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View Poll Results: Which do you think it is?
This place gets more extreme than other subtropical regions. No wonder Nashville feels so frigid some winters! 6 85.71%
It's the acidic, poorly-draining soil messing with us. 0 0%
The Glacial Periods pushed deciduous trees out of the temperate regions. 0 0%
Wildlife has missed us by chance. 0 0%
Evolution hasn't kept pace yet. 0 0%
Combination (please explain) 1 14.29%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-06-2019, 06:43 AM
Status: "Forsythias have leaves!" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Putnam County, TN
857 posts, read 199,171 times
Reputation: 547

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Does it have anything to do with the winter lows in the coldest days of the year? Even South Florida, which has a true tropical climate, gets awfully cold compared to any other tropical climate. Even places like Charleston (SC), Birmingham, Dallas and Atlanta get into the lower teens regularly, while places like Washington D.C., Nashville/Murfreesboro and Oklahoma City often see positive single-digits and places like Charleston (WV) even negative single-digits. It gets even worse for places out west with the same winter averages, unless you're in very low valley floors (Phoenix, Yuma, Las Vegas, etc.) or right by the coast.

Is it the soil type? The soil closer to the coast is awfully waterlogged, and it's notoriously bad (rocky, clay, highly acidic) here in Tennessee. However, I thought evergreens (whether conifers, palms or generic) were better at dealing with poor soil than deciduous trees of the same size? They don't lose their leaves (and thus nutrients) as often.

Could it have anything to do with the Glacial Periods? The temperate regions of the eastern U.S. were glaciated, which would've pushed those deciduous trees into the subtropics by force. However, much of the South (even northern Florida and central Texas) was either semi-arid or coniferous due to the cool, dry summers, and I don't know if it actually got that cold in winter even then (the polar vortex has ruined half of our winters, especially in Tennessee and the Great Plains, the more global warming has messed with the Arctic).

Or have the birds and other seed-spreading animals just missed this area by chance?

Has evolution just not kept pace in this Humid Subtropical climatic region compared to others? I doubt this though, given that there are broad-leaved evergreen plants like Mountain Laurels and Grand Rhododendrons that can survive even in brutally cold places like Vermont and Maine, and there are some subtropical indicator plants (like Southern Magnolias, Needle Palms, some Palmettos and Crepe Myrtles) that grow extremely well in Nashville, Washington D.C. and Oklahoma City (and can even survive as seedlings if you're lucky and careful) but just aren't native for some reason.

Otherwise, is it a combination of the above?

Last edited by Sun Belt-lover L.A.M.; 08-06-2019 at 07:13 AM..
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
10,493 posts, read 8,507,247 times
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Good question. I have noticed this as well.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:03 AM
 
2,602 posts, read 1,866,968 times
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The US South is not really subtropical since there can be frigid cold snap in winter. So there are not many evergreen broad-leaf species that can withstand this cold. So deciduous tree can thrive better
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:05 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
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Why does the U.S. South have deciduous trees almost everywhere, while most subtropical regions elsewhere have far fewer?

The definition of deciduous is this:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deciduous

"In the fields of horticulture and botany, the term deciduous (/dɪˈsɪdʒuəs/) means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to trees and shrubs that seasonally shed leaves, usually in the autumn; to the shedding of petals, after flowering; and to the shedding of ripe fruit."


I've never been to the subtropics to see for myself so I have to ask. If the subtropical regions have few deciduous trees, what kind of trees and plants do they mostly have? Are they semi-deciduous evergreens? I grow a few tropical and subtropical plants from different parts of the world as indoor plants which are sort of evergreen but not really, and while none of them go completely dormant seasonally they all take some kind of hiatus to rest up every year and they are all deciduous or semi-deciduous in their seasonal habits of growing new or dropping mature leaves and expired flowers or fruits every year. A lot of the patterns they set for themselves is dependent on the amount of natural light they get throughout the year.

I think you should go to the above wiki link and read that, it has some pretty good explanations there that might be helpful in answering at least a few of the questions you've been asking.

.
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX, born + raised SF Bay
2,095 posts, read 995,580 times
Reputation: 1876
That’s weird, since what I always notice about the south is an abundance of evergreens...it’s up north where I notice more deciduous trees.
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:25 PM
Status: "Forsythias have leaves!" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Putnam County, TN
857 posts, read 199,171 times
Reputation: 547
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
Why does the U.S. South have deciduous trees almost everywhere, while most subtropical regions elsewhere have far fewer?

The definition of deciduous is this:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deciduous

"In the fields of horticulture and botany, the term deciduous (/dɪˈsɪdʒuəs/) means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to trees and shrubs that seasonally shed leaves, usually in the autumn; to the shedding of petals, after flowering; and to the shedding of ripe fruit."


I've never been to the subtropics to see for myself so I have to ask. If the subtropical regions have few deciduous trees, what kind of trees and plants do they mostly have? Are they semi-deciduous evergreens? I grow a few tropical and subtropical plants from different parts of the world as indoor plants which are sort of evergreen but not really, and while none of them go completely dormant seasonally they all take some kind of hiatus to rest up every year and they are all deciduous or semi-deciduous in their seasonal habits of growing new or dropping mature leaves and expired flowers or fruits every year. A lot of the patterns they set for themselves is dependent on the amount of natural light they get throughout the year.

I think you should go to the above wiki link and read that, it has some pretty good explanations there that might be helpful in answering at least a few of the questions you've been asking.

.
Most other subtropical regions around the world (excluding desert and steppe regions) are usually broad-leaved evergreen forests. Whether those are semi-evergreen (Sweetbay Magnolia and Southern Live Oak are semi-evergreens in the U.S. South, although the latter cannot survive in the Upland South) or fully evergreen, I do not know. I also don't know if there are a minority of deciduous trees mixed in, but I'd say there probably are; it's just why they're so dominating here that I'm asking.

I do still appreciate your advice, but I have read up on the link you sent me already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nn2036 View Post
The US South is not really subtropical since there can be frigid cold snap in winter. So there are not many evergreen broad-leaf species that can withstand this cold. So deciduous tree can thrive better
I've heard that many times. I'm not here to start a climate debate, but if you can grow palms (even if only very cold-hardy ones), and winter snowpack is absent, can a place really be considered continental? No way. Both Koppen and Trewartha would surely agree with my statement too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcp123 View Post
That’s weird, since what I always notice about the south is an abundance of evergreens...it’s up north where I notice more deciduous trees.
Are you talking about the Deep South or Upland South?

The Deep South does have more broad-leaf evergreens, but they're still outnumbered in the wild, and outsiders (from my experience) often think of the Deep South and overlook the Upland South when referring to the "South."

Here in Tennessee (the same could probably also be said of Arkansas, Oklahoma and parts of Virginia), it's way more deciduous than even the Deep South; about all the evergreens I notice except cultivated ones (which don't count) and conifers (which aren't even moderately shade tolerant except the Eastern White Pine, and thus aren't reliably common scenery) are Mountain Laurels (and even those are absent in the Nashville Basin and Sequatchie Valley), River Canes (actually a type of bamboo) and American Hollies (which are rare). I did notice some Grand Rhododendrons around Townsend when I went to the Appalachian Rainforest in April, but they're not found here in middle Tennessee.

Last edited by Sun Belt-lover L.A.M.; 08-06-2019 at 12:38 PM..
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX, born + raised SF Bay
2,095 posts, read 995,580 times
Reputation: 1876
Fair point, I am referring more to the Deep South than up in Tennessee or Appalachia.
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Tucson Arizona
4,463 posts, read 2,017,118 times
Reputation: 11692
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
Why does the U.S. South have deciduous trees almost everywhere, while most subtropical regions elsewhere have far fewer?

The definition of deciduous is this:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deciduous

"In the fields of horticulture and botany, the term deciduous (/dɪˈsɪdʒuəs/) means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to trees and shrubs that seasonally shed leaves, usually in the autumn; to the shedding of petals, after flowering; and to the shedding of ripe fruit."


I've never been to the subtropics to see for myself so I have to ask. If the subtropical regions have few deciduous trees, what kind of trees and plants do they mostly have? Are they semi-deciduous evergreens? I grow a few tropical and subtropical plants from different parts of the world as indoor plants which are sort of evergreen but not really, and while none of them go completely dormant seasonally they all take some kind of hiatus to rest up every year and they are all deciduous or semi-deciduous in their seasonal habits of growing new or dropping mature leaves and expired flowers or fruits every year. A lot of the patterns they set for themselves is dependent on the amount of natural light they get throughout the year.

I think you should go to the above wiki link and read that, it has some pretty good explanations there that might be helpful in answering at least a few of the questions you've been asking.

.
A lot of houseplants and outdoor "annuals" originated in tropical or subtropical regions where they are evergreen perennials. Moved to a colder area, they go dormant or die.

Might be hard to imagine, but those impatiens and philodendrons you baby are invasive species in some places.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Climate Zone Dfa/ Hardiness zone 6a, 46062
3,405 posts, read 2,240,339 times
Reputation: 1166
Perhaps because much of the southeast has comparatively severe winters at times compared to other subtropical regions of the world at similar latitudes , yet I can also imagine that the last ice age drove many of the subtropical flora and fauna south of the region and the subtropical plants have not yet had a chance to recolonize the subtropical southern United States.
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Old 08-07-2019, 05:21 AM
Status: "Forsythias have leaves!" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Putnam County, TN
857 posts, read 199,171 times
Reputation: 547
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isleofpalms85 View Post
Perhaps because much of the southeast has comparatively severe winters at times compared to other subtropical regions of the world at similar latitudes , yet I can also imagine that the last ice age drove many of the subtropical flora and fauna south of the region and the subtropical plants have not yet had a chance to recolonize the subtropical southern United States.
That would certainly be understandable. Thank you! After all, some of those plants (such as the Needle Palm) are VERY slow-growing, and a Needle Palm, Dwarf Palmetto or magnolia would have had trouble with the cool, dry summers regardless of not having the polar vortex (which, even so, they often can just barely tough out here at around 36N latitude, but would probably struggle with further north) to deal with.

Where do you think they went, though, is what I'm wondering? Florida's the only place south of most of everything else due to the Gulf, and it dead-ends at the Gulf/Caribbean (there wasn't a land bridge to Cuba; the water's too deep for that). As for Mexico, some of those plants don't have native ranges extending that far west, and it might've been even harder to reach there the drier it got.

Otherwise, could that be why some of those plants are so hardy, due to natural selection? After all, the Needle Palm and Southern Magnolia do have tough leaves (which is unusual for subtropical plants), which gives them partial protection from extreme cold like a conifer, holly or rhododendron would fully have.
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