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proper spacing for Bismarkia ?


Darold Petty

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A local friend has a very large yard on a hillside, and wishes to install two Bismarkia palms down the hillside from his deck.  What is the proper spacing so that the mature crowns will be close, but not overlap ??   Palmpedia suggests that the crown is 14 to 16 feet in diameter,  so that would indicate perhaps 20 feet on center ?    Thanks !

San Francisco, California

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39 minutes ago, Darold Petty said:

A local friend has a very large yard on a hillside, and wishes to install two Bismarkia palms down the hillside from his deck.  What is the proper spacing so that the mature crowns will be close, but not overlap ??   Palmpedia suggests that the crown is 14 to 16 feet in diameter,  so that would indicate perhaps 20 feet on center ?    Thanks !

Darold, that seems small so I checked.  My fruiting female looks about 20' across and while she is a beautiful waxy white, not the biggest bizzie have seen in crown.  I used a tape measure at trunk center then looked straight up to where the leaves extended then doubled that radius to get crown diameter.  My C. baileyana was 16'(8'x2) C. fallaensis was about 19'(9.5' x2) while my largest beccariophoenix alfredii was 30'(15x2).  I would say 23-25' should have them not touching long term if they were the same crown height.  If one is lower planting or notably smaller than another, a closer fit is possible.  Are california bizzies only 14-16' across?  That might be the case.  Mine is in full sun and the ones I see in shade have longer petioles, they are perhaps 4-5' wider in a more sparse crown vs the full sun grown ones.  A guy down the street has 2 under oaks in at least half day shade and they are definitely bigger across than mine but hold 4-5(?) fewer leaves.

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

 

Tom Blank

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Thanks very much, Tom, very helpful.  My friend's placement exposure will be all day, direct sun, south facing, with hot temperatures during summer daytime in San Rafael, CA.  :greenthumb:

San Francisco, California

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More distance esp. if his yard is as big as you say. The hillside would look weird if two huge Bismarckia played cuddle up in a large open space.

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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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I would recommend a barrier when you plant them if there is any chance of gophers. I have a hillside property and have gophers all the time . My Gardner is very good at trapping them but they still come and set up house for a short period of time. Gophers seem to be selective with their diets. When I bought mine the nursery manager ( IPS member and collector ) told me about Bizmarkia being “candy” to gophers. I put wire mesh around the inside of the hole when I planted my 5 gallon prize . It grew and started looking very nice and somehow the gopher(s) found a way to get to it . They ate all the roots right up to the trunk!! It was laying on its side when I got to it. That fast! I have other palms on my hill that have been there about 25 years , no problem but the gophers like Bizmarkia and Kentia palms. 🫤 Harry

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I just checked my two barely-trunking Bismarck.  Both are approximately 22-24 feet in diameter, measured at fronds that are straight out horizontal.  Both are in full sun.

I also used Palmpedia as a reference, and that's why the one in the front yard is about 2-3 feet too close to the house! 

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I just measure mine, wide spread but not quite mature, over 20ft from tip to tip. 3ft clear fat trunk. If you want to see daylight between I wouldn’t go less than 25ft spacing. 

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My next door neighbor has 6 planted next to each other. The biggest is about 20 feet tall and about 17-18 feet across. The next largest is more like 14-16 feet across so it can come down to individual plant genetics and here it seems especially in hot full sun they might be a bit tighter on the petiole but still get massive.

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I grew 3 bismarckias to trunking in arizona and 2 in florida all were grown in in full sun(6+ hrs direct).  One of the florida palms(5' trunk) died from weevil attack after a neighbors broken irrigation system flooded it repeatedly during the rainy season.  The one that died was larger in width than my 20 foot wide female mentioned earlier.  While I never actually measured my arizona bizzies with a tape they were notably smaller even when holding leaves to the horizontal.   When I first moved to florida and went to bush gardens and saw all the bizzies growing there.  I was struck that they were larger palms than my arizona grown palms, perhaps 3-4 feet wider across crowns and they had bigger leaves as well.  Desert sun may tighten the crowns of these palms up a bit in a protective adaptation.  There are scores of bismarckia planted along the highways here, I75, US301 etc.  Typically in groups of 10 or more.   The fraction with the smaller crowns have skinny trunks as well indicating maybe not enough water or some other setback when field grown before planting.  We have about 15 or so trunking(>3' clear trunk) bizzies planted in my neighborhoods 80 house development the smaller ones are generally planted up near the house in construction clay that is commonly used to stabilize the slabs here.  It would seem the bismarckias prefer their native habitats hot wet season to the desert.  Bismarckia on madagascar see a wet hot season and a dry cool season as we have here in florida.  It would be i9nteresting to see if coastal california vs interior desert california bismarckias grow to different crown sizes.  But I think climate is not the only factor.  I have seen bismarckias in AZ on drip in identical sun conditions(full) have different length petioles that gave rise to different crown widths.

 

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

 

Tom Blank

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Thanks to all for the comments !  :greenthumb:

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San Francisco, California

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There is a house in Encinitas (on Quail Gardens Dr) with two Bizzies in the backyard (on a slope). I've been meaning to take a photo, but can offer these from Google Maps...

bizzie1.thumb.jpg.e227174bd80144e88e1eab432b6f5c75.jpg

bizze2b.jpg.04725c44602ab854ce18cb033e55130a.jpg

I superimposed the Google Maps "scale" on top of the second photo so you can see the distance. In these photos it looks like there is more than enough space between them, but what's weird is that when I walk or drive by the house I think "wow, those bizzies were planted really close".  Must be the angle I'm viewing them from because they look fine here.

Hope that helps!

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Stacey Wright  |  Graphic Designer

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If one were to have very limited yard space with only 10 feet of spacing by the center line, is that crowded enough to cause trunk lean?

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Because the Bizzies in my first example are not fully mature I thought I would provide a second reference... This Bizzie (walking distance from my house) appears to be very old - as is most of the landscaping in the yard...

biz1.thumb.jpg.7439848f4cc4815d54cdebd06350e21e.jpg

When I view the aerial view from Google Maps (and superimpose the scale), it appears that when mature, 20ft (center to center) would make the fronds touch. It's possible though.

biz2.jpg.97df67bb20b31f9344745d94c69579c9.jpg

Here's a Photoshop version of two mature Bizzies, set 20ft from center to center...

biz3.jpg.f8d34a294990aae6ab7afebaa4b34139.jpg

Based on these screenshots (from Google Maps), a 20ft spacing would be possible. Fronds would eventually touch though.

If you can swing 30ft - like in the earlier example - that would be more ideal. Or split the difference at 25ft (and have a *bit* of spacing between the fronds). 

* Disclaimer: This is just based on my Photoshop experiments using Google Maps (whose scale might not be perfectly accurate). Hopefully it helps in visualizing though.

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Stacey Wright  |  Graphic Designer

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34 minutes ago, iDesign said:

There is a house in Encinitas (on Quail Gardens Dr) with two Bizzies in the backyard (on a slope). I've been meaning to take a photo, but can offer these from Google Maps...

bizzie1.thumb.jpg.e227174bd80144e88e1eab432b6f5c75.jpg

but what's weird is that when I walk or drive by the house I think "wow, those bizzies were planted really close".  Must be the angle I'm viewing them from because they look fine here.

I always notice those when I drive by as well, Stacey. Looks like the first two on the east side of the property are quite close. It's kinda hard to see but I see two trunks there.

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13 minutes ago, Billy said:

I always notice those when I drive by as well, Stacey. Looks like the first two on the east side of the property are quite close. It's kinda hard to see but I see two trunks there.

Ha! I just rechecked Google Maps and it is actually FOUR Bizzies in that backyard... Two PAIRS of Bizzies. This is the closest to a photo showing all of them, but I can see one or the other pairs in several photos.

biz4.thumb.jpg.a71556cf791886f151e492b8d1214f96.jpg

Closeup of the more distant pair...

biz4c.jpg.62104900e8ad15332beb7f7d6773f60a.jpg

No wonder the thought "Those are much too close" crossed my mind. The spacing between the pairs is luxurious at 30ft (from center to center)... but the spacing between the plants within each pair is nuts. 🥜

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Stacey Wright  |  Graphic Designer

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Here’s an interesting house I’ve been watching for a few years outside the metro Orlando area that has 60 total Bismarcks lining the sides of the driveway (30 on each side). I’m not sure of the spacing, but it looks around 20’ feet or less from google maps. You can also see a good example of the genetic variation, some growing faster or smaller than the others with the same soil, sun, and watering (or lack of) schedule. 
 

I’m having trouble posting the google maps link, but here’s the coordinates:

(28.6669772, -81.7716496)

located in the city of Howey-in-the-Hills, FL. 

 

IMG_6197.png

IMG_6196.png

IMG_6201.png

IMG_6200.png

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2 hours ago, Advective said:

If one were to have very limited yard space with only 10 feet of spacing by the center line, is that crowded enough to cause trunk lean?

The fronds on mine are about 11 feet long from trunk to tip of the fan.  I think if you planted them 10ft on center, the fronds would "fight" each other.  I don't think it would cause the trunks to lean apart.  But the petioles on Bismarck are extremely rigid, so as they grow they'd push down against the fans & petioles on the other palm.  It might work okay, I honestly haven't seen any Bismarcks planted that close together.

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2 hours ago, iDesign said:

Ha! I just rechecked Google Maps and it is actually FOUR Bizzies in that backyard... Two PAIRS of Bizzies. This is the closest to a photo showing all of them, but I can see one or the other pairs in several photos.

biz4.thumb.jpg.a71556cf791886f151e492b8d1214f96.jpg

Closeup of the more distant pair...

biz4c.jpg.62104900e8ad15332beb7f7d6773f60a.jpg

No wonder the thought "Those are much too close" crossed my mind. The spacing between the pairs is luxurious at 30ft (from center to center)... but the spacing between the plants within each pair is nuts. 🥜

I think those bizzies are not done widening, not enough trunk.   They have no leaves to the horizontal so they will be more narrow in crown even if they were mature adults  They should be done widening at about 5' trunk, including dead leaf bases.   Bottom line is you can water them less and trim them up a little to fit.  Underwatering on a slope is a more likely situation as runoff competes with ground penetration to the deep root structure that these palms develop.

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

 

Tom Blank

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Be careful how many you plant.  5 females may get you a yard full of fruit every year and it doesnt fall all at once.  My female produces 300lbs+ of fruit annually.  Its my only gripe with the tree, its my messiest palm.

first pic showing more than 20' of clean trunk with a swollen  base of about 3'.

fruit in second pic is just showing the fruit on that side, there is more on the other side.

IMG_9942.thumb.JPG.c7a4ec8ec4924d1fb845e022ec490013.JPGIMG_9943.thumb.JPG.089ed46293745e69a617075247c847ef.JPG

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

 

Tom Blank

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2 hours ago, sonoranfans said:

Be careful how many you plant.  5 females may get you a yard full of fruit every year and it doesnt fall all at once.  My female produces 300lbs+ of fruit annually.  Its my only gripe with the tree, its my messiest palm.

first pic showing more than 20' of clean trunk with a swollen  base of about 3'.

fruit in second pic is just showing the fruit on that side, there is more on the other side.

IMG_9942.thumb.JPG.c7a4ec8ec4924d1fb845e022ec490013.JPGIMG_9943.thumb.JPG.089ed46293745e69a617075247c847ef.JPG

I was thinking the same thing.  Females can make quite a mess.  Someone’s going to need a dump truck to clean up after those guys. 

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