New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

March 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm (Uncategorized)

The controversy has already started … and the map was just released a few of weeks ago! It seems some areas of Wyoming have been moved from zone 4b to 5a. Have our lowest average winter temps really increased five degrees since the last map update? The problem is consumers are bound to be confused. And how quickly will industry be able to change plant labels and informational materials?

The new map is interactive – type in your zip code or click on your state and you can find your hardiness zone pretty easily. Most of us know zone 4b in Wyoming (Laramie for example) is definitely not the same as zone 4b in Maine or Wisconsin. Keeping in mind the high elevation, consistent wind patterns, short growing season, low precip levels, and low relative humidity , I still recommend zone 4 plants for most parts of Wyoming. In Laramie, even though zoned 4b, I suggest planting zone 3 plants just to be on the safe side, especially in open areas unprotected from the worst of winter winds. And in Casper, I suggest continuing to plant zone 4 species.

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