USDA Map Rant!!! Suppliers/Shipping - Warning

Desertgarden- NW Las Vegas Z9a @ 2300 fFebruary 9, 2014

I have one bare root plant left to plant. I am awaiting the ONE rose I ordered from Jackson and Perkins. I had a rather frustrating conversation with a young lady about being in zone 9a not 8b or 8a for that matter. She wanted to ship bare root roses to me in March.

My bare root roses must be in the ground by President's Day. It took a little work, but J& P agreed to send the rose February 5th.

This is not an isolated incident. Looking at the USDA map, where I live is nestled in a little corner of Southern Nevada, where without a magnifying glass, it could be difficult to determine where one zone begins and the other ends; but it is possible. Why don't they use contrasting colors? I get the whole movement from temperatures and colors, which would explain gold to yellow, but if that is the logic, then why would blue be nestled next to it?

My due diligence - questioning me:

I am married to a real geek�. Thank goodness he also likes the arts, wine, caffeine, smelling my roses, believes there are things in life that matter or should be valued, and is easy on my eyes or I guess there would be a problem. Anyway. There's weather measurement stuff on my house, and in a tree, on the balcony, and no he isn't looking for E.T. but, well, I cannot explain what all of it does but anytime I need to know what to wear or info. about inside or outside temps. he can tell me. I track the weather, from three sites; one is 1/8 of a mile from my home and I did not just move here. I have grown roses and other plants that are tender perennials for 13 years, and this has required me to track the weather. I am also curious, and have looked at weather patterns and climate reports that have gone back to about 1901. Maybe I am a little bit of a nerd too�.

Now mapping� . We do not live in zone 8b and definitely not 8a. There has been no recent shift. My best friend is a native and we have discussed weather� Above all I know were I live�and can find it on a map.

Why am I upset? Rose suppliers look at the USDA map and figure March and maybe even April is a good time to send roses to me, in Las Vegas. The conversation for orders usually becomes a discussion with me stating " no, I am not in zone 8, but 9". I am nestled in that little pocket that is different from the bulk of the state�..It is 80 degrees here in Aprilâ¦.not exactly prime bare root planting weather especially when it will be Hades in less than 3 months

Am I missing something with this map. What formula is used for calculating the zones? Does anyone else have this problem? What about those blending colors? Changes to the map, are they possible and if so how?

On the bright side, I am not being told that I am in zone 6, or 11, which dealing with the reality of my climate could have disastrous results. Would shipping dates that are off by a zone spell disaster or cause potential issues for you?

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They don't take into consideration microclimates in zoning. We have huge differences by neighborhood down here, as is the case with most cities and places in the mountains.
I expect you will have better results buying from a smaller supplier than J&P. I don't know how they manage their business these days, but I have old bitterness towards them from back when I worked in a nursery. They sent us an entire shipment of roses with failing grafts and accused us of killing them ourselves. We got roses from them every January for years and never had a problem. We lost a lot of money and customers that year.
But all is not lost! If you can't get roses in the ground in time for the heat, you can keep them in pots and well watered until the fall. Nobody loves a pot ghetto, but sometimes we just have to make do.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 3:32PM
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I have had a little difficulty with growers, especially from warm climates, who want to ship much too late in the season for me. When I specifically list our best shipping date, the end of March, they have complied. Only once have I had to explain my system and that was to a very conscientious grower. I used to say the 1st of April but then the roses would arrive a week or two later. The system I use is to place the potted roses in the angle between a North facing brick wall and a West facing brick wall on concrete. All this masonry helps retain daytime temperatures and minimize frost. It also keeps the plants in a bright but shady location, giving them time to acclimate after shipping. I can keep them there, moving them farther along the West wall as Spring advances, until about mid June when, if they haven't been planted, they get moved to grass and full sun. About this time it really heats up and they then need heat protection, not cold protection.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 5:44PM
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I think that the growers are worried about newbies who will kill plants through ignorance and then insist on replacements. Patient but firm insistence has worked for me.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 5:48PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I have had a problem before with shipping dates with the old map but since the new map has a much bigger darker green segment for zone 6a on the edge of Michigan that's helped. Although if you get out your magnifying glass and look really closely Metro Detroit is actually zone 6b. But on the old map most of Michigan was zone 5 or less so they assumed I was that zone when in fact it's always been zone 6 in the Detroit area. It's the warming effect of the lake that has a tempering on our weather.

My biggest beef with the maps is that they're so darn small! With technology and graphics what they are today you should be able to blow them up or something so you can read the dang things!

I don't know that there is any solution to the problem other than to stick to your guns and demand the correct shipping date for you or purchase elsewhere.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Desertgarden- NW Las Vegas Z9a @ 2300 f

Most of the suppliers seem to comply with my shipping request date. I had not ordered from J&P for well over a decade. I had actually ordered two roses, one in December, which should arrive any day now, and I attempted to add another rose to that order in early January. I was told that the order could not be combined with the one placed in December and shipment of the second rose would be a date outside of the recommended bare root planting season; I simply declined placing the order. I found an own-root one-gallon rose with Burlington:) This rose has been planted for almost two-weeks. I have yet to receive the first rose from J & P.

I do not know. Maybe I am being persnickety or something else â¦â¦. With satellites and all of the technology surrounding us; is it really that difficult to get it right? While this map is of no doubt useful, it obviously has errors. It could be that this problem just effects so few areas that it just does not matter????

Nonethelessâ¦. When are they going to make a better map!!! It is 2014.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 7:41PM
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Tessiess, SoCal Inland, 9b, 1272' elev

Try the interactive USDA plant hardiness zone map.


Here is a link that might be useful: Interactive USDA plant zone map

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 10:30PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Yes, do try the USDA map--it was changed about three years ago. More often that not the magazines I read and businesses I buy from are still using the old hardiness zone map. It's been three years now and they can't get with the program.I even informed one business more than a year ago, and they acknowleged that their map was the old one, but still have not changed it. We changed a whole zone, from 6 to 7, and I'll bet Las Vegas had the same situation, changing from 8 to 9. I can't believe how ill informed and lazy these businesses and publications are. Diane

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Desertgarden- NW Las Vegas Z9a @ 2300 f


Melissa, I like this map!, thank you. I stand corrected. The technology is there; but I can see where confusion is created. When I plug in my zip code using the non-interactive map, I am listed as being in zone 8b, which some suppliers seem to recognize as zone 8 . This could be what suppliers are doing; in fact I know that is what J&P does, they just plug a zip code into the USDA map and voila.

When I utilize the interactive map, I can click on my cross streets and actually all of the surrounding areas near my neighborhood for miles which are zone 9 too. It is likely that the mountainous areas miles away have the same zip code and thus impact the USDA zone?

Dianne, for the past 14 years, I have only known this area to be zone 9, and argued with J&P about 12 years ago regarding the same topic. I agree, and It can be frustrating.

I will continue to insist upon the correct shipment dates or decline order placement. Maybe someday soon, inconsistencies or whatever the issue is will be rectified. Rant over⦠thank you:)

This post was edited by desertgarden561 on Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 0:31

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 11:29PM
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It shouldn't be so difficult for you to get your roses when you want them. This is a classic case of mis-applied technology. The USDA map is designed to help growers decide if a plant will survive their colder winter temps. It is a hardiness map, and is "based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones." It doesn't tell you a thing about how hot or how early your summers are.

Using your hardiness zone for shipping roses might be a safe default business practice for many parts of the country- especially where there's a danger of a late frost- but it should be super easy to override the default. Most gardeners have a pretty good idea of what to expect from their (micro)climate, and are unlikely to blame the seller if they lose plants due to unusual weather.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 2:05PM
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Desertgarden- NW Las Vegas Z9a @ 2300 f


"It shouldn't be so difficult for you to get your roses when you want them".

It isn't. I have known my correct zone for many years and I insist upon shipping when I need the rose or the order is not placed. The zone listed impacts the date that some suppliers feel is appropriate for shipping bare-root and other roses. When bare root roses are planted is important in my climate, and I am "not" a pot ghetto lady; just lacking the required time and patience.

The USDA map is in direct conflict with theUSDA interactive map as it relates to where I am, and that I found to be a little annoying as order placements with suppliers often result in a shipping request by me that is different from their suggestion. This would not occur if these maps were consistent and accurate. I found it annoying, and the fact that this uncorrected error has persisted for well over a decadeâ¦.. But I am over itâ¦.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 6:20PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Zones have **NOTHING** to do with shipping dates. Anybody who is trying to think that is going to run into mental problems in rectifying the unrectifiable. For much of the country, latitude correlates better to planting time than zone.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 7:07PM
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Desertgarden- NW Las Vegas Z9a @ 2300 f


You could definitely have a conversation with the people at J& P and others who referenced my zip code on the USDA site, told me I was in zone 8 and thus shipping would be in March/April. They did not ask for my latitude, and I doubt that they looked up my latitude, (measurements of distance N, S, relative to the equator, used for mapping) The USDA Mapâ¦appears to simplify and organize areas by creating zones. Latitude/Zones are obviously interrelated, however I doubt that even giving a supplier part or all of my GPS coordinates which I could have provided in a heartbeat would have helped; it is a nice thought though.

My correct zone, 9, correlates with their shipping date for roses at the precise time I need them. So if making my zone accurate could have provided shipping dates according to their methodology consistent with what I need, while saving me breath and TIME⦠I am all for that..â¦

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:56PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Thanks for that one, Melissa! It is much easier to read!

Mad, I think you are so right. I like to watch the "greening" line as it moves up the country. You know where things have started to wake up and grow. My sister lives in Lexington, KY and while she is in the same zone I'm in everything starts to grow and bloom much earlier than it does here by 4 to 6 weeks depending on the year. Evenie just posted that it is already spring where she is in New Orleans and things have begun to grow. That line will start to move north and that's what I watch. Hopefully it will make it to Michigan around the beginning of April!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:56PM
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