Pacific northwest winter assessment -how about you?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by honolua, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. honolua

    honolua Active Member

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    Hi,
    I am wondering how the winter fared for those out there in the lower mainland or island in BC? I had two lovely 5 feet tall windmills and one 3 foot tall windmill. As well, a Butia Capitata. 2 of the 3 windmills died (fungus it seems), and yet the smallest one survived. The Butia also died as the centre spear rotted and I was able to pull it right out. I am heartbroken as they were years old and have survived snow in the past. It seems this winer was too much for them. I understand from several nurseries in the lower mainland that many people have reported their palms dying this year. In fact, there is a 30 foot tall windmill down the street from me, which is now brown and dying too! Imagine! This palm has been at that house for 25-30 years with no problem!

    How is everyone else? Any inspiring, optimistic stories out there? I am looking for hope...........Cheers.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Feather palms tend not to last down here as well. There are some that have been around for awhile, but the general pattern is for them to gradually disappear from plantings.
     
  3. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    I sure hope this is the worst winter I ever see. I haven't had too many heartbreaking losses, but it is always sad to see tender plants that have grown very large finally succomb to the winter. My losses (so far) include my 15' cordyline, 3 Chamerops-small, med, and a large one, all my ceanothus, and a hard hit to my agaves and cactus. I am still waiting on my melianthus to show signs of life. Bananas haven't started yet either, but I am quite sure they're still to come.
    My trachys are looking rather tattered, but none have pulled spears and I don't expect to loose any of my 30+ assorted sizes of trees. Last year one had a spear pull and came back from it quite nicely, so don't be too hasty if a spear pulls out.
    We are in for a nice stretch of warm weather it seems so let's hope it helps our plants back to life!
     
  4. abbotsfordpalmman

    abbotsfordpalmman Active Member

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    Well you asked for reports from out in the valley. We were hit HARD this winter. There are some really nasty looking plants everywhere including completely hardy plants that look like garbage right now. The duration of the cold was what was the worst out here combined with the hard winds and windchill factors...

    HOWEVER! there is some hope. Of seven windmill palms in ground one had spear pull, two look really ratty but will recover nicely this summer and the other 4 look beautiful. I have a fairly large med fan palm that looks really great (however I threw some christmas lights and a tarp over it on the coldest nights to protect it) One of the small suckers had a spear pull but the main plant is already growing strong. My Butia Capitata pulled through excellent with similar treatment to that of the med. fan palm. Christmas lights. burlap around emerging centre fronds and a tarp to keep of the wind. All my phormiums were toast along with a few large cordylines (which is to be expected in the valley in at least 50% of winters).

    Around the neighborhood there was a completely wind exposed trachy in the front of someone's lawn down the road from me which looks flawless (CRAZY SURPRISE). As well as I was visiting my uncle and saw 3 large 15 plus foot trachies with no visible winter damage (all very sheltered albeit)

    At a local business there are about 5 potted trachies that appear dead, however there is signs of some green near the inner crowns, it would be a miracle if they pulled through.
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Not too much of a surprise, some Chusan Palms in Bulgaria have survived temperatures of -27°C without damage. I'd guess you didn't get that cold?
     
  6. Tbolivar

    Tbolivar Member

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    Hi Honolua

    I agree with approximately 90% of the nurseries and owners of Trachy's around Langley, except for two or three, all lost their plants. I lost both my 4-foot (Trachy) Windmill palms as well, These two where in 50-gallon ceramic pots and where sheltered from the snow and wind, but I can only guess they where taken by the blistering cold windchill. I even has them wrapped on the coldest nights. Ironic as it this is the only year I hadn't brought them into th garage during the coldest weather, (serves me right I guess).
    But, needless to say it was definitely the nastiest, (seemed like overnight it was -10c), coldest and quickest approaching winter I've seen here in a long, long time. I hope it's not repeated for many years. As a matter of fact I just came to the conclusion last evening that the second of my palms has not survived. By the look of the spikes on this one and the other they are both gone/dead in the core.
    Unfortunately the first one seems like it was hit the hardest. Even as early as early March it had already gone, and unfortunately I was too late for the second as it had been green right up till the end of March, but the spike and core must have froze.
    I have gotten two more little guys from Gibbs Nursery, and planted them in 5-gallon pots, and will place them in the ground for summer, but I'm removing them for this winter and about 5-7 years after that.
    Breaks my heart to see two lovely palms like these go so quickly from that cold weather and quick thaw. So much for our Zone 7B-8A. I also lost all my Dracnea palms from the cold blistering windchill. Even some of my Bonsai are showing sign of damage.
     
  7. Tbolivar

    Tbolivar Member

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    Location:
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    Hello

    To add to my previous post, I had a reading of close to -27C on my back deck with the wind blowing in early January. The digital meter showed -19 without the wind at the coldest point. (The WC could even have been colder than my observation)
    There's a stat for you on temperature I thought I wouldn't see in Langley City. (49*-05'-30N) x (122"-39'-18W).
    I have heard from a few friends that live on the Sumas Prairie it was close to -35C WC.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    What matters is the minimum temperature. It only takes a few hours below a plant's minimum temperature. Roots of plants in above ground containers are more vulnerable to cold than they would be in the ground.

    If you see a plant freeze in your garden, then it isn't in fact "fully hardy" there at all. If it was fully hardy, it wouldn't freeze. Otherwise the term becomes meaningless.

    A cold winter down here sees single digit (F) temperatures in most areas, such as occurred during 1990. Before that there was some highly punitive weather during the 1950s. The notorious 1955 freeze may have caused top dieback to some native conifers.
     
  9. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    I lost a Ceanothus victoria, 2 small daphnes, most of my Euphorbias (though some are starting to grow again), one hebe and, maybe, a Viburnum tinus and the New Zealand flax in the pot (even though it was protected) Another hebe was badly damaged by the weight of the snow on one side as was a really nice hellebore and the New Zealand flax in the ground, while a bit flattened, come through otherwise unscathed. Here in Vancouver (Kerrisdale) we got down to -11 (Celcius) overnight at least one night and possibly two. This is the coldest overnight low that I can recall since moving to this house in 1982...previous low was -9 (last year) and all the stuff listed above survived that. I was heavily into zonal denial but will be replanting with hardier plants.
     
  10. Tbolivar

    Tbolivar Member

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    Hi everyone

    I have attached a picture of my Trachy's. I planted them in the ground hoping for signs, and hoping to give them a chance. Well last evening I checked the spikes, the one on the right pulled out. The one on the left is still intact. It hurts me to see them in this state.

    Thanks
     

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  11. rpaterso

    rpaterso Member

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    In our south Oak Bay garden, it looks like we lost our hebe. The 'hardy' fuschias aren't looking too well, either. The well-established palm in the neighbour's back yard looks to be deceased.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  12. Tbolivar

    Tbolivar Member

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    Hi rpaterso

    Believe it or not alot of plants, domestic and imported tropicals suffered this past winter. Some of my Japanese Larch Bonsai lost their top and side branches due to the extremely cold wind.

    The plants where frozen solid for a good 3-4 weeks during Late November-December. I even moved them under cover, but the cold was so severe they still remained frozen.

    I'm waiting to see if all my maples, pine and other bonsai have survived.
     
  13. Deneb1978

    Deneb1978 Active Member 10 Years

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    On a positive note... I think most of trachys at English Bay came through... but they do look a bit tattered from what I can tell. Butias there have been removed though... I suspect they died quite a long time ago.
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Ranks of feather palms planted in publicly visible places down here have been thinning rapidly. Results of Zonal Denial in action.
     
  15. vickieg

    vickieg Active Member

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    I lost a Butia Capitata but my windmill is doing fine. My rosemary died too. The phormium looks dead but a lady at the nursery told me to wait till June or July to replace it because it might just come back. I have a small Dicksonia antartica (?) that survived because I turned a large garbage can over it and hung a 60 watt bulb in there to keep it warm. I just wished I had done that to my pindo. The pindo was in a pot and I would have brought it inside if I'd known it was in danger. I'll do better next time. Christmas lights sound great - I assume you mean the larger ones - I can't imagine the little ones or the LED ones would keep anything warm.
     
  16. honolua

    honolua Active Member

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    wow...though I feel all your pain, I feel a bit comforted by all of you as I now know I m not the only one who lost treasured plants/trees! Let's hope that was indeed a 1 in 50 years winter they said it was! As for my tree fern, it seemed to survive in that when uncovered, it was nice an brown with some minor green still left on some of the fronds; I chopped the dead ones off though, and now it is fertilized, watered and I am patiently waiting for the first croizer....still not one yet....how long should I wait until I get worried? How quickly did yours sprout?
    thanks
     
  17. vickieg

    vickieg Active Member

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    I did not trim off the fronds of my fern tree last fall - I usually wait till this time of year. You can see some of last years fronds survived and are nice and green. Also you can see the new fronds coming. I just took this pictures today
     

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  18. honolua

    honolua Active Member

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    Hi,
    Yours looks great. I chopped off the fronds when I uncovered it, and only removed the parts that looked dead and brown, leaving the green that was there. I did this about 3 weeks ago and now I am worried that no astounding growth has taken place. I am hoping with some warmer weather, that I will one day soon wake up to see a lovely curl of growth!
    thanks
     

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