.177494b05b8877aa59301b5df935a4a1.JPG747025465_Attaleaphalerata0305-06-23.thumb.JPG.1f89301b15b2c01dc3d344fddb65ca02.JPG

Livistona decora - still trying to come back

1431573170_Livistonadecorarecovery0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.7d0e409b9130b690f9035a0c4b90d62a.JPG

ALSO,

Cocos nucifera Dwarf Red Spicata Twins & Solitary - all still have to be tied up so they don't blow over. I hope they will grow more secure roots this summer

599195019_Cocosnuciferadwarfredspicatatwins0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.983e71f2b06df9c5d1c3f3a512da6d73.JPG557275872_Cocosnuciferadwarfredspicatasolitary0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.791389d0569dd3bd89a6eebe49f25bc7.JPG

Bismarckia nobilis x2 - my only surviving Bizzies. Long term prognosis: guarded

1378298858_Bismarckianobilis1-0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.b6a0ecf840def59df1de9f022518b99d.JPG530661320_Bismarckianobilis2-0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.0aa9da0192f27897fad7a0567f512a34.JPG

Hemithrinax ekmaniana - crushed but coming on

1235054535_Hemithrinaxekmanii0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.de0f131a6a08eb1a611b05e170bd8a7c.JPG

Roystonea violacea - I am hopeful

412968352_Roystoneaviolacea0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.37500a5bce96b2b68f68a57e92558a81.JPG

Roystonea regia - last fall they all looked like giant pencils (spears but no leaves). They are coming back fast. Notice the scars on the crown shaft where leaves broke away during Ian

1478170009_Roystonearegiawcrownshaftscars0105-06-23.thumb.JPG.1d6c794ae1bf54facd03030bf52f7ebe.JPG

 

 

  • Like 10
  • Upvote 3

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel so sorry for you and a bit nervous because that could be any of our prized landscapes any given year. Those  palms really got pounded

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meg, have you noticed any spear damage? I have noticed this on a couple of mine that I can see from the ground. I’m thinking it happened during the hurricane. They seem to be growing out of it, thankfully.

 

IMG_1293.jpeg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/8/2023 at 8:28 PM, Barry said:

Meg, have you noticed any spear damage? I have noticed this on a couple of mine that I can see from the ground. I’m thinking it happened during the hurricane. They seem to be growing out of it, thankfully.

 

IMG_1293.jpeg

Spear damage tended to be lost in the midst of other catastrophic damage. I suspect spear-damaged palms were otherwise destroyed outright. But I’ve lost palms the past 8 months that initially appeared to survive and I expect to lose more.

  • Like 2

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Spear damage tended to be lost in the midst of other catastrophic damage. I suspect spear-damaged palms were otherwise destroyed outright. But I’ve lost palms the past 8 months that initially appeared to survive and I expect to lose more.

Hey Meg! I didn't realize you were in Cape Coral. How are y'all recovering? Y'all have been in our thoughts a lot over the last 6 months. You live in a beautiful area so I know it will come back. Not everything but some things will come back better than before. We were absolutely wrecked by hurricane laura in 2020 and it looks pretty good around here now.  And we live in a town with 100' loblolly and longleaf pines all over and that was probably the biggest change.  A huge percentage of them got wiped out. I'm sure y'all will bounce back quicker than here too :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great testimony to resilience and dedication!

What you look for is what is looking

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the kind of winds these took, (im assuming 120 MPH plus) it looks like the ones that are left are doing their very best to come back.  Looking good.    Sad that this happened, and it could very well be any of is in this state or along any coast really.  I guess this is the price we pay for living in paradise.  So sorry you had to go through this and for your losses.   Sending positive vibes for full recovery of all of the ones remaining!   

I thought I saw in one  of the photos what looked like Thrinax radiata? Can you confirm?  If so, they look like the handled things fairly well.   Of course id always expect the native palms to FL and this part of the world to be more hurricane resilient.   I feel like I have read that for royals one of their survival techniques is to actually shed the fronds if the winds get too strong.  Like they are made to break at certain pressures of wind speeds in order to save the tree itself.  I only saw a handful of royals here in far south Pinellas that seemed to have been stripped of most of their fronds, and all of them are now coming back nicely.   We still can see lots of burn / brown fronds on many palms here from Ian, but they are now lower down and the nice new growth is showing alot more.   While there was some foliage stripping from trees here, it was nothing like what you begin to see once you get down into Manatee county and south.  The 100 MPH wind line never made it on shore in Pinellas Point and stayed out in the middle of Tampa Bay.   The worst we saw was about 94MPH gusts.  At least that's what I saw on a weather station at the time.   Northern half of Pinellas was like not much happened at all, while down here it was fairly bad.  About similar damage to what we saw during Irma. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, DCA_Palm_Fan said:

For the kind of winds these took, (im assuming 120 MPH plus) it looks like the ones that are left are doing their very best to come back.  Looking good.    Sad that this happened, and it could very well be any of is in this state or along any coast really.  I guess this is the price we pay for living in paradise.  So sorry you had to go through this and for your losses.   Sending positive vibes for full recovery of all of the ones remaining!   

I thought I saw in one  of the photos what looked like Thrinax radiata? Can you confirm?  If so, they look like the handled things fairly well.   Of course id always expect the native palms to FL and this part of the world to be more hurricane resilient.   I feel like I have read that for royals one of their survival techniques is to actually shed the fronds if the winds get too strong.  Like they are made to break at certain pressures of wind speeds in order to save the tree itself.  I only saw a handful of royals here in far south Pinellas that seemed to have been stripped of most of their fronds, and all of them are now coming back nicely.   We still can see lots of burn / brown fronds on many palms here from Ian, but they are now lower down and the nice new growth is showing alot more.   While there was some foliage stripping from trees here, it was nothing like what you begin to see once you get down into Manatee county and south.  The 100 MPH wind line never made it on shore in Pinellas Point and stayed out in the middle of Tampa Bay.   The worst we saw was about 94MPH gusts.  At least that's what I saw on a weather station at the time.   Northern half of Pinellas was like not much happened at all, while down here it was fairly bad.  About similar damage to what we saw during Irma. 

I have a very tall Thrinax radiata that survived Charley, Wilma, Irma & Ian. We spent 10-12 hours in the SE eyewall of Ian, which came ashore over Pine Island sporting wind gusts of 178 mph. Winds of 150? 155? At that level does it matter? Our back yard jungle took the brunt of wind from the south, our Sabal Row of massive trunking Sabals shielded the house from the east. You can’t do better for a wind block than a group of causiarum, domingensis and maritima. The gardens were pretty much leveled but it is easier to replant palms than rebuild a house. you look at hurricane season differently once you’ve gone through a Big One. That used to be Charley.

  • Like 4
  • Upvote 1

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...