St. Augustine coconut palm: dead

walkingthefrog(Texas - 9b)August 10, 2010

I am in St. Augustine today and walked down to the ultra-hardy coconut palm at San Marcos Ave and Mulberry St, viewed this:

The palm is reduced to nothing but a stump:

Are there anymore coconut palms growing this far north? I walked around the neighborhood where the coconut palm was and saw a few royal palms...they looked pretty scraggly but they were still living.

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tropicalzone7(7b)

Oh, thats very sad. I wish they would have at least planted new coconut palms since they are pretty cheap and it did so well there (decently well anyway) for so long. And Are the sagos still there because I dont see them either.
They are definitely missing something there withotu the coconut and I think a new coconut palm would fix that problem!!
Thanks for updating us even if it wasnt a very happy one :(
-Alex

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 7:33PM
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walkingthefrog(Texas - 9b)

I was pretty excited to see it and was very disappointed by its death...I wasn't looking for sagos but I didn't happen to see any that were near the dead stump...so perhaps they cut those out as well.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 7:47PM
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andyandy(6bMI)

I'm sorry to see that, it was just a mater of time. Last winter had to have done it it. Last winter did in coconuts all the way down to the Miami area.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 9:53PM
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islandbreeze

Rest in peace Cocos Nucifera. Maybe a majesty would deliver the same effect but be slightly hardier?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 10:45PM
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walkingthefrog(Texas - 9b)

Majesty palms are a definite hit or miss though...some grow great, some are complete finicky divas that are more trouble than they're worth. At least they're dirt cheap.

The majesty palm is more hardy and seems to take wet winters better than a coconut. I have one growing in Texas in ground since 2005...but it looks rather haggard six months out of the year and still shows frost damage from January. Having a coconut is special and I think they should definitely try again.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:00PM
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tropicalzone7(7b)

Majesty palms arent too bad to grow and should definitely survive a freeze. Mine went through temperatures in the low 30s to upper 20s one night and even got a rain/snow and still survived. Then after I didnt water it all winter indoors, it sort of died back and is now making tiny new fronds that are slowly getting normal again. But I also dont think they should settle for majesty palms since coconut palms that far north really are very special. At the least, they should plant some nice royals but I would rather a few coconut palms. I could even picture a travelers palm right by the house and even though its not a true palm, at least its not AS common that far north, but I dont think it grows with that much difficulty (although I have never seen one north of central Florida).
-Alex

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 9:59AM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Thanks for following-up and keeping us updated here.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 10:18AM
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NoVaPlantGuy_Z7b_8a(Alexandria, VA 7B/8A)

Oh man! Even all the big Sago palms are gone! WOW!

I think they should try an xbutyagrus (Mule Palm). Some of those are almost dead ringers for Coconuts, and MUCH MUCH more cold hardy. Common they are, but a great choice for a climate where a coco might be killed every 15 years or so.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 9:00PM
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zeeth

After the lingering effects of the winter where I am, I didn't expect that palm to make it.

As to the comments to plant a majesty palm, the answer is no. Majesties don't do well in Florida, the need much more water and much richer soil than they are given (even queens get nutrient deficiencies in our sandy soil, and Majesties need MUCH more fert than queens do). I've only ever seen a couple good majesties in Fl, and they were given super rich soil, lots of fert, and water 24/7, something which I doubt would be given to a palm in that spot. Every other one I've seen here grows to a point and then the trunk gets really thin to the point where it just falls over. I'd say if they were to replant something close to a coconut, a Beccariophoenix alfredii would be the plant for the spot, but they aren't readily available. Maybe someone on the east coast can donate one

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 9:58AM
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tropicalzone7(7b)

The only problem with Beccariophoenix alfredii is that it isnt that much more tolerant of extreme cold (I hear only to 25F) but its more tolerant of not warming up which is why its a great choice for California, but Im not sure if its good for northern Florida. I havent really done too much looking up on this palm so I could definitely be wrong. I wonder how fast they grow also? Anyone know the growth rate of Beccariophoenix alfredii. I really doubt they will plant anything past the common palms but it would be nice to at least experiment with Beccariophoenix alfredii.
Good luck!
-Alex

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 2:46PM
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zeeth

Alex, 25F is just the estimation at the lower range of 9b, which they are known to survive in without damage. I've heard of specimens going down to 19F with no damage this past winter. They are hardier than Majesties and MUCH hardier than coconuts. The growth rate I have gotten on my 30-40 is pretty good. I've heard accounts placing them as the fastest of the Beccariophoenix, but with some reports that they are just a little slower than Beccariophoenix sp. windows (I'm getting seeds of the latter to compare mine with, so I'll know soon). The rate is pretty variable however. I sprouted about 40 seeds this winter, and I have one specimen putting out it's 6th leaf, and one putting out it's second.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:18AM
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tropicalzone7(7b)

19F is really impressive cold tolerance! I would consider trying it by me if it could survive those temps since its so tropical looking! But unfortunately its an expensive and hard to find palm. Hopefully they prove to be good growers as adults.
Good luck and thanks for the info!
-Alex

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 1:46PM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Good points. It also depends how long the cold temps stay down and was the next day 20*F warmer.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 4:47PM
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