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Foxtails hardier than Royals…?


ahosey01

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It would appear that way if I survey the freeze damage in the RGV.  Royals pretty much all got touched, even if just a little.  There are several big foxtails - some like 200ft from royals - with absolutely no damage.  If this is accurate I had this way backwards. 

 

Can anyone confirm or deny for me?

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In the case of last year's freeze, yes. Usually they are about the same +/-, probably not enough to pick one or the other for "cold hardiness" (both serve somewhat different landscape purposes anyway). A big fat healthy royal might be a hair more hardy simply because there's more buffer between cold and the meristem.

FWIW, iirc the furthest north surviving royals in the RGV are ever so slightly north (like <5 miles LOL) of the northernmost foxtails. Or it could just be that royals are more abundant. Once you get into solid royal territory (~US 83 corridor in Hidalgo county and north Brownsville-ish) you start seeing foxtails too so who knows. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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My experience is that Wodyetia are a bit more touchy than Roystonea in lengthy cold weather. My Venezuelan Royal has outlived two Wodyetia palms here where the Wodyetia seem to do well….sometimes. I am now hardening off a couple more Wodyetia to plant in a warmer location than the other two that died were. I haven’t seen very cold temps here , nothing below mid 30’s f , rarely below 38f. Harry

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34 minutes ago, Harry’s Palms said:

My experience is that Wodyetia are a bit more touchy than Roystonea in lengthy cold weather.

I'd agree w/ this.  There is -at least- one longer term Royal in San Jose ( Mentioned here many times. Has been where it is located since 2012 )  Only Foxtail i noted up there ( ....around the same time ironically ) croaked the winter after i noted it ( passed it every time i'd go out to lunch ) . Small and i doubt it got any real care to get it through that not so cold winter ..but..

Was planted where the Orange arrow is in this street view grab. Kings were planted at the same time.

houseofkings2.thumb.jpg.91877c1ef2ea7cf66cf72e38ce8c88b3.jpg

That's not to say a Foxtail can't be grown up there. In an ideal spot / part of the south / east bay, it is possible ..imo..  but,  between the two?  in that part of the world at least?  Royal wins, hands down.

If i remember correctly, Foxtails around Tampa suffered more damage after the 2009 - 10 cold event than royals did.  Ones i'd see 2 x's a week not far from the airport ( Tampa Int. )  got beat up pretty good that winter, temporarily at least. Think some of the smaller ones we sold saw some damage in Largo / Clearwater too.

Royals?  shrug, maybe some minor bronzing right after that freeze. Fine otherwise. Ones i'd see daily / weekly all over Pinellas Co. at least.


 

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Very similar for me in south east Spain but I would go the other way and say my foxtails always look better coming out of winter than my royals, it could be for other reasons like the soil and water I guess but I try to look after them all but feel like my foxtails grow through the winter where as the royals seems to slow right down and then take off again when it warms up.

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Foxtails failed my 3 Strikes Rule so I won’t plant them again. They seem prone to go into a swivel after exposure to temps in the low 30s, develop nutritional and borer problems. Royals are tougher (they are FL natives, foxtails are Australian and the difference shows) but are prone to potassium deficiency by the end of every winter. FL soils are woefully short on potassium and nitrogen but oversaturated with phosphorus. So, many royals end up with frizzletop, yellow leaves etc. every spring. 

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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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2 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Foxtails failed my 3 Strikes Rule so I won’t plant them again. They seem prone to go into a swivel after exposure to temps in the low 30s, develop nutritional and borer problems. Royals are tougher (they are FL natives, foxtails are Australian and the difference shows) but are prone to potassium deficiency by the end of every winter. FL soils are woefully short on potassium and nitrogen but oversaturated with phosphorus. So, many royals end up with frizzletop, yellow leaves etc. every spring. 

Meg , I haven’t given up on Wodyetia. There are enough very nice looking ones in my area that give me hope. My Roystonia always looked a little wimpy so just before one of our last storms I dug around the base and added organic fertilizer mixed with fresh mulch and the first frond that opened a couple of weeks ago looks encouraging. Most of my palms need nothing but water but a few will benefit from regular feeding. My Wodyetia I had were planted on the north side of my house , not a good plan. I will plant at least two on the south side this time. As soon as they open a frond . I have been slowly introducing them to their “new digs” for several months. Harry. Here is my attempt to help my Venezuelan Royal

IMG_3650.jpeg

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It's all about the diameter of the growing point.  Many smaller Royals and Foxtails got wiped out in January 2010 freeze across Tampa Bay.  Larger, mature and FAT specimens took a beating and in most cases, came back.  Hardiness is about the same if the plants are mature and FAT.  I will say Wodyetia is NOT a 10b palm as was first believed when these palms were introduced in the early 1990s.  When the temps get below 25F in Florida, it's a case of only the strong survive.  That's when the individuals palm genetics and how well you've cared for it will make or break it.

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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14 hours ago, ahosey01 said:

It would appear that way if I survey the freeze damage in the RGV.  Royals pretty much all got touched, even if just a little.  There are several big foxtails - some like 200ft from royals - with absolutely no damage.  If this is accurate I had this way backwards. 

 

Can anyone confirm or deny for me?

In 2010, I had small troyals and foxtails both die at 28F two nights in a row.  In mature trees, I have noticed that leaf burn came first on royals, but survivability is not leaf burn.  After watching a few freeze events the last 14 years, it appears to me that royals come back much faster from a cold or wind damage event as if they are well adapted to come back fast from damage.  Foxtails seem to take less damage but then they sit there for a while while before pushing new leaves.  Remember when cold tolerance is mentions its about survival not leaf burn.   I also agree the foxtail is a mid size tree with a smallish crown..  A royal is just a large palm tree one of the largest crownshafted palms.   The royals want to be wet lots of water and the foxtail wants a consistent dry cycle or it will be unhappy. 

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

 

Tom Blank

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I'd echo @SubTropicRay on size being critical to survival.  On short duration cold events a big thick trunk = better survival chances.  I lost a whole bunch of skinny young Foxtails to temps in the ~27F range, with frost.  Four bigger ones with significant trunk diameter took some leaf burn but were otherwise fine.  The thick trunk and thick crownshaft means the inner bud doesn't see the same minimum temperature that a skinny palm would see.  Thermodynamics is complicated, but the temperature gradient across a cylinder is pretty simple: for a given temperature exposure and material composition, the cylinder with a larger diameter will always have a higher "core" temperature.

In a couple of spots near me there are a few Royals:

  • An RV dealer was built around 2012 and planted some 10-15' tall Royals.  They've all survived fine for a dozen years with no protection and several cold fronts into the upper 20s.
  • A neighborhood was built in Lake Mary along the bike path I ride all the time.  One house has 2 royals, and the next door neighbor has (had) 6 Foxtails, all about the 10' height when planted.  The big cold front that hit 24.6F in my backyard defoliated all of them.  The Royals started growing new fronds a few weeks later, and the Foxtails took at least 2 months before they really started growing again.  1 Foxtail died.

Personally I do not have any Royals, because I don't like the idea of a 25' long 50lb frond falling at random from 20+ feet in the air.  I had enough of water oaks dropping big branches on my roof and cars.  I would not *ever* intentionally plant something that did the same...

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In Florida, I'd give the edge to Roystonea regia.  There are mature Roystonea regia in southern Jacksonville near Goodby's Creek, but there haven't been any reports of mature Wodyetia bifurcata to my recollection.  Brownsville might be a different story as the climate transitions from the humid climate of the southeast USA to the semi-arid and finally arid climate of the southwest USA.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone 1990: 9a  2012: 9b  2023: 10a | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (Jan. 1985, Dec.1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a

30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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1 hour ago, kinzyjr said:

In Florida, I'd give the edge to Roystonea regia.  There are mature Roystonea regia in southern Jacksonville near Goodby's Creek, but there haven't been any reports of mature Wodyetia bifurcata to my recollection.  Brownsville might be a different story as the climate transitions from the humid climate of the southeast USA to the semi-arid and finally arid climate of the southwest USA.

That's a misconception about south Texas imo, it's one of the most humid places in the USA period...and I've been to most all of Florida during the summer months. Just low rainfall. Here's the current conditions and dew point 

Screenshot_20240522-2209412.thumb.png.0dba1a1a59eb20c54c38e99fbb9888c6.png

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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Just now, Xenon said:

That's a misconception about south Texas imo, it's one of the most humid places in the USA period...and I've been to most all of Florida during the summer months. Just low rainfall. Here's the current conditions and dew point 

Screenshot_20240522-2209412.thumb.png.0dba1a1a59eb20c54c38e99fbb9888c6.png

Being here I would basically agree.  Many of the tile roofs have mold on them and our windows are always foggy in the mornings.  Even my rear view mirror in my car fogs up when I get in it in the morning.

That said - there's something desert-y that's hard to put my finger on.  When the wind blows, sometimes it feels very dry.  I felt this in @Fusca's yard just today.

I have a Davis VantagePro in my own yard and I have seen the humidity fluctuate on a hot and windy day from 98% in the morning to somewhere around 50%, dip to below 40%, come back up when the wind stops blowing and then be sauna-esque by nightfall.  Other days, it's been a sauna the whole time and it never gets below 80%.  But somehow, despite all of that, it's still been rainfall-free and everything gets full of dust.

I can't really describe this place yet.  I almost feel like Arizona and Florida had a baby and called it the RGV.  I could see where @kinzyjr is coming from because I get the sense that much of Northern Australia is probably like that - some weird convergence zone somewhere between a desert and the tropics.

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I was visiting friends in Jacksonville this evening and took a picture of this royal. I’ve known about it for a few years and it has definitely seen some serious cold because it is not protected and it’s not particularly close to water either (it is multiple miles inland). The palm looks pretty terrible every time I see it but it is alive nonetheless. From my observations, they’re tougher than foxtails. IMG_4604.thumb.jpeg.1d91500629904b436505c2690db50fae.jpeg

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10 minutes ago, ahosey01 said:

 

I have a Davis VantagePro in my own yard and I have seen the humidity fluctuate on a hot and windy day from 98% in the morning to somewhere around 50%, dip to below 40%, come back up when the wind stops blowing and then be sauna-esque by nightfall.  Other days, it's been a sauna the whole time and it never gets below 80%.  But somehow, despite all of that, it's still been rainfall-free and everything gets full of dust.

 

Relative humidity is deceptive, dew point is a better indicator of how much total moisture is in the air. Yes the relative humidity was "only 60%" yesterday afternoon but it was 95F with a 79F dew point...very oppressive 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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1 minute ago, Xenon said:

Relative humidity is deceptive, dew point is a better indicator of how much total moisture is in the air. Yes the relative humidity was "only 60%" yesterday afternoon but it was 95F with a 79F dew point...very oppressive 

Is there like a youtube video or something somewhere that would explain this distinction to me?

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2 hours ago, ahosey01 said:

Is there like a youtube video or something somewhere that would explain this distinction to me?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mYWhkFm0io

Now look at that nasty air temp + dew point combo (heat index) from yesterday

humidity.JPG.2fd39b66b8359daa5475b2ce46226103.JPG

 

Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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