How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

New USDA Plant Hardiness Map

Normally I’d have a review of a book or tool or something, but since the USDA came out with a new hardiness map recently I thought I’d talk about it briefly.

The interactive tool is pretty awesome. You can put in your zip code and then find your exact location. A simple click will tell you exactly what your zone and temperature range is. No guessing based on a low resolution map that’s hard to read…

The biggest change is that they’ve added two new zones at the warm end of the scale, zones 12 and 13.

We can argue about the ramifications of this map until we’re blue in the face, but the bottom line is that most areas went up a zone or two, and this means you can grow things you couldn’t before. Not a bad thing.

On the flip side, it means new pests and whatnot that will affect what we grow more and more.

We went to an 8a where we live, and our property jumped up to a 6a.  Definitely a change I’m going to have to think about.

For me, the most interesting part is the property.  I can now look at longer term perennials and trees or shrubs that wouldn’t really thrive in a zone 5 but can do fine in a 6.

What are your thoughts on the new map?

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5 Responses to New USDA Plant Hardiness Map

  1. I’m wondering if just because the USDA changes the zone we are in does it really effect our area as far as plant growth and comparability is concerned? I guess the only way to find out is try and grow as now im a 10b..

    • Well, the USDA obviously is recognizing changes in temperature ranges that have already occurred. So technically nothing has changed.

      But most of us plan things based on the zones, and choose crops and plants and trees based on those zones. So having updated ones will shift the types of things we can keep on the ‘short list’ if that makes sense