Zoned Out, Part 2: What's Your Plant Hardiness Zone?


| 3/26/2014 9:49:00 AM


Tags: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones, Climate Change, Toby Grotz, Kansas,

What Zone are You In?

When planting seed in the vegetable garden or picking fruit and nut trees for your yard or the back forty, its best to do some research on local climate conditions. Temperature and rainfall vary widely across the country and around the world. The average annual precipitation or the average temperature determines which types of crops will grow the best in your area. The USDA first published a plant hardiness zone map based on temperature in 1960. Hardiness zones are based on the average annual extreme minimum temperature during a 30-year period in the past, not the lowest temperature that has ever occurred in the past or might occur in the future.

The statistical average, which used to be termed as “Normal” is changing as was shown in the last blog post. By my estimate the Hardiness Zones moved north 100 miles between 1990 and 2006. The change seems to have accelerated. In Kansas we are able to grow Fig trees on the south side of our houses, an impossibility without a greenhouse 20 years ago. Here is a map that shows the Plant Hardiness Zones.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

The zones are numbered from 1 – 7, and assigned a color from red, warmest, to blue and pink which are cooler. But first, let’s find your zone. By clicking on the USDA Hardiness Zone Map you can zoom in to your location. Using the USDA website you can zoom in by state and county for a detailed view. A close up view will show the differences between bottom lands along a river and the hilltops and bluffs above the river as shown in the lighter shade of green in the area around the Kaw river from Topeka to Kansas City. (my zones)

Close up view or river bottoms and bluffs.

As shown below, In my area, the Zone value given is 6a. Zone 6a has a range of -10F to -5F.

violet.skye.549
3/28/2014 3:41:26 PM

ok, ive got my hardiness zone number, now what SPECIFICALLY do i do with it?





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