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Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

Posted by mike_el_paso z8 El Paso (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 20, 06 at 14:15

Here are some pictures of the largest most mature palms in EP. These old-timers are found growing in the thermal belted side slopes of the Franklins which is solid 8b with small pockets around the southern end approaching border line 9a.

Many of the palms pictured pre date EPs all time record low of -8 set back in 1962. Most of the ones that made it through this bitter freeze were Washingtonia filifera, Phoenix canariensis, and Phoenix dactylifera, but hearing stories from some long time locals there are even a few W. robusta that made it through this freeze. Apparently all the tall robustas were wiped out, but some of the small ones, benefiting from being down near buildings close to concrete and asphalt survived.

Steve from Las Cruces, and I agree, that the reason mature P. canariensis was able to survive while mature W. robusta was wiped out is because of size. The thickness of P. canariensis allowed it to hold off the cold longer than the skinny robusta.

Notice the freeze scars on the old Phoenix palms. The Phoenix and W. filifera pictured are at least 50 years old or more.

These robustas were planted in the late 60s/early 70s, after the big freeze of 62

Old olive tree

Jubaea chilensis have no idea how old this wine palm is, but I do know they are very slow growers.

Nice size Brahea armata probably around 30-35 years old.

Orange trees probably not more that 10 or 15 years, but still very cool to have citrus growing in El Paso. (Note this area is at the southern base of the franklins just north of downtown which I think is right on the edge of 9a)

Bougainvillea is a die back perennially here, but after a few years they can obtain a nice root system and grow to a decent size over the summer.

Jubaea chilensis


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

Mike-

Awesome pics! I'm especially impressed with the photos of the olive trees. I haven't been down to EP in years, but I think I'm going to have to make a trip just to see all the great plants.

I was in Truth or Consequences last weekend and was amazed at how good the palms looked at this time of year. The W. robustas looked pretty burnt, but the W. filiferas looked very good. Even the two P. dactyiliferas I saw looked really good- very little freeze damage.

cd


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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

Hi Mike -

I saw your photos within hours of you posting them, but just now have a good chance to post a response...THANKS so much for all of these photos!! Between these and the saguaro photos, I cannot tell you how exciting they all were to see.

I really love El Paso...if job opportunities ever arise, I would heavily consider moving 260 miles south from ABQ to EP. The EP climate (and variety of plants and trees) certainly is not a deterrent!!

While cactus dude's amazement is over the olive tree photo, I think similarily my amazement is with the citrus (orange) tree photos. Wow. In my many short stays in El Paso over the past year, I have seen tons of palms and a few saguaros, but I had NO IDEA that citrus would even be feasible there, even if it is in the particularly warm area of town. Amazing, truly neat!

I am still boggled over what a difference essentially 1 zone, 1000 feet of elevation, and 260 miles can make (between ABQ and EP). It is really neat.

Mike, if you have ANY other palm, fruit, cacti photos from EP you'd like to share ever here, I would personally (and I know others would too) love to see them! Always get a big kick out of these!

Thanks again!


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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

Great shots, Mike in El Paso...

I especially am impressed with the Jubaea, the huge Brahea and the nice olive shots. The bougainvillea is mighty nice and I suspected that the roots were hardy there, with little protection.

The amazement that some hardier citrus grow there is shared by me: years back, Wynn Anderson showed me his 25 year-old tangerine (he is in the upper edges of Kern Place), and I guess it bears fruit yearly. I have also seen a lemon or two on the east side, up out of the cold air drainage.

I could live down there (or at least Las Cruces), too. Am thinking how to switch locations to being there more full time and here much less, but not sure my wife agrees with us doing that!!


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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

Thanks cactus dude,
Olives are fairly common here, and theyre actually hardier than most people think (although z8 is close to the edge of their limit). Sunland Park Mall on the cities Westside has many olive trees in the landscape, but they way over prune them with a flat top box look. This constant pruning retards their growth, and in my opinion they look much nicer when left to grow naturally.

I really like olive trees and if I had more room in my yard I would seriously consider growing one, but then again that extra yard could be used to grow a nice Eucalyptus microtheca (Oh the decisions we plant enthusiasts have to make LOL).

Thanks abqpalms,
I tell you, I have lived in EP for eighteen years and its just been within the last year that I found out about citrus growing here. A few months ago Steve in Las Cruces told me about a small orange tree growing near UTEP, and just last month I was driving down Montana when I saw the orange trees I have pictured. Its funny, I have driven down that street hundreds of times and never noticed them before.

I think the main reason I have never noticed the orange trees before is because they are just now getting big enough to notice. Orange trees are a new thing in El Paso. Prior to 1990 they never would have made it here. Since the early 90s the winters have been really mild, and even in this mild stretch I doubt there have been more that one or two years when its been warm enough to get edible fruit. But they are still nice as an ornamental. Hey, just to be able to smell orange blossoms in the spring make it worth growing one.

Darn, Eucalyptus, olive tree or an orange tree, Im sure glad I dont have any extra yard. I dont think I would ever be able to make a decision LOL.

Thanks quercus abq
The Jubaea and Brahea also amaze me, but my amazement for these two types of palms is for different reasons. Ironically I only know of two of each palm growing in the area. The one larger Jubaea is at the corner of Montwood and Yarbrough the other is on the Westside just off Stanton across from Mission Hills Park. What amazes me about them is that they could very well be some of the largest Jubaeas in the country outside of California (continental US that is I have seen pictures of some nice ones growing in the higher elevations of Hawaiis Big island). From talking with others at different sites on the web I have heard it is much to hot for them in Arizona and to humid in south Texas and Florida.

Of the two B. armatas I know of (well three counting my little one) one is on the Westside back off of Shadow Mountain (the one I have pictured) and the other is in Las Cruces. What amazes me about this palm is that there arent more around. They are fully hardy to the EP/LC region, are almost xeric in their water needs and are a spectacular palm with their pale blue color and long eloquent blooms. It is just baffling to me that none of the garden centers or nurseries in the area carries them. The nearest place to pick one up is Tucson.

I grew up in San Antonio and settled in El Paso when I retired from the army. I was stationed here early in my military career and fell in love with the place. In my opinion EP enjoys one of the nicest climates in the country. The winters arent frost-free, but they arent bad at all having endless clear sunny days with highs in the 50s and 60s and only a few nights of low temps below 20F. The summers can get warm, but not the blast furnace heat of Arizona and the dry air is so nice, I dont know how I put up with the steam bath climate of San Antonio for so long LOL.

Along with the great climate is the fabulous mountain backdrop and stark beauty of the Chihuahua. I realize the mountain views here cant compete with ABQ, but there not half bad.

As Im sure you all have surmised, I really like it here, great climate, great scenery, very friendly family oriented city with low crime, but El Paso does have its down side. For one theres not that much in the way of job opportunities and unless youre associated with the military the health care situation is less than average. Another down side is that EP doesnt have much to do entertainment wise. There are very few parks, and surprisingly though the city is rich in Hispanic culture, there isnt much in the way of cultural activities or many sites celebrating El Pasos heritage.

San Antonio has the River Walk and La Villita, ABQ has Old Town and the Balloon Fiesta and Santa Fe is just the charm capital of the South West. Then theres El Paso, which as a city has a very large identity crisis. The city has nothing in common with the rest of Texas in fact its much more New Mexican (it would make so much more sense if El Paso county was annexed to New Mexico). It would just be nice if EP would embrace and celebrate its heritage and create its own identity, but then again if it got to trendy and commercial we would lose that sleepy border town charm that makes El Paso the ultimate land of maana.

Heres a link to my webshots photo albums. I havent updated it in quite awhile; since I got my mac I keep my pictures on i-photo and transfer them back and forth to space on .mac so I can link them directly to the message board. But there are still a lot of good pics there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Webshots


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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

  • Posted by randit z8 southern NM (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 23:20

Those are great pics of El Paso palms. We have not cruised the older 'burbs of ElP much. Once in a while we get lost..(smile)..and it is fun to look at the plants in the older areas of the city. I have also seen a couple of citrus trees, usually crammed at the edge of one lot, and overlapping into another, neighboring lot...call this MUCH protection. I thought your pics of Bouganvillea were very inspiring. I want to try planting a Bouganvillea this spring, against the south wall, inside our entry courtyard. The "landscape guy", that put down rock, and a sprinkler system, for us last year..said that "Bougs" would make it in Cruces..against a hot S, or SW, wall. My Brahea armata "tinies" are doing well, only installed last summer. I got smallish seedlings from Sierra Vista Nursery (but..I bought the last of their 2005 stock). Gonzales Nursery, just north of Las Cruces, off of Hwy 70, has a kazillion of B. armata...or at least that is what I was told they were...


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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

Very cool pictures.

True, it is easy for me to take that stuff for granted but I had no idea you could get away with some of those things in El Paso. I was there about a month ago but I drove through at night...

Nice work!


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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

I agree. Maybe El Paso can keep it's borderland / outlaw charm AND start to embrace it, WHILE growing more attractively and thoughtfully. It might also help for some to get over their Phoenix-So Cal envy...

I appreciate all mountains and their contrast to lowlands nearby, whether Albuquerque or El Paso---different cross sections! EP's mtns just seem to top out at the chaparral belt, while Albq's Sandias start there.

To me, EP and Albq both have places like Denver beat for mountains, But I prefer evergreen oaks and sculptural accent plants!


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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

Folks I realize this post may be somewhat off of the plant topic, but I found a few of these posts just really highly interesting, and would love to follow up and maybe hear a bit more!

Mike El Paso -

MIKE WROTE:
"I was driving down Montana when I saw the orange trees I have pictured. Its funny, I have driven down that street hundreds of times and never noticed them before. "

---If you dont mind me asking, is that anywhere near Yarborough and I-25? That is the area I stay in when I am in El Paso, and know that Montana isnt too far away(at least I think that is the case!). I would love to see them myself the next time I am in EP!

MIKE WROTE: " In my opinion EP enjoys one of the nicest climates in the country. The winters arent frost-free, but they arent bad at all having endless clear sunny days with highs in the 50s and 60s and only a few nights of low temps below 20F."

---It is interesting to hear you say that, as in my many visits to EP (probably about 8 in the last 2 years), I have felt that as well. It almost seems like it is closer to Phoenix-like temps in winter, and Albuquerque-like temps in the summer, which is a perfect combo (more mild than ABQ in the winter and more temperate than PHX in the summer). I know that the averages have Phoenix and EP starkly different in the winter, but I monitor temperatures very closely, and at least since I have moved to Albuquerque and started paying attention, it seems that EP is generally 10-to-12 degreesAT LEAST (sometimes 15+)warmer than Albuquerque in the winter (and from a Midwestern fellow, it isnt exactly terrible in ABQ in the winter either!). (As I write this, the official temps are El Paso: 70, Phoenix: 63, Albuquerque: 48, Denver: 15.ABQ certainly spared the Denver frigidness, but not enjoying the El Paso warmth!).

MIKE WROTE: "As Im sure you all have surmised, I really like it here, great climate, great scenery, very friendly family oriented city with low crime, but El Paso does have its down side. For one theres not that much in the way of job opportunities and unless youre associated with the military the health care situation is less than average. Another down side is that EP doesnt have much to do entertainment wise. There are very few parks, and surprisingly though the city is rich in Hispanic culture, there isnt much in the way of cultural activities or many sites celebrating El Pasos heritage."

---I cannot tell you how disappointed I am with the lack of job opportunities in EP! As much as I love living in Albuquerque, I am heavily interested in relocating my family to El Paso. However, I too have observed the job market in EP as being relatively non-existent! It really surprises me how bleak it is, considering the size of the city (and its growing naturealthough admittedly not growing as briskly as ABQ). I dont think the entertainment aspect would be a major concern to me, but at the end of the day, you still have to work (unfortunately!).

MIKE WROTE: "San Antonio has the River Walk and La Villita, ABQ has Old Town and the Balloon Fiesta and Santa Fe is just the charm capital of the South West. Then theres El Paso, which as a city has a very large identity crisis. The city has nothing in common with the rest of Texas in fact its much more New Mexican (it would make so much more sense if El Paso county was annexed to New Mexico). It would just be nice if EP would embrace and celebrate its heritage and create its own identity, but then again if it got to trendy and commercial we would lose that sleepy border town charm that makes El Paso the ultimate land of maana."

---I couldnt agree more with youwhy isnt EP in New Mexico!? I think NM would benefit greatly as a state by having EP on our side of the ledger, and I think EPs profile would be enhanced greatly too in terms of attention and recognition. I realize this would never happen, but I have often wondered this too. EP just seems to have so much more in common with the Albuquerques of the world than the Austins or Dallas/Ft. Worths, etc.

Querqus ABQ -

Hi, I noticed you wrote:
"I agree. Maybe El Paso can keep it's borderland / outlaw charm AND start to embrace it, WHILE growing more attractively and thoughtfully. It might also help for some to get over their Phoenix-So Cal envy... "

---I have to say, I could read your insightful posts on this board for hoursI always find them incredibly information-packed. Again, realizing that this is a plant-specific board, based upon your last post, it appears that you have some good experience with EP. Id be interested if you would have a chance, if you wouldnt mind elaborating a bit on your last post here specifically the first paragraph. I dont know if I am even understanding it properly, but it sounds like: a) many in EP do not embrace the borderland element of their citys geography?, and b) does EP in manys opinion not grow thoughtfully, or more specifically, attractively (I know that I have heard from many what an eyesore / how "ugly" EP isand I just have never understood that, as I have always found its natural layout to be so beautiful).

At any event, if you have a few minutes to post some more, Id love to hear more on that paragraph. From someone who loves EP so intensely visiting for now and maybe someday a relocater Id love to learn as much about it as possible along these lines.

Thanks all, as always! Just incredibly insightful and fascinating information. I am very "sold" on El Paso! (Albuquerque isn't too shabby itself, though!)....


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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

Mike ----I loved your pictures of the Jubaeas in EP. From everything that I've read, about them, I knew that they could grow well here. They're just hard to find and very pricey because of the slow growth. Four years ago I planted some fairly large specimens of B. armatas (24 " boxes that I brought back from Tucson)at my place on the west mesa outside Las Cruces. They are doing extremely well. No frost burn of a single leaf in 4 winters now. I think the reason there are not more of these beauties here is that they are slow growing, and large specimens can't be transplanted because of root sensitivity compared to most palms. I also have a Trithrinax acanthocoma which loses some leaves but bounces back quickly in April/ May. The key to protecting marginal palms in our area is to plant them during the early hot season to give the roots ample time to establish, in a protected south and west area and keep them relatively dry in winter when they are dormant. The W.robustas get burned every winter but my W. fiferas look pretty good, and they are only at the 15-20 gal.stage. The only palms that have struggled so far are those which I planted late in thev season. Enthusiam, unfortunately, wins out over patience with me.


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RE: Pictures of some of the old-timer palms in El Paso

Mike El Paso
Could you please renew your pictures, I could not see them.

Thank you very much


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