Beccariophoenix alfredii hardiness

Discussion in 'PALM TREES - WHERE TROPICAL STARTS' started by zeeth, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. zeeth

    zeeth Active Member

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    151
    What zone would B. alfredii be rated as? I've seen some data on maximum lows, but that doesn't really translate to me as any particular zone. Any official data yet?
     
  2. palmnerd

    palmnerd Well-Known Member

    My first thought would be that there has not been enough time to try this species. It has only just recently made it to climates that will test it's limits. It may just be too early for anyone to declare alfredii's tolerance. We've recently planted out a bunch of them for the sole purpose of trying to insure them for our little part of the world. It may take a few winters to get a solid feel for the tolerance of this palm. We also have to consider other factors in various climates affecting the health of this species.
    I know Jeff Searle mentioned having a rather large individual at his nursery in western Broward County. Even though Jeff is in zone 10, I've heard them mention getting cold weather where they are during past winters. I plan to report what I find with this species over the next few years as I'm sure others will as well.
     
  3. zeeth

    zeeth Active Member

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    151
    I've got one and am really excited to see it grow to maturity (I'm in zone 10a), but I was wondering because I like to tell people to get them to make more of a market for this great palm as a hardy coconut, but I don't want to tell people to buy one as a cold hardy coconut and then they have it die because their winters are too cold. Maybe we need to get as many people to buy them as possible and see where they survive. If they're as hardy as a queen palm, that would be great because many people buy queens because of their "coconut looks" (I, for one don't think they look anything like a coconut, but I often mistake beccariophoenix's as coconuts) so to at least replace the queen palm market would be great. Any others have some info on a approximate zone hardiness?
     
  4. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

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    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Here's a general repeat of what I said in your other thread. HERE

    Anyone who tells you anything about cold hardiness is just making educated guesses. Although they are not purely guesses, they are far from definitive.

    My educated guess would be as follows. It is so similar to B. 'no windows' as to be almost indistinguishable. And most growers seem to think (again guessing, or wishful thinking) that it should be more hardy than the B. 'no windows.'

    So if this is the case, I can assure you of the following. B. 'no windows' grows well (although slowly) on the coast in SoCal. You can check the zone map for this area for more detail. But occasional 30 degree nights, and mild summer highs - not a lot of heat units, with very rare mild freezes.

    I know of one B. 'no windows' there that is over 10 years in the ground, and I assume is still doing well.
     
  5. zeeth

    zeeth Active Member

    Messages:
    151
    Okay, sounds good. I'm hoping they prove hardy enough to be put in places like north florida, costal mississippi and costal louisiana. If they do that'd be awesome, but if not they're still great because they grow in places like central fl and so cal where coconuts just dont grow
     
  6. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

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    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    As terrible as the major "freeze events" are when they occur, they are really the only way we can ever really get the info we want. Unless we do what some guys were doing in Australia, and placing palms in freezers. :)

    That may be interesting, but there is no substitute for palms in the ground with an established root system. When in pots, IMO it is too easy for the roots to become frozen, or exposed to fatal low temps.
     
  7. leomartin6

    leomartin6 Guest

    I planted out three more of these. All about 1 year old, 6 - 10" tall strap leafers. All completely exposed other than some mulch around the crown as Michael mentioned above. Numerous nights at freezing, one night with many hours at 32F dropping to 31 in the morning. Leafs were completely covered in frost. Appeared to be frozen. showing some slight spotting and discoloration. These temps were taken at the top of my property and these plants are down the hill a bit, so I suspect they experienced a few degrees colder, maybe 27-29F.

    The other individual that I have had in the ground for a year now was untouched.

    If these survive this winter, I am going to plant a bunch more. It definitely seems to be able to take some cold.
     
  8. bepah

    bepah Active Member

    Messages:
    817
    Location:
    Brentwood CA 9b
    Leo,

    There are a number of us around the country that are experimenting with this palm. My suggestion is if you plan to plant more of them, I would give them as much growing time as possible, rather than waiting to see how well your current palms held up over this winter.

    Your area is much differnt than mine but I would counsel that while they may have held up over a 31 degree night, it may have been different if there was any wind over that period, or if there is cold dry wind. Even if they held up over the winter, we do not really know how they will hold up over the summer.

    These are juvenile palms as I understand. Things change as they mature and we may not know how they will do over the longer period. This is the nature of experimentation.

    Here is what I can draw from mine this winter. While they all survived, they spent the majority of their energy growing roots, at least those in the pots. Those that were planted in the ground do not look as good; we think it may be the soil which probably should be a bit more acid than I have here.

    I have seen major expenditures for palms that made it one year and then failed spectacularly the next, losing that large investment but adding to the knowledge base.

    I am proceeding carefully this year, planting a few more in the ground and repotting the others. Since I have no plans to buy anymore (I bought quite a few 4 leafers last year) I spent less money than what they may demand now, as their potential is becoming more well known.

    Good luck on these. There are several threads on PalmTalk.org about B. alfredii and you may be able to draw some conclusions from them. In my area, we only had a couple of nights below freezing, but a lot of days where the temps barely or didn't reach 40.

    I am very encouraged by the performance to this point, but until I have one that produces a seed or two, I will not be convinced.

    Good luck again.
     
  9. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,643
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Still not 100% sure which becce is which but this one started out with window panes.
    But more importantly, it made it through this &^%$#@! winter with light frond toasting. The inflorescences are still there and two more have shown up with the warm weather. If you're after that 'coconut look' without the hassles of frozen coconuts (approx 50% mortality rate in greater St. Pete area), this may be the palm. A smaller specimen (7 ft oa height) in a protected location at Kopsick made it without missing a beat; looks as good as when planted if not better. A 30 yr old Bottle Palm 20 ft away is toast.
    Jeff Searle- how does your large one at the nursery look?

    First two pics are of emergent inflorescences; last two are of fronds with closeup of worst one.
     

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  10. bepah

    bepah Active Member

    Messages:
    817
    Location:
    Brentwood CA 9b
    I just found out that the 2 alfredii I gave to a nursery for experiment in Livermore sadly passed over the winter. The got a couple of days of 23F lows with snow! (2 inches).

    At least we now know that in pots, 23 is too low....
     
  11. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I have never put too much weight on temperature evaluation pertaining to palms in pots.

    I have never seen any data on the difference in root/soil temp between a palm in the ground and one in a pot. I always figured that all the soil in a 1-5 gal pot could easily freeze at 25 degrees, while the ground may only freeze down an inch or two.

    Not much research or even discussions have been had addressing root temps. And IMO, this could be a critical missing link, especially when it comes to plants in pots.
     
  12. bepah

    bepah Active Member

    Messages:
    817
    Location:
    Brentwood CA 9b
    I agree with you. There were probably other contributing factors, as well. Over the visits I made I noticed that they may have been too dry.

    The point of the experiment is to gather data, which I did. It got colder in Livermore than here. My plants in pot survived, those did not. We hade a colder winter than the lows indicated since the days in many cases never got over 40.

    There is too much to consider for such a small population of palms and the data will continue to come in over the years. That is why I, for one, am still on the fence as to the future of these palms as a commercial success here.

    For sure, winters will be hard on them at any size, as the leaf burn will be severe in any exposed site. every year setback is another year where advance is stymied.....

    Nonetheless, I am remain hopeful.
     
  13. BSMan

    BSMan Active Member

    Messages:
    100
    Here is a pic of Pete Balaskys in the ground about 3-4 miles from Jeffs place. Got the seed before it was named. ALSO- this at in the open thru at LEAST a couple 30F nights! Jeff? any thing to add? I would guess about 6 1/2 feet overall.
     

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  14. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Thanks for the pic Bill.

    I'm more curious as to what are the distinguishing features between the three "Beccariophoenix" past the juvenile stage. To me, this one looks to have thinner leaflets, and the fronds may be less upright and rigid than at least the "No Windows" form. Also I have heard that the trunk on the B. alfredii ends up thinner than the others. True or false?

    Is there anyone out there who thinks they could tell these three apart at this size?
     
  15. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,753
    Location:
    South Florida, USA
    Phil,

    First off, your pictures of the B. madagascariensis, with the windows.

    My large ones in the yard and nursery ( some are approx. 15', right up to 20' ) are came through with no damage what so ever. A couple morning lows of 30 and 31 degrees.

    I have B. alfredii at the house and nursery approx. 10' now and again, no damage what so ever. Their tough palms for climates in south Florida and up the coast on both sides a good ways up.
     
  16. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,643
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Here's a brief update of the Becce inflorescences. Six total have emerged and the oldest one just popped open today. See attached pics.

    Jeff - thanks for the update on yours.

    Anyone have any evidence, annecdotal or otherwise, on their resistance to lethal yellows or Texas palm decline?
     

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  17. bepah

    bepah Active Member

    Messages:
    817
    Location:
    Brentwood CA 9b
    Jeff,

    Your response has confused me. My understanding is as follows:

    B. alfredii - Straplike leaves with small windows as juvenniles, going to pinnate after 5 or 6 leaves (at least thats what mine look like)

    B. madagascariensis - juveniles go to pinnate leaves very early, no window, ever.

    B. 'Windowpane' - no official name yet, bu the whisper name is 'fenestrelis', I have heard. The classic windowpane palm. I have 3 that are failing. I need to move them to a place where they might recover, perhaps a greenhouse.

    Thanks,

    John
     
  18. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Jeff confuses me too. :)

    Jeff, are you saying you have a 10' B. alfredii??? Or is it only 10' "now and again?" :)
     
  19. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,753
    Location:
    South Florida, USA
    Sorry for all the confusion. I think I should of used a comma somewhere.

    But yes, my B. alfredii is close to 10' now. It was part of Pete's first seed that he brought back from one of his earlier trips. It was the first seed ever to come into the country.
     
  20. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Jeff,

    Two questions:

    1) What's the largest "no windows" you guys have in Florida?

    2) And if the "no windows" is a mature tree as well, can you tell the difference easily between the three types as adults?
     

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