the mother of all zone 7 sabals'the chosen one'

ncpalmzone7November 14, 2010

i found this pix while googlin about protection for sabals.And to my surprise this sabal is located in Conover,NC a town that sits at the base of the appalachian mountains,where i imagine it gets quite colder.Your thoughts please.

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I was looking at there climate, and it doesnt look too terrible (much better than my zone 7!). January is the coldest month and the average day is practically 50F (okay so maybe its really 49F). The low temperature is a little on the chilly side (29F), but still pretty decent. On I did a climate comparison between them and Virginia Beach and there climates were very similar. Conover, NC is one degree warmer than Virginia Beach (during the day) and 3 degrees cooler than Virginia Beach (at night). The record low is pretty bad at -8F, so they will be wiped out when a winter like that comes. Im sure that if there are zone 7 temperatures there, the duration is very short and the days warm up quite a bit. (Record high for January is 80F!!)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 11:07PM
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Nice micro-climate with the black top surrounding it!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 6:59PM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Good picture and post. What really differenates a strong micro-climate is the record low temps.

My guess is that these palms are relatively newly planted (few years tops) and are on the favorable "warm" side of the building. Couple that with a mild season for that area and that it is NC and not too bitter cold often and they made it - so far!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 4:23PM
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cfa_li(z7/8 Queens, NY)

If only the NYC area was slightly warmer in the winter lol. Still possible I guess.

January: 40/27 vs 49/29

It's probably the slight sun advantage Conover has being a couple of degrees further South.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 5:46PM
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The winter cold days in NYC is what really limits the palm selection. If the days were just 5 degrees warmer, there would definitely be palms planted a bit more often (at least the hardiest of them). Nights arent usually too terrible, but the days can be pretty cold, unlike in the inland parts of the southeast where days are pretty mild and nights arent much warmer (some areas cooler) than here. Sabals are especially picky when it comes to warm days. They can probably handle 10F when established it warms up to the 50s that same day. Conover NC actually has a lower record low temperature than JFK in NYC. Conover's record low is -8F and JFK airport's record low is -3F I think.
I think that this sabal thriving in a zone 7 is a good example of the limits of a USDA zone map. It may not be a long term survivor in Conover, but it definitely looks like its been there for at least a winter or 2 since the crown is full. Its possible that its been there for many more years than that. I looked at the street view for these palms and they are there and healthy (and about the same size as they are now). Im Not sure how old that makes them though.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 9:23PM
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Alex i know the street view on my street is about 5 years behind but i don't know how many years it is in nc

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 10:21PM
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Mine is also a few years old, but I figure that the street view there is a bit older since it is more rural. It says 2010 google on the bottom so I dont know if that means it was taken in 2010 or if it is just because its 2010 now.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 11:46PM
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NoVaPlantGuy_Z7b_8a(Alexandria, VA 7B/8A)

Great find! Looks like they are definitely on the south or southwest side of that building. That and being surrounded by blacktop probably really helps push their microclimate up to closer to a zone 8. In fact with their climate being so close to that of VA Beach, Im pretty sure that the climate there is much closer to a zone 8, than zone 7. I think the only thing that probably pushes them down to a zone 7 is the absolute lows they have had from time to time. Very similar to where I am. The average highs here in Dec, Jan and Feb are 47F, 42F and 46F respectively. though we usually get in the 50s most days in Dec, and have had plenty of days in Jan/ Feb in the 60s. I think last winter was one of the first in a long time that we didnt hit 60F in January and possibly February either. We average about 60 nights at or below 32F per year. The record low however is much lower, at -15F, although that was 111 years ago in 1899. The coldest Its been here in the last 15+ years has been about 9F, and that was winter of 07/08, and that was very brief, for less than a couple hours.

*sigh* I digress though, even being much closer to a zone 8 with the urban heat island, and being next to the tidal Potomac River here, I don't think its quite enough for Sabal Palmettos without ALOT of protection. Windmills however, usually do just dandy here with very little or no real protection.

It would be very interesting to find out if the owners do in fact protect them to some degree in the winter as well.

Definitely a neat find!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 8:44PM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Great converation piece. Averages in January: 40/27 vs 49/29 show a huge difference. NC has many more thawing warmer mid winter days that cold tolerant palms need and nights average higher temps too, not counting their microclimate on top of that.

The palm crowns appear full (good point Alex)which make me think they have survived at least a few years there. Lets also consider a factor rarely weighed in? Sun trajectory is much higher and when the sun comes out the surface temp in the sun on the palms fronds, surrounding blacktop heats surfaces more than northern locations where the sun is dimmer/weaker the further north you go. Cloud cover tends to persist more in the north in winter. My friend in Syracuse NY complains how cloudy it is during the winter.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 3:45PM
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cfa_li(z7/8 Queens, NY)

Is there a Sabal Minor/Palmetto hybrid? Hardiness of a Minor and the height of a Palmetto? (Although the Minor's stature probably contributes to it's hardiness). I'd love one of these.

I want a Washingtonia, if only I had the space. I love the way it looks and it's a fast grower. A Washingtonia-esque Trachy would even be nice (but slower), the trunk just looks a little funny sometimes.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 4:42PM
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I think some people consider Sabal Birmingham a cross between Sabal minor and Sabal Palmetto. Its about as cold hardy as a minor, but does get a trunk like a palmetto. Only problem is that the crown is much wider than a palmettos, and its also slower growing. Still a great palm though!


    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 8:09PM
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