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Copernicia Alba in St Augustine, FL


Almisa

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Pic #1 - first installed in August 2022

Pic#2 - early November

so far so good. 

2039788B-DF97-422E-9C2F-9A019FC2A06A.jpeg

D68D2320-372F-4105-BA4D-838D1C638F39.jpeg

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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C alba can take down to 25F or so. Below that, they likely suffer damage or death. These are not fast growing palms so regrowth from cold damage takes time if you expect it to look good before the following winter. What lows do you consistently get? Are you prepared to protect your Copernicia? A good rule of thumb for zone pushing in FL

 

Zone            Minimum Temps

10a              30 - 35F

9b                25 - 30F

9a                20 - 25F

 

Temps above are not cast in stone and certainly can and probably will go lower at some point. I’m supposedly zone 10a but I’ve seen a record winter low of 28.5F. I lost 30+ species of palms to cold that year.

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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.

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@Almisa you should be fine with your Copernicia alba.  I highly recommend them for zone 9a and above.  The South American Copernicia palms (alba and prunifera) are more cold hardy than given credit for.  I had a blue alba survive 9° and 13° on consecutive nights in February 2021 in San Antonio protected with a string of lights.  It suffered zero damage unprotected at 26° along with a juvenile green prunifera.  I believe @tank had one survive 14° in Gainesville several years ago.  The Cuban Copernicia palms are more tender and difficult to transplant.  If you get an unusual cold below 20° this winter it might need some protection since it's newly planted but should be fine going forward.

Edited by Fusca
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Jon Sunder

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12 hours ago, Fusca said:

@Almisa you should be fine with your Copernicia alba.  I highly recommend them for zone 9a and above.  The South American Copernicia palms (alba and prunifera) are more cold hardy than given credit for.  I had a blue alba survive 9° and 13° on consecutive nights in February 2021 in San Antonio protected with a string of lights.  It suffered zero damage unprotected at 26° along with a juvenile green prunifera.  I believe @tank had one survive 14° in Gainesville several years ago.  The Cuban Copernicia palms are more tender and difficult to transplant.  If you get an unusual cold below 20° this winter it might need some protection since it's newly planted but should be fine going forward.

Thanks for the encouragement and we will watch those temps-looks as though there just may be dips to pay attention to in this area. Last winter I lost foilage on bismarkia, dypsis Dicari and p. robellini with protection but they all came back. This Copernicia is in a vulnerable location on my corner lot so we will watch it carefully if we see mid to low 20’s coming. The only protection I think will help may be the Christmas lights up as far as possible. Yes?? The last two fall storms did noticeable damage to a number of fronds despite their thick, leathery composition. Anyway-I did quite a bit of research on Copernicia once I resolved myself (and my pocketbook) to not being able to grow subtropicals in northern Fla ! Again thx for the advice.

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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8 hours ago, Almisa said:

Thanks for the encouragement and we will watch those temps-looks as though there just may be dips to pay attention to in this area. Last winter I lost foilage on bismarkia, dypsis Dicari and p. robellini with protection but they all came back. This Copernicia is in a vulnerable location on my corner lot so we will watch it carefully if we see mid to low 20’s coming. The only protection I think will help may be the Christmas lights up as far as possible. Yes?? The last two fall storms did noticeable damage to a number of fronds despite their thick, leathery composition. Anyway-I did quite a bit of research on Copernicia once I resolved myself (and my pocketbook) to not being able to grow subtropicals in northern Fla ! Again thx for the advice.

We grow Copernicia alba as a median plant out in the wide open here.  If you're anywhere near the water up there in St. Augustine, you should have decent luck unless we get a near record cold event.  We have two large ones down at Lake Hollingsworth that were over 20 feet already in 2007, so they've seen at least mid-20s with no damage.

20220601_CoperniciaAlba_LakeHollingsworth.jpg.c8ad93f54b52a71221ff15893e186c17.jpg

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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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Well - HERE WE GO! Predicted lows for Christmas and Christmas Eve here is 25 and 26 degrees respectively. I am between I95 and Rt 1 south - about 5 miles from the coast. Good watering tomorrow and crossed fingers will be as much as I can do. Wish me luck! 

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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A brief dip in temps in low 20s alba will be ok, although damage may occur. I’m on the gulf coast 9a and I’ve tried alba on several occasions, planted out from 25gal pots. They never made it more than a few growing seasons. They die when temps stay below freezing for extended durations. To call it a 9a palm is definitely pushing the envelope.

Edited by Gallop

Paul Gallop

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13 hours ago, Gallop said:

To call it a 9a palm is definitely pushing the envelope.

@Fusca has a good survival story of his Alba in San Antonio during Palmageddon. I believe total defoliation but came back after a trunk cut. 

T J 

T J 

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4 hours ago, OC2Texaspalmlvr said:

@Fusca has a good survival story of his Alba in San Antonio during Palmageddon. I believe total defoliation but came back after a trunk cut. 

T J 

Actually the only damage it took in February 2021 was to fronds that "escaped" from the cover and those were completely fried at 9°. I covered as much of the fronds as I could when I wrapped it.  The trunk cut happened in January 2018 (20°) while it was still a newly planted strap leaf seedling.  It has certainly seen some serious cold!  :)

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Jon Sunder

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6 hours ago, Fusca said:

Actually the only damage it took in February 2021 was to fronds that "escaped" from the cover and those were completely fried at 9°

This is why I'm expecting my Albas once in the ground to be bulletproof palms for 9a 😃

T J 

T J 

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On 12/25/2022 at 7:10 PM, SeanK said:

Please let us know how the Copernicias fared this past weekend.

So far so good. We got down to 26/27 degrees at night for 3 days in a row, which is unusual in this area. . I see some frond damage - but you know - won’t really be able to tell the extent for a few weeks or so/ possibly longer.  And there’s still January and February to come! It will be 75 degrees here in a few days…thank goodness!

COPERNECIA.pdf

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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18 hours ago, Almisa said:

So far so good. We got down to 26/27 degrees at night for 3 days in a row, which is unusual in this area. . I see some frond damage - but you know - won’t really be able to tell the extent for a few weeks or so/ possibly longer.  And there’s still January and February to come! It will be 75 degrees here in a few days…thank goodness!

COPERNECIA.pdf 488.14 kB · 5 downloads

Once you get to 75-80° you should know then if there's additional cosmetic damage and the palm will grow out of it.  I threw a blanket over my alba and I only saw 27.3° for the low - it's the same one that I posted photos of earlier.  I transplanted it from San Antonio and it suffered severe transplant shock but is growing fine now.  I wouldn't have bothered covering it except that it was not in the ground for very long.  We've been in the low 80's the past two days and I see some slight damage to the older leaves but no problem.  A good sized strap-leaf seedling I planted in the fall was completely untouched without any protection (thanks @richtrav!)

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Jon Sunder

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a string of 4 days here in Gainesville below freezing with two days of lows @23F around Christmas.  Neither the smallish C. alba or C. prunifera that I planted at the new house or the prunifera and 3 albas that I have at my old house showed any significant damage at this point.  All of these plants have experienced colder temps in the past and survived.

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Jason

Gainesville, Florida

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On 12/25/2022 at 9:14 PM, Gallop said:

A brief dip in temps in low 20s alba will be ok, although damage may occur. I’m on the gulf coast 9a and I’ve tried alba on several occasions, planted out from 25gal pots. They never made it more than a few growing seasons. They die when temps stay below freezing for extended durations. To call it a 9a palm is definitely pushing the envelope.

They definitely are a 9a palm. I can confirm firsthand of them coming back from mid teens with nothing more than being wrapped . Maybe you were buying mislabeled Copernicia prunifera, which is pretty hardy itself 

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I tried both alba and prunifera. Alba on several occasions, 15/ 20gal starter plants never made it more than a few years. My winters kill them. Maybe it’s a combination on cold /rain and possibly longer periods below freezing?  Mine tried to come back but got hit with back to back cold winters and that did them in. 

Paul Gallop

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  • 2 months later...

Update on this Copernicia alba:  A lot of pruning after the winter damage - hopefully she will return to fuller greener glory over the summer since we are still within year 1 since installation.  Using Palm Perfect and Chelated Nutritional. 

FA3CDA82-5E11-45EB-9396-29D329AD54F4.jpeg

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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Yes-two trunk. I’ll post a new picture in the morning from the same direction as the earlier shots for comparison. And you’re right about the shedding! It cleaned up nicely as I was taking off the dead/browned eaves/stems, exposing more trunk. I noticed the dried ones falling off by themselves and then ended up being able to easily knock off those that were just kinda hanging here. Thanks for the comment.

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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04FE11D3-26FA-45F5-A620-A1957417277F.thumb.jpeg.21cbe667f75e4b3478c2c4a0c4dccdba.jpeg3F983BCC-D47D-4F04-A44C-12DCC249F63A.thumb.jpeg.9762c54dae8b5aa00772d9b3f6c362d6.jpeg

23 hours ago, Almisa said:

Yes-two trunk. I’ll post a new picture in the morning from the same direction as the earlier shots for comparison. And you’re right about the shedding! It cleaned up nicely as I was taking off the dead/browned eaves/stems, exposing more trunk. I noticed the dried ones falling off by themselves and then ended up being able to easily knock off those that were just kinda hanging here. Thanks for the comment.

Two better photos to compare with my original December postings in this string, above. Note that I pruned a lot of damaged fronds - the hurricane winds and winter temps. Also note how much of the leaf bases either fell or I removed - about 12-18 “! . But there appears to be good and fresh crown growth so I am hopeful that even though Copernicia is a slow grower, she will complete her first year acclimation and leaf out more before next winter.

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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1 hour ago, Almisa said:

 

Two better photos to compare with my original December postings in this string, above. Note that I pruned a lot of damaged fronds - the hurricane winds and winter temps. Also note how much of the leaf bases either fell or I removed - about 12-18 “! . But there appears to be good and fresh crown growth so I am hopeful that even though Copernicia is a slow grower, she will complete her first year acclimation and leaf out more before next winter.

I see a pretty toasted sago in the background, it must of been pretty chilly down there. 

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1 minute ago, RJ said:

I see a pretty toasted sago in the background, it must of been pretty chilly down there. 

Lolol. That’s a neighbor’s p.rubellini that hasn’t been pruned from the frost. They burnt up.  got down to 25-ish F. Cold, but most sagos I’ve seen did ok. 

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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  • 4 weeks later...

During yesterday’s pruning, was so pleased and excited to see these flowers developing on c.alba!  I must be doing something right - still within first year in the ground and one winter. 

D516EDE3-CBE0-46BE-9CA4-5FC783F9426B.jpeg

862DCAC5-C257-4DA0-949E-33925B2CA300.jpeg

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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@Almisa Nice work!  Becoming a proud parent is the best part of growing palms.

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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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You are so encouraging kinzyjr! Thank you!!!

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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Now if I can just get that average queen in the background to respond to all my work on her!!!!

I know……patience

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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  • 1 month later...

Advice Requested: is this yellowing potentially due to lack of Potassium and/or Magnesium?  I’ve been babying this Palm and was alarmed to see this.  Just noticeable over the lat few days. 

IMG_0049.jpeg

IMG_0050.jpeg

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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2 hours ago, Almisa said:

Advice Requested: is this yellowing potentially due to lack of Potassium and/or Magnesium?  I’ve been babying this Palm and was alarmed to see this.  Just noticeable over the lat few days. 

IMG_0049.jpeg

IMG_0050.jpeg

Yes, looks like a nutritional deficiency - very common in FL. Our soils are esp. deficient in potassium (K), also magnesium (Mn). Those elements are yin/yang. Have you fertilized this year with a slow release food with all the minor elements? I’m assuming you don’t have a summer fertilizer blackout like I have in SWFL. If you do you are out of luck until Oct. 1 when the ban is lifted. The only element I am allowed to spread during rainy season is potassium. Fertilizing now won’t correct the problems with existing leaves but may help those in the future. Not a major problem worth fretting over at this point.

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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.

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Disregard

Edited by Almisa
Entered in wrong place
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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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And mulch plentifully. I have dreadful alkaline calcareous shell rock and sand soil but I have enriched it over the years by mulching r`egularly all around my palms over and above the 2-3x per year that I fertilize. Since covid I have had a hard time finding any fertilizer at all for my palms. And the few bags I’ve seen run ~$55-60 for one 50 lb bag. I have gone to Sunniland  6- 4-6 or 10-10-10, about $23 for a 40 lb bag (we use 10-12 bags per session post-Ian). We finished our 2nd fertilizer session just under the June 1 deadline for fertilizer blackout. We will do one more spread around Oct. 1.

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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.

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5 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

And mulch plentifully. I have dreadful alkaline calcareous shell rock and sand soil but I have enriched it over the years by mulching r`egularly all around my palms over and above the 2-3x per year that I fertilize. Since covid I have had a hard time finding any fertilizer at all for my palms. And the few bags I’ve seen run ~$55-60 for one 50 lb bag. I have gone to Sunniland  6- 4-6 or 10-10-10, about $23 for a 40 lb bag (we use 10-12 bags per session post-Ian). We finished our 2nd fertilizer session just under the June 1 deadline for fertilizer blackout. We will do one more spread around Oct. 1.

 

6 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Yes, looks like a nutritional deficiency - very common in FL. Our soils are esp. deficient in potassium (K), also magnesium (Mn). Those elements are yin/yang. Have you fertilized this year with a slow release food with all the minor elements? I’m assuming you don’t have a summer fertilizer blackout like I have in SWFL. If you do you are out of luck until Oct. 1 when the ban is lifted. The only element I am allowed to spread during rainy season is potassium. Fertilizing now won’t correct the problems with existing leaves but may help those in the future. Not a major problem worth fretting over at this point.

 

5 hours ago, Almisa said:

Disregard

Meg. Appreciate the advice -(I thought I posted this response a few hours ago - missed the send tab) and for encouraging me not to panick! I have been amending the soil and diligently fertilizing (Perfect Palm, Palm Gain and chelated iron) and tending to this palm since installed a little less than a year ago - so I was surprised to see the yellowing and initially thought perhaps OVER-fertilization.  But alas - new housing development, sandy soil - this is a stark reminder that it will be a while to create a growing environment that will allow palms to fend for themselves - if ever. I am going to get out there tomorrow!  I have a few bags of 10-10-10.  We do not have any fertilization restrictions….yet, at least.  Thanks. 

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9a NE Florida: 2 Phoenix Sylvester; 1 p.robellini; 2 Bismarckia nobilis; 1 Trachycarpus fortunei; 3  livistonia chenesis; 1 Dypsis decaryi; 1 Rhapis excelsa; 1 Sabal palmetto; 1 (double) Copernicia alba; 1 Chamaedorea catractarum 1 Licuala grandis, 1 Beaucanea recurvata, numerous cycads, tropicals, orchids. Winter 2022/23 Low 25F

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/17/2022 at 6:00 PM, PalmatierMeg said:

C alba can take down to 25F or so. Below that, they likely suffer damage or death. These are not fast growing palms so regrowth from cold damage takes time if you expect it to look good before the following winter. What lows do you consistently get? Are you prepared to protect your Copernicia? A good rule of thumb for zone pushing in FL

 

Zone            Minimum Temps

10a              30 - 35F

9b                25 - 30F

9a                20 - 25F

 

Temps above are not cast in stone and certainly can and probably will go lower at some point. I’m supposedly zone 10a but I’ve seen a record winter low of 28.5F. I lost 30+ species of palms to cold that year.

They’re known to be hardy down to about 20F 

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Just saw this thread on Copernicia alba after posting a young one down in Key Largo on the main thread. All Copernicia's should be planted up everywhere they can grow ASAP.
 

They are all slow growers but are a magnificent variety of Palm that should be stretched here in Florida. It seems that all varieties have proven to be much more cold hardy than expected.

What you look for is what is looking

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36 minutes ago, bubba said:

Just saw this thread on Copernicia alba after posting a young one down in Key Largo on the main thread. All Copernicia's should be planted up everywhere they can grow ASAP.
 

They are all slow growers but are a magnificent variety of Palm that should be stretched here in Florida. It seems that all varieties have proven to be much more cold hardy than expected.

Amen

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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.

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