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monsoon

Charlotte has been moved into Agricultural Zone 8

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I saw an article in the paper this morning that said that Charlotte is now in agricultural zone 8 for winter hardiness. We have been in zone 7, a colder zone, for as long as I can remember. This basically means that it does not get as cold here in the winter. (it does not cover summer temps) so it is becoming possible for plants to grow here that normally would not make it through the winter. I do remember in the 70s and 80s there would be days where the HIGHS would be in the teens. Now it is rare to see a low in that range. It's definitely warmer now.

There has always been a line somewhere between here and Columbia/Charleston/Myrtle Beach/Wilmington, where one would see Palmetto trees, Live Oaks with Spanish Moss, Oleander, and other similar plants that simply didn't use to grow here naturally. It would seem that line is a lot closer to the city now.

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I was bagging leaves this warm morning, and just thinking "The planting zones really need to be updated".

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CLT has sat on that imaginary line for zones 7 & 8 in all the charts I have seen, so really as far as a plant guide both should be used.

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I saw the article, too. A bit disconcerting. But as they mentioned, we have wild swings in temps here and I'd rather err on the side of caution where plants are concerned. I don't want to spend a bunch of money on planting vegetation that may end up getting fried when we do get a 10-15 degree morning. I have definitely noticed a lot more palmetto-type trees being planted by homeowners and landscapers in the area, but I don't know how much of that is due to warmer weather and how much is due to the fact that it looks so "upscale" and it's just trendy now. Either way, I don't much care for it because I think palms of any sort look really out of place in this area.

On a side note, the narrow section of Westfield Road in Myers Park (just down the street from Queens Univ.) has numerous homes with palms in the yard and they've been there for at least 15 years that I know of. If you didn't know better, when you drive down that street you'd think you were in Pasadena, California! :)

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post-425-1166723604_thumb.jpgThat little Spanish style house about 2 houses in on that street is my absolute favorite in the entire city. Here's a picture I took of it about 4 years ago when we had that big ice storm. There are several much taller palms just to the left of this picture. Those palms are hardy!

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WOW, Palm trees in Charlotte, certainly never seen that, I'm going to have to read about them tonight when I get home. But perhaps not so shocking really, when I was a kid I grew an Orange tree from seeds, initially indoors, but replanted outside when it got to be 3 feet tall. I'll never know how well it would have done as it was shredded up by an animal, but did get to around 6 feet before dieing.

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Ice storms are not particularly bad for some palms and palmettos. It's when the ground freeses that you have big problems with them. The ground used to freese here several times a year but it doesn't now.

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The ARDREY neighborhood in South Charlotte has lots of palmettos planted, some of them by the HOA in common area, others in peoples yards. It really makes for a "Charleston" atmosphere.... and maybe they're not too crazy for planting these, it seems they may have a chance in zone 8.

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Ice storms are not particularly bad for some palms and palmettos. It's when the ground freeses that you have big problems with them. The ground used to freese here several times a year but it doesn't now.

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It's anecdotal, I know, but this does seem to be true. I remember when I was a kid that we could almost be guaranteed several days out of school due to snow or ice storms each year. But now it's just a crap shoot on whether we'll even get one storm of any note, with the once a decade heavy snowfall.

Is this change due to the dividing lines for zones pushing somewhat northward due to global warming or some similar phenomenon? Or is it just a heat island type of effect that is being caused by Charlotte's larger population and greater number of cars, etc?

Edit-I accidentally quoted the wrong post. This post was in response to monsoon's statement that the ground does not freeze here anymore.

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I think I like NC because it is on the northern side of that line. I don't really like all the palmetto trees and super-southerny plants as much as the trees here.

However, I'll bet it would actually help our image if we did plant palmettos in more places. It would help people think more about visiting if they considered us more tropical.

That Ardrey club house makes me think there should be an african man with an all-white uniform waving a palm frond back and forth behind a lady in a long flowerprint dress and a widebrimmed hat drinking a mint julep on a rocking chair. Give me a break. I guess that is the look they're going for, that mid-19th century English colonial islands motif.

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The bad thing about that particular house shown above, is the mature palmetto trees on the side. Those are really old trees and they way they get them is to dig them out of sensitive places where they grow naturally. I've seen a lot of destruction of pretty areas by, sometimes unscrupulous people, pulling up these trees off land, and bringing them to the carolinas for sale. Even more sad, palmettos of that size are not likely to make it in the long run.

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i wonder if palmettos do better in southern meck than northern? 20 or 30 miles can make a differences i suppose.

to metro's comment, i guess trees like that are disposable now, just like everything else.

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I don't know if anybody else has seen this, but here in Mooresville the Purple Plum trees are already blooming.

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I don't know if anybody else has seen this, but here in Mooresville the Purple Plum trees are already blooming.

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I did a little research and found out that those palms on Westfield Road (Chinese Windmill Palms) are quite cold tolerant and can withstand occasional cold snaps as low as 10 degrees. In their native haunts of China, they are sometimes covered with snow in winter. They're also planted widely as ornamentals in the UK, as well as coastal British Columbia in Canada. So, I guess that would make it a perfect palm for the Charlotte area....even though I still say they just don't look "right" around here. -_-

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I think I like NC because it is on the northern side of that line. I don't really like all the palmetto trees and super-southerny plants as much as the trees here.

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That's one thing I truly do miss when it comes to living in this region--the plethora of Palmetto trees. There are only a handful in Rock Hill. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

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lol, the cold air is still here. It's just locked up on the other side of the north pole. All it takes is a pattern change.

It can still get very cold here. Nothing much has really changed. There are several different kinds of weather patterns. Some last weekly, yearly, by the decade, and even centuries. The 1300 and 1400's were even warmer than today.....I did research. Then it got really cold in the 1600 and 1700's...a mini ice age.

The cold air will be back, mark my words.

The computer models are showing a pattern change starting after the 12th of Jan. So yes, it will be very mild till the 12th. Then colder shots of air will start slowly moving in. Late Jan. looks to be really cold!

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However, I'll bet it would actually help our image if we did plant palmettos in more places. It would help people think more about visiting if they considered us more tropical.

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Oh yeah! You'd better believe it!

I actually think I see the SC flag waving more in Charlotte than in some cities in SC. :D

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It's anecdotal, I know, but this does seem to be true. I remember when I was a kid that we could almost be guaranteed several days out of school due to snow or ice storms each year. But now it's just a crap shoot on whether we'll even get one storm of any note, with the once a decade heavy snowfall.

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Travellers back in Revolutionary times remarked how the melting snows in March made the roads muddy and difficult to travel on. I would view a snow in March as a "freak ocurrance" now.

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post-425-1166723604_thumb.jpgThat little Spanish style house about 2 houses in on that street is my absolute favorite in the entire city. Here's a picture I took of it about 4 years ago when we had that big ice storm. There are several much taller palms just to the left of this picture. Those palms are hardy!

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