January 2014 update after the cold!

tropicalzone7(7b)January 12, 2014

Here are some pics of how things faired in my yard after a low of 4F 2 fridays a go and a low of 3F last Tuesday. It was the coldest temps in my yard in 10 years and unfortunately a bit colder than other parts of NYC. The good news is the damage isn't too bad, but there are a few disappointments.

Here are the stuff that had no protection...
This trachy has never been protected and is in a part of the yard where nothing grows well for some reason. It is definitely not happy. I'd be surprised if it survives, but even if it does surprise it will never look nice.

My Southern magnolia had no problems in the cold thankfully. I was a bit worried since it was planted pretty late and this is it's first witner.

Saw Palmetto with no protection.

Things aren't always as they appear. Those pics were taken yesterday, here's my saw palmetto as of today. It's definitely dead which I expected.

Color Guard Yucca laughing at it's first winter.

Frostproof gardenia was piled with a lot of snow on it which hopefully helped. Other than that it had no protection.

Cast iron plants showing damage for the first time ever, but I'm staying optimistic that they will survive.

All the camellias look good. My biggest concern was my Kramer's Supreme camellia since those tend to be less cold hardy, but it looks good so far.

Unfortunately on the coldest night of the year (3F), I accidentally forgot to put the christmas lights on ALL of the plants in my front yard so they were basically on their own with only plastic garbage bins and/or frostcloths over it. Here's how they turned out.

My Sabal Minor (from Lowes and in the ground since 2009) used to get some damage from temperatures in the 20s. Looks like it survived 3F without a scratch on it. I'm really happy with it so far.

My Mediterrean fan palm has been in the ground since 2010 and it never had damage before with protection. Since the lights didn't turn on, it was on it's own and it suffered pretty badly. I'm staying optimistic that it will live, but it's anyone's guess.

My Oleander did not have the big lights turn on, but I did have the little christmas lights on under it's frost cloth. They don't provide a lot of heat, but the Oleander is still looking good so far so I am cautiously optimistic. I'm hoping that worst case senario, it drops some leaves and has a little die back but I would be really upset to lose one of my favorite plants.

Here's a close up of the leaves. They still look okay.

My Calypso Oleander had the same protection and the same problem with the small lights turning on but the big ones staying off. It definitely suffered damage but I wouldn't mind a little die back from this one since it was a bit leggy anyways.

The lights didn't turn on for this frostproof gardenia, but it looks great so far. This one gets a lot more sun than my other gardenia so it's always looking a little better.

Here are all of the things that were properly protected during the cold spell.

My Kleims hardy Gardenia and fig tree got a tarp over them and C7 lights.

It got down to the low teens inside the tarp with that protection method, but it seems to have no problem with those temperatures.

The only problem was some of the leaves near the lights got burnt but that's not too big of a deal.

Here's my trachy. My main worry with this one was it getting overheated since no matter what material I used to protect it, it would always overheat. I had a beige covered tarp over the plastic garbage bin to keep it from overheating but on days with highs above 30F with sun, it still managed to get very hot. So far it looks great though and it has even grown a bit the past 2 weeks.

Here's how it looked during the rain we had yesterday (I didn't want the center to get wet so soon after the cold we had just in case).

My Livistona got all of it's damage before I put the protection on it this fall. It had no problems with the cold this past week with some C7 lights and a plastic garbage bin over it. Last year the entire palm defoliated so if it doesn't get any more damage this winter, it will be really well off in the spring.

I had a fan and heater in the garage to make sure that it stayed above freezing in there during the cold spell last week. The plants all still look good and are out right now getting some air.

And here's a pic of some indoor blooms. The ti plants always go crazy with blooms this time of the year, no matter where in the house they are or what type it is, they all go in bloom at the same time. It's pretty interesting.

Here are some pics from summer to keep me going till spring haha.

Thanks for looking! Hopefully summer will be here before we all know it and hopefully winter won't be too harsh from this point on although we do still have a solid month of deep winter left.

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Looking good Tropicalzone7! Still looks like a tropical paradise. Shame the lights didn't turn on. Hope the palms make it through. Here in Maryland, we got to 1 degree F. My windmill got fried since it was only wrapped with burlap.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 11:29PM
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Thanks a lot! I was really upset that the lights didn't go on after spending all the time making sure that everything was protected well. I probably wouldnt have had any problems with my plants if the lights turned on, but I guess everything happens for a reason and maybe I'll find an amazing plant at a nursery this summer and have a perfect spot for it now haha. You never know.

Sorry to hear about your trachy. I really hope it recovers for you.

Thanks for looking!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 1:54AM
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Incredible pics Alex! I personally think that a mature Trachy-say, over 8ft tall, would do well in the Bronx and require no protection. If you are interested, and have the means to pick it up from my installer in Westbury, I would gladly order what you want and sell it to you at cost. Least I can do for an enthusiast like you.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 8:55AM
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Thanks Kokomo! I would like to get a larger Trachy and was thinking about finding a nice larger palm for the yard. Not sure how much I would be able to spend this season since I'm working on getting a lot of other things done in the yard as I slowly start to renovate it. What's usually the price range for an 8 foot trachy?
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 4:20PM
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A lot of stuff is still looking good. And some will pull through. So we will have a large group of us with bald palms come spring time. Hope your saw palmeto pulls through hate to see you have to remodel everything. I have already lost 4 palms before the storm ever hit. Luckily the storm just damaged fronds to my windmills and sabal palmetto. However, I have not opened the palm hut and looked inside to check on the chammy at all. For all I know it could be fried.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 7:59PM
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Alex, message me through GardenWeb, Tell me what you like and want and I will get you prices. If you like it, then I can tack it onto my orders and have it shipped up here.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Sorry to hear about your 4 other palms Chadec. I can definitely relate to having some fried up palms as you can see haha. There will definitely be more bald palms than usual this spring, but hopefully they'll be willing to start growing back and they will look nice again after a season or 2 of growth. I hope your Chammy is nice and green when you open it up!

I'll send you an email Kokomo!


    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:35PM
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Gorgeous garden! I hope spring brings life and spirit to your plants so they return to their true beauty.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 3:32PM
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After several mild days, I can see that my Trachys are fine. (Will post a pic soon if it ever stops raining.) Rosemary survived but will have to prune out dead stems. (Not the worst outcome, as Rosemary has a tendency to sprawl and get bigger than one might think.) a even the Spanish Moss looks got go go (protected by a Hemlock grove).

Alex, you might have planted your Magnolia close to your house for added protection, but this is really not necessary in zone 7. You will eventually have a very large tree very close to your house. I did this years ago in a previous home, and the very first thing the new owners did was cut down my tree. Now, I plant them far away from the house. If you were to have a change of heart, it could still be moved (have done it most successfully on small trees, but then later they don't transplant well). Thanks for posting the pics!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:53PM
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Thanks a lot PanamaJack! Hopefully spring will bring lots of things back to life. I'm seeing a bit more damage on the frostproof gardenia today so I think I'll at least be seeing leaf drop on it. I cannot wait until warmer days. 45 more days until Meteorological spring and by then all the plants I have outside are usually in the clear from damaging cold!

Glad to hear everything is looking good for you NJ! The little spanish moss that I have outside is looking okay for me too. The duration of cold hasn't been as bad this year as it could have been so maybe it will surprise me and survive until spring! That would be very cool considering how cold our minimal temperatures were this year.
As far as the southern magnolia, I know it's definitely a tight squeeze there. I wish I had a better place to put it, but that's probably the most spacious part of my entire property. I wish I had more land so I could have the southern magnolia grow to it's fullest potential. The house you see in the pic is actually my nieghbors. It's about 10 feet away from their house from the outermost branches which I know is not going to be enough in the future. I'm hoping to keep it pruned to be as pyramidal as possible. The roots are a bit confined because it's in a raised bed so that could help slow down it's growth for a while. I'm hoping to get 5 years out of it before having to prune it a bit and hopefully it won't be a problem for at least 10 years (and hopefully I'll be living someplace warm 10 years from now!)

Thanks for looking everyone!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:32PM
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Everything looks good! Watch out for that oleander. lol. Wouldn't surprise me if it grows like crazy by summer time. They are pretty tough and VERY hard to kill.

- US_Marine

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:51PM
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Thanks Us Marine! The one thing I really love most about oleanders are they are very tough to kill. I'd imagine that being a negative characteristic in a climate where they grow very well, but over here any subtropical that's hard to kill is a good one for me haha.
Mine has made 1000s of seeds so I have to wonder if someone somewhere has some oleander volunteers in their yard. Those seeds get pretty good airtime, I'm sure they can travel a bit!

Thanks for looking!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 3:05AM
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Alex, don't know if you are big on xerophytic plants, but there is a tricolor Y. Gloriosa variety that is just gorgeous. It looks like an Agave as the leaves are rigid. Excellent cold hardiness but it will take some space eventually.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 12:15PM
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Thanks for the suggestion NJ! There's a really nice planting of tricolor Y. Gloriosa a few homes down from mine and I really like it but I can't find them for sale locally anywhere. They seem to be very cold hardy here and definitely can pass as an agave. I would get one if I saw them locally at a decent price or online at a decent size.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 10:47AM
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They were being sold at big box stores here last Spring and Summer. Got 2 at L's for a good price.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 12:15PM
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Thanks for the heads up NJ! I will be in and out of Lowes this spring to look at them. I'll probably end up checking the Lowes in New Jersey since the one by me isn't usually too good (and the people are nasty every single time!).

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 6:03PM
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