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How did everyone in Florida make out with this cold wave?

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by RonDEZone7a, Jan 13, 2010.

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  1. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Sounds like a real cold wave just hit Florida. I'm curious to know how far south the frosts went and if anyone was spared.

    I've read a little about how people were protecting their croton plants in some of the posts here. I'm active on some of the other gardening boards and there's been some discussion about a new product called Freeze-Pruf that you can spray on your plants to protect them from several degrees of cold. I was wondering if anyone was aware of this product and were trying it. If it really works, it seems like it might be an easy protection method for situations where you need just a few degrees of protection - like protection against frost where the low temp is 28'F to 30'F. Here is the link:

    http://www.liquidfence.com/FreezePruf.html

    I am trying Freeze-Pruf on some of my more cold sensitive plants, that might rather be growing in a half-zone warmer (in my case Zone 7b) than my climate. Believe it or not, I have 2 species of palm in my Zone 7a Delaware backyard: Rhapidophyllum hystrix (Needle Palm) and Sabal minor (Dwarf Palmetto), as well as some hardier Gardenias. I have had most of these growing in my garden for several years and all will make it here though their foliage can be damaged by spring if completely unprotected. All have received Freeze-Pruf this winter because I didn't get any protection on them earlier - and some are getting too big to cover easily. So far so good, but of course winter isn't over yet up here!

    Rhapidophyllum hystrix (Needle Palm) in my backyard - supposedly the hardiest palm, native from central Florida north to South Carolina and Mississippi:
    [​IMG]

    Sabal minor (Dwarf Palmetto) - grows very slow up here! Native from Florida up to North Carolina:
    [​IMG]

    One of my Aucuba japonicas - a cold hardy croton look-alike! Usually gets through my Zone 7 winters without a scratch. The leaves get shrivelly whenever it is below freezing - so you can tell how to dress in winter by looking at your Aucuba!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,585
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Ron-
    See my post and pics under Cold Protection. I got careless and did not bother to protect against frost for these crotons; all else under any canopy survived undamaged despite some earlier temps down to 31F briefly. Other exposed crotons in my neighborhood that made it through most of the cold wx got totally fried in the frost. But then we only had a few hours of freezing or under here in south St. Pete. I expect one of two of my Queen Victorias and Interuptums to defoliate later in the season even though they look good now. One or two degrees can make a huge difference
     
  3. keith

    keith Active Member

    Messages:
    145
    with a week of cold and frost here in Bradenton, my plants under frost cloth did ok.
    I did not have enough to cover everything, so with the hard freeze sunday night thru
    monday morning, I have over 100 plants that are now mush. even plants that are
    under oaks that never get hurt, are now mush. did someone say global warming, or
    ice age?
     
  4. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,816
    "Disaster Zone" is the name for my garden.
     

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  5. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,845
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Ouch !!!
     
  6. Sihara

    Sihara Active Member

    Messages:
    69
    I wish I could take photos, but am in a cast, so I can't.

    It wouldn't be a pretty picture. Most stuff is fried. And the damage is all due to the ^$%^#! frost.

    The painful part was - until Monday night/Tues AM, everything looked mostly all right. Our worst low was about 30F. There were some spots on our small red latan, some spotting on the spindle, the recently-transplanted crotons looked unhappy but alive and the other crotons looked good.

    Then came the frost.

    The red latan appears dead. The spindle is very badly damaged, maybe gone (it's about 10' - has been there about 9 years), many in-ground crotons melted - a few will survive. I think my jatropha may die.

    I even lost bougainvilleas and a turk's cap hib.
     
  7. palmnerd

    palmnerd Well-Known Member

    "I am trying Freeze-Pruf on some of my more cold sensitive plants, that might rather be growing in a half-zone warmer (in my case Zone 7b) than my climate. Believe it or not, I have 2 species of palm in my Zone 7a Delaware backyard: Rhapidophyllum hystrix (Needle Palm) and Sabal minor (Dwarf Palmetto), as well as some hardier Gardenias"
    -Ron in DE and others, I am in the process of trying the freeze pruf on a group of palm seedlings. My results are not conclusive as of yet but I must give an early indication that that product has damaged the leaves of some of the plants being tested, whereas the control group did not show damage. Just a precaution. This freeze pruf might be fine for some plants but not all palms. I will be posting an article on Palmpedia soon. This is a good winter to test such a product to be sure.
     
  8. zone11dreamer

    zone11dreamer Active Member

    Messages:
    49
    From Monday the 4 th to Monday the 11th we had 4 days of temps at 32 ° or lower. We in North palm beach zone 10a ( maybe 9b ? ) .
    Saturday it got up to 42° and raining. The low that night was 30° and quite frankly I freaked out. Last year we had 2 days of frost , 2 weeks apart
    and we thought THAT was weird.


    This is our second year of putting out hay for protection.

    Luckily the wind picked up and dried out all the hay from Saturday icy drizzle.. Overall , we are very happy how things turned out. The crotons , bromeliads, aroids , and other shade plants ( under the oaks and hayed ) did well.

    The sun loving stuff got cold fried , but that stuff usually grows fast. We put hay around everything and the back yard
    looks a bit messy with piles of it all over the place. But who cares !

    So the fast growing / common stuff we covered the base of the plant and the slow growing plants got totally covered with the hay.

    I am interested in the freeze pruf. That would be great if it works . I also plan on planting more oak trees.
     
  9. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    Planting more oak trees...I second that emotion.
     
  10. Sihara

    Sihara Active Member

    Messages:
    69
    If you live in any hurricane-prone area, please don't plant laurel or water oaks. They aren't wind-resistant, and cause a lot of property damage in storms.

    If I could find room to plant more trees, I'd try to find Krugiodendron (sp?) Ferreum - FL's native ironwood, good for zone9 and up. Supposedly highly wind-resistant and only grows to about 20 feet - much less likely to fall on your house, just my op.

    There's also a "sand live oak" which is half the height of a live oak, and wind-resistant. I think they're hard to find though.
     
  11. zone11dreamer

    zone11dreamer Active Member

    Messages:
    49
    I have 5 live oaks........ and I am ready for the 6th :) they are wonderfull :) We took at least 80 pine trees out after the storms of 04/05. They got the pine bugs. MORE SHADE MORE CROTONS !
     
  12. Sihara

    Sihara Active Member

    Messages:
    69
    Live oaks are much safer in storms - esp. if you have several. Live oaks are beautiful, and many have been around for a lonnnng time. There was one on my parents' street back in the 80's, reputed to be well over 100 years old (dunno if true, that's what I was told) - if so, it was there during the Civil War. It was draped in Spanish moss, as it probably was back then.

    Live oaks are great for crotons! They let in the filtered light that crotons love, and the fallen leaves nourish the soil :)

    It's good you were able to get rid of the pines - they are awful in storms. Unfortunately - VOE.
     
  13. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,816
    Most Crotons did well :) Except for the ones that my neighbors sprinkler waters every morning :mad: I covered all with a tent of frost cloth.
     

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  14. TikiRick

    TikiRick Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    455
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL Zone 10b
    :eek:

    Well here on the East Side of Ft. Lauderdale, my garden also saw a record low of the past 10 years that I have been here. I reached 34F and the wicked NW winds made things much worse. No frost to my knowledge, but some tropical palms are now history (I already dug them up) and many crotons have partially defoliated.

    My past record low was 38F and I saw relatively little croton leaf drop.

    So, my conclusion is that somewhere between 38 and 34 is the marked limit for many crotons. Of course, it takes up to three weeks for cold damage to begin to appear.

    What I have noticed is that the more narrow the leaf, the more drop. Curly leaves also take a cold hit. Broad wide leaves like Jungle Queen and Irene Kingsley drop only minor older leaves. Curly Boy, Neon, Picasso's Paint Brush, Readii, Nestor are all dropping like Prince's "Purple Rain!"

    However, I am confident, that without another cold blast like that past one, all will survive here. I know I am fortunate....being surrounded by water in the front and the back helped me with abouts 3 degrees.
     
  15. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Hardiness of narrow versus wide leaved varieties?

    Rick,

    You mentioned that "the more narrow the leaf, the more drop". Do you think that narrow-leaved crotons are generally more delicate than the broad-leaved varieties?

    I am asking because they seem more delicate to me in other ways, like harder to root and less happy inside in the winter. I wouldn't say this of all narrow or twisted leaf varieties but some definitely seem more delicate and less happy with my cool less-than-perfect indoor conditions. My broadleaved Gloriosas and Andreanums, besides dropping a few leaves, do great inside by contrast. Just wondering if you or others have noticed this too?
     
  16. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    My favorite narrow leaf variety "rainbow starlight" roots poorly compared to other air-layered varieties. Strong grower, poor rooter. Same with "majesticum".
     
  17. TikiRick

    TikiRick Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    455
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL Zone 10b
    I think that the narrow leaf varieties are more sensitive. This is just my observation. Red and yellow excurans have dropped about 80% whereas Jungle Queen, Comotion, Irene Kingsley, and Lord Belhaven dropped only the bottom 3-4 leaves.

    Could this be due to the fact that the smaller the leaf, the less water that it can take up? Less sunlight? Weaker plant? Not sure, but in my garden, it is a distinct difference.
     
  18. Sihara

    Sihara Active Member

    Messages:
    69
    I'm glad to hear they'll make a comeback - I remember how beautiful your place is and hope that you got thru this horrid winter all right.

    I think another type of croton that's extra sensitive to cold is the thin-leaved varieties, like Gold Dust. (I mean leaves that feel less thick to the touch, not narrow-leaved.) Last winter, my Gold Dusts that didn't have canopy dropped all their leaves, while nearby Mammies didn't. And when they came back in spring, the GDs hardly had any yellow in them.

    Re: the narrow-leaved...
    Could be a sunlight issue - wouldn't the narrow-leaved varieties have less photosynthesis, and therefore simply be less vigorous?
     
  19. TikiRick

    TikiRick Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    455
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL Zone 10b
    I would have to agree. However, on this Sunday, a three week difference from the coldest night here, I am witnessing some croton buds already on existing stems.
     
  20. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,419
    Location:
    Western Boca Raton
    Rick - No rhyme or reason to the leaf drop here. Crotons growing in the small, protected courtyard outside my window have just as much leaf drop as the ones growing on the north side of the garden. Big leaf plants dropped huge piles, thin ones - Interuptum, for example - either dropped everything or were completely unaffected. I've cut all the lower ones back by 50%; I filled four 25-gallon containers with cuttings and put them out with the trash. Yeah, it will all come back, but it really looks depressing right now. I'm glad we're going on vacation in a few weeks so I won't have to see it for a while.
     
  21. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    I am very skeptical of Freeze Pruf. After seeing you photos in other threads, it will be interesting to see if the products claims are justified. I know it is not a cheap product. :rolleyes:
     

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