Do you know your garden zone?
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is used by the garden industry to communicate the cold hardiness of landscape plants. Knowing your planting zone can be very useful when you are planning your garden and flower bed areas.
The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.
It was revised in 2012 which is the first revision of the map since 1990. The new version includes 13 zones, two more than before. Much of the United States is now one half-zone warmer. The new map reflects an increase in the average temperature of the U.S. in recent decades. The 1990 map used average annual temperatures from 1974 to 1986 while the 2012 map uses information from 1976 to 2005.
It’s important to point out that the Plant Hardiness Map should only be used as a guide for planting. Climate can still vary dramatically within zones, even the new ones and it can only take one or two days of historical low temperatures to wipe out plantings that should expect to survive the new zone identifications.
Get to know your garden. Just because the USDA says you’re in a new zone it doesn’t mean everything has changed. The Hardiness Zone Map is based on averages, average low temperatures. The averages may be warmer, but extreme low temperatures like we have had this winter are still possible. Caution should still be practiced when choosing plants that are barely suitable for your zone, old or new.
A new zone number gives us new and interesting plants choices and will encourage us to enhance our gardens with all the different options. But remember, if you haven’t had success with a particular plant, a new zone number probably won’t change that
Keep in mind… It only takes one or two days of historical low temperatures to wipe out plantings that should expect to survive the new zone identifications.
Find you exact planting zone by entering your zip code here http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/