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Old 01-29-2014, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Northville, MI
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How can we classify climatic zones for frost hollows (Such as parts of my town). Often, the low temperature here is much colder than NYC. During cool fronts this September, NYC saw lows close to 50 while we dipped down to the upper 30s with frost. Upper 30's for a low is COLD coming out of summer (but would be heavenly right now ) and the frost hurt my jasmine plants.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:52 PM
 
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the climate zones by definition refer to the general climate of a large areas---"microclimates" like frost hollows generally don't/can't be put on large scale maps but of course you find out about their presence and effects the hard way when you live and garden in one. such conditions make the "real" zone where you are somewhat lower than the nominal/potential zone of the surrounding area and you must garden and make plant selection and care based on those different conditions. OTOH, there are also favorable microclimates (due to cold air drainage away from your garden, better sun exposure, etc.) that may give you a working gardening zone that is (somewhat) warmer than the surrounding area. sometimes this can be as simple as the south and west exposures of your house which are generally warmer than the north and east sides (in the northern hemisphere at least). in practice, the gardener can look at maps of their area but should also watch for possible microclimates in their garden and local area---both favorable and not so favorable--- and plant and garden accordingly.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:24 PM
 
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I always thought hardiness zones were kinda stupid. What other system would put Vancouver BC, Scotland and Tampa in the same category?

No matter how mild the lows in Vancouver or Edinburgh are, you just can't grow the same tropical flora there that you can in Tampa.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:40 PM
 
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that's the inherent problem with the USDA zone maps---they are based mainly on average winter lows which is only part of the equation. the other part of accurate plant performance mapping is what the average summer high temps are and this the USDA map does NOT take into consideration. the American horticultural society (AHS) has a heat zone map which is based on summer temps and sometimes using BOTH sets of maps can be more helpful in predicting plant performance. gardeners in the western u.s. tend to use the sunset western garden zone maps which are based on a variety of criteria and most anybody else everywhere else would do well to take a close look at what is actually growing in a particular area (sometimes a walk down a local street can tell a lot) rather than simply relying on maps or published guides. FWIW, some of the (so-called) "subtropical" plants that are grown in Vancouver or Edinburgh (embothrium cocinneum, cordyline australis, eucryphia cordifolia, the large-leaved himalayan "tree" rhododendrons, magnolia campbellii, etc.) may well not thrive in tampa because of summer heat and the tampa plants can't abide the cool summers of in those areas.
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgeinbandonoregon View Post
that's the inherent problem with the USDA zone maps---they are based mainly on average winter lows which is only part of the equation. the other part of accurate plant performance mapping is what the average summer high temps are and this the USDA map does NOT take into consideration. the American horticultural society (AHS) has a heat zone map which is based on summer temps and sometimes using BOTH sets of maps can be more helpful in predicting plant performance. gardeners in the western u.s. tend to use the sunset western garden zone maps which are based on a variety of criteria and most anybody else everywhere else would do well to take a close look at what is actually growing in a particular area (sometimes a walk down a local street can tell a lot) rather than simply relying on maps or published guides. FWIW, some of the (so-called) "subtropical" plants that are grown in Vancouver or Edinburgh (embothrium cocinneum, cordyline australis, eucryphia cordifolia, the large-leaved himalayan "tree" rhododendrons, magnolia campbellii, etc.) may well not thrive in tampa because of summer heat and the tampa plants can't abide the cool summers of in those areas.
Yes, here in Florida we can drop down to the 30s at night briefly and still grow Tropical flora, but we warm up quickly as well, and sometimes it will be 38 in the morning and 70 in the afternoon then not go below 55 the following night...the mass of the north american continent helps to send that chill our way but the location ensures its stay is brief.
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Adi from the Brunswicks View Post
I guess you are enjoying beautiful weather right now as well. Care to send some pics of those trees.
I have to get my camera from someone, otherwise i have been wanting to take pictures of the F.I.T. Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, FL just a few miles north of me, the USDA maps say we are a 9b but i would say no, i have had this discussion with my neighbor as well, he seems to believe we are 9a .......

I tried to explain that a year where it drops to 28F does not make eight winters of nothing under 30F wrong, the normal lowest low does not go below 30, i checked the data, he just looked at a map like most do.
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Top of the South, NZ
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I would say 10 where I live, but parts of the property would be 9. I can grow avocados, citrus, Queen palms, winter potatoes etc with ease, but the lack of summer heat means that fruit like mangoes would never be possible.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:10 PM
 
Location: The #1 sunshine state, Arizona.
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I wish I was a 10, in more ways than one. My area is a 7A. I'm proud to say I have a palm tree that is over 8 years old.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:18 PM
 
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Default what plant hardiness zone do you consider yourself really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakotafl View Post
Yes, here in Florida we can drop down to the 30s at night briefly and still grow Tropical flora, but we warm up quickly as well, and sometimes it will be 38 in the morning and 70 in the afternoon then not go below 55 the following night...the mass of the north american continent helps to send that chill our way but the location ensures its stay is brief.
this leads to another concern with traditional "zone" descriptions and applications. in practical terms both the duration and frequency of low temps are possible limitations to plant growth and survival. there is a difference between someone in florida for example getting down to somewhere in the (low) 30's "briefly" and somewhere else getting down to those same temps for many hours each night and for those conditions to happen numerous times during the winter. the "tropical flora" which grows well under the former conditions may grow differently under the later conditions even though the temps are no different just happen more often and for a longer time when they do. FWIW, I'm a "9b" under the current USDA zone map (based on 30 year averages I guess) but this winter has NOT been an average winter and my has not saved me from "9a" type winters (20-25f.) a number of times already this year. again, my very cool summers also have an impact on what does well here compared to those folks gardening in places with ROUGHLY similar winter temps but generally much warmer summers. certainly the kind of plants I grow in my cool summer zone 9 (various eucalyptus, evergreen oaks and pines from mexico, stuff from new Zealand, Australia, and chile and argentina plus the very occasional palm) will likely be very different form someone's warm summer zone 9 garden.
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Old 02-07-2014, 11:36 PM
 
Location: IN
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Zone 4, south-central Wisconsin. Some areas of zone 4 have experienced ZONE 3 temperatures this winter with lows falling lower than -30F.
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