Earlier this year the United States Department of Agriculture released an updated Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The previous map was made in 1990. The new map is based on 30 years of collected data (from the years 1976-2005), a longer time period than what was used before. If you take a look at the new map, you might find you are now in a different hardiness zone. I used to be 6B, but am now 7A. What does this mean? Well, it means the Average Annual Extreme Minimum Temperature in my area is 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit. Slightly different than before. It used to be -5-0 degrees Fahrenheit. Does this mean there are certain plants I used to be able to grow that I can’t grow anymore? I’m not so sure about that. Hardiness zones aren’t the end all be all of a successful garden. After all, it is what it says it is, an “average” of the annual extreme minimum temps There are times when you can get a plant to survive in a slightly different zone by giving it some winter protection. I’m certainly not going to pull out plants that no longer fit within my zone that have thrived in my garden for years.
Will this new information change the way I garden? Probably not. But it’s always good to know what your hardiness zone is. For more information and to find your own Plant Hardiness Zone, check out their website: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov