Monday, January 30, 2012

New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map



The USDA just updated it's Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Click here to go to the map. It is more sophisticated and accurate than any other previously developed. Several areas underwent a zone change, including my little corner of the Pocono Mountains, PA. We went from 5b to 6a. The new map has links to view states divided into counties, and even a handy zipcode search box. This took a long time to be ready, but the interactive component by zip code was worth waiting for.

The USDA describes the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map as 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.

The Washington Post produced an interactive map with a fancy slider in the middle so you can compare the old map with the new. Click here for the link. This is really interesting not only for gardeners, but for those collecting examples of the impact of climate change on all of us.

In other news the National Wildlife Federation has decided to end its partnership with Scott's. Yoo...hoo! Maybe the scathing letter I wrote them made a difference! I'd like to think so. I wont be taking down my sign after all.


Think Spring!!
Pamela x

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.

21 comments:

Bumble Lush Kitchen Garden said...

So things have warmed up in your zone? Mine didn't change, but I found it very interesting that they even had to adjust things. And I read yesterday about NWF discontinuing their partnership with Scott's. Im g;ad1 There's been a lot of grumbling about that on the internet.

Hartwood Roses said...

Thank you for this link!! I love maps, and I especially love interractive maps ... I have been sitting here using this one this morning visiting Alaska (going there this summer), Montana (where our daughter lives) and checking up on the area around here in Virginia.

Congratulations on potentially having a hand in Scotts getting the boot. They should never have been involved with a wildlife program ... what was the USDA thinking.

The Redneck Rosarian said...

Our zone changed from 7b to 8a. Can't imagine the deep south being any warmer than it already gets.... Ha. I also use the heat zone map. This map developed by the American Horticultural Society (AHS.org) can help you determine which plants can survive in your heat zone...

HolleyGarden said...

Wow - so they caved to the pressure. Shows you what a bunch of concerned gardeners can do! :) I do hope, however, that they can get whatever monies Scott's would have provided for them elsewhere.

Donna said...

I learned NWF backing out as soon as they announced. I was hoping if it went through the NWF would do as they said and get converts to they programs. It would have been a good thing if many of Scotts customers bailed. I also had the map sent to me by Cornell and my area remained the same.

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

Somehow it feels traumatic--we went from 6b to 7a. I was still getting used to 6b from 6a. 7 sounds like I should be in North Carolina. I am glad NWF changed their minds but only after Scott was implicated in selling pesticide tainted birdseed. My faith in NWF is shaken, probably permanently. Can't wait for you and Julie and other bloggers (?) to visit in April. I am hoping you are coming to the Asheville fling too.

The Sage Butterfly said...

My zone did not change because I was located in the center of the zone to begin with. It is interesting how much has changed. I really liked the slide on the WP site...very helpful in seeing the changes over the years.

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

I am still in 5b, so the whole world is not upside-down. :) The coastal areas seemed to have experienced more readjusting. Wonderful news for you.

Looking forward to enjoying the beautiful April weather with you in zone 7!
Julie

scottweberpdx said...

At first, looking at the new map, I thought I was still zone 8 (which would have been fine with me). However, due to the urban heat island (and probably proximity to the river) I'm actually 9a now...crazy! Oh...and GREAT news about the NWF!

Rose said...

When I first saw this map, I thought I might now be zone 6, too, but I'm still about 30 miles north of it. Interesting that the USDA changed it; I wonder how many of us will really change what we plant because of this.

Bumble Lush Kitchen Garden said...

Hi Pam! Just wanted to let you know that I'm passing on a Versatile Blogger Award to you (I posted about it today). I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to reading more! :)

Erin said...

I am so glad about the Scott's decision. I hadn't heard about the reversal. Yayyy.

Rosey said...

I am glad they updated this. Even where I live, there are still microclimates that are uncharted.

GRACE PETERSON said...

This is an updated map but nothing has changed temperature wise or map wise for me. Still Zone 8b. Great post.

Jess said...

Yeah the zipcode finder is awesome because it allows for a much more granular look, which is important in some areas (like mine) where my zipcode is different than the one 3 miles away!

I already expected my move up, it was pretty obvious (was zone 8B, now zone 9a), did you?

igardendaily said...

Hi there! Nice blog and post. My zone changed here in the Intermountain west from 6b to 7a but somehow I don't think I can trust it to really be that mild most winters. Do you have that feeling being in the Poconos? This winter is mild and low moisture but it's different every year!

So glad to hear about NWF reversing their decision. There's been a lot of reversing public decisions going around. Happened with the Susan G. Komen foundation too.

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Jess and Igardendaily, I was not expecting the move up. As we are in the mountains, I don't feel it can be zone 6a. We have microclimates even lower than 5b here.
Thanks for all the comments. P. x

PatioPatch said...

Pam, just the sound of the Pocono Mountains is beautiful and now a touch warmer by mapping standards - interestding that locals think otherwise ;)
p.s. googled the Scotts thingy hubbub. Lots of businesses going around in green disguise - I have my doubts about Jordans here

b-a-g said...

Pam - We don't have zones like this in the UK - at least I don't think so. Really can't imagine you being scathing ...

Beyond My Garden said...

Thanks for the map link. Everywhere around my garden went a zone warmer but we stay 6a right here.
nellie

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

FYI- I posted a link this to post on WMG: http://wifemothergardener.blogspot.com/2012/02/post-202-for-love-of-blogging-and-my.html

Hope you are snug from the cold weather this week!
Julie