what would I gain/lose moving from MD to NH (z5b)

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)July 9, 2014

For several reasons, including traffic, housing costs, and family, my DW and I are looking at leaving the DC/Baltimore area. I have a similar post at the Trees forum..

One area we may consider is the area around Nashua, NH as well as the part of MA closest to it. We're up here visiting family right now. This is a zone 5B area, with similar temps to Akron, OH where I used to live, but somewhat higher precipitation (47" vs. about 39").

Nashua itself is zone 5B, with all-time record lows in the -20ish range, Avg Jan temps 32/12 and avg July temps 82/59. The cooler summers (with somewhat lower overall incidence of drought) probably add some benefit for many trees.

The other area would be around SE PA - which is similar enough to where I am now that I'm not as concerned from a gardening perspective.

While moving somewhere a zone and a half colder means I "lose" some plants, I also think my chances improve for others, and that's the discussion I'm trying to start. I'll use Nashua as the specific area, but could be anywhere between Lowell, MA and Manchester, NH,

Some trees I like and want some feedback on, plus others I may be missing:

I assume I would have little/no chance with:

Cryptomeria (?)
Cedrus - I assume I mostly "lose" Cedrus in NH. Might be able to pull off C. libani var stenocoma, and possibly C. deodara Patkia cultivars like "Karl Fuchs" - can anyone with experience comment?

I probably gain:

Abies - several Abies that are marginal in MD might be OK here. I've seen a fair number of A. concolor that look good, most of them do vs only a few decent looking ones in MD. What are good Abies species in New England in a z5B area?

Pseudotsuga - yes/no??

Picea - I think P. pungens, englemanii, omorika, all would do better compared to MD...

Larix - assume all species are ok, whereas they can be iffy long term in MD.

A wash?

Taxodium distichum and Metasequoia are said to be zone 5 hardy, but some people have seen damage in those zones.

What would YOU take advantage of if making such a move?

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Wed, Jul 9, 14 at 10:29

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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Yeah I've known many people to leave the DC area. Arguably I did but my situation was unique to say the least. The interesting thing is most of them move further south, or way out west. Other than Boston* which is growing for some reason, I don't think there's much net migration into New England or upstate NY. (* probably as an alternative to NYC, which is growing too, but is, well, NYC. $3000 a month for a place the size of my master bedroom)

"Larix - assume all species are ok" actually you might lose L. mastersiana, or at least some ecotypes of it which probably occur in zn 8 regions of China. But no great loss if you can grow the others.

I think the big picture is: on a "is it easy to garden" scale, you probably gain something if you want to grow plants that are already hardy. I'm not going to go investigate this, but I suspect the SD of rainfall is lower in New England, droughts, when they occur, are more manageable, heat waves, much less likely and not as bad etc. If you plant everything solidly zn 5, you have nothing to worry about. However in the absolute sense of "how many species can I grow", well, of course, you lose a lot. Almost all broadleaved evergreens beside the hardiest rhododendrons for example. And you don't really gain a great deal because sure, the milder summers might permit you to grow a few more things, many things that need mild summers are in fact bare _hardy_ in zn 7 DC/Balto. For example, you could probably grow European Sorbus whereas we could not. But for every 1 such plant, 10 other plants that need cool summers and are common in NW European gardens would find NH much too cold. Of course I don't recall you actually posting much about those kind of plants. If conifers and conifers only were strictly my passion, and nothing else mattered in terms of where I lived, I think I'd be better off in NH.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Wed, Jul 9, 14 at 13:01

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:58PM
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Based on the list you provided, I think you will be in good shape. Even better shape if you moved to Lowell, as it bumps you into 6a. Your Abies will appreciate the cooler night time temperatures, Picea, especially engelmanii & omorika will appreciated the cooler temps also.

Only the cold-hardy Cedrus originating from the mountains of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. 'Eiswinter', 'Eisregen' and 'Karl Fuchs' will probably survive 5b. In 6a, you could probably pull of Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' or 'Glauca Pendula' and maybe a few others.

One real benefit to NH is that it's cold enough that the Wholly Adelgid's cannot survive! Start building up your Tsuga collection. Also, Birch trees including the ultra white Himalayan birch do exceptionally well there, but suffer in MA.

David is right, in 5b you will lose most broadleaf evergreens. In 6a, you probably would do alright, except in winter like this last one. Even in my 6b I had heavy damage to my holly bush's and some burn on Rhodies.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:21PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I would expect only a few Rhodies, maybe American Holly are about the only BLE I could choose from.

I do think Fagus sylvatica is a better bet if I move north, as is Pinus resinosa (my favorite species pine).

Acer palmatum might get dicey.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:16PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Someone on the Trees forum brought up the sandy soils...is that something that you think negates the slightly higher rainfall?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:18PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I will admit...seeing the huge Acer saccharums and many sizable and still gorgeous Abies concolors almost sells me on the area.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:31PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Remember much of New England was once farmed instead of forested...when they had a chance they all moved to the better soils and sunnier climates of the midwest. But I'm not sure "poor soil" is, again.. considering the type of plants you seem to like, actually a bad thing. There are conifer collectors who have paid thousands of dollars to have what is essentially poor soil imported into their garden! It might mean you have to water things a little more at the beginning but it isn't going to have a long term impact, unless those sly New Englanders hookwink you into buying something that was, I dunno, a former rock quarry tip.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 9:03

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 6:07PM
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Keep in mind that we get a lot more snow than you do in MD. That makes up a lot of the precipitation. The benefit is that we often have snow cover from Jan-March which helps insulate and protect low grow and dwarf conifers. Then we get a lot of rain in the spring, dry summer, and moderate fall.

You could always plant the Jack Frost series of Acer.. always though it looked interesting

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:35PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

You will also gain a love for ice fishing in NH. I would have thought it too cold for Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, but the maps say they are there. As for Japanese Maples, my Inaba Shidare and Orangeola made it through this past bad winter without a hitch. The link is to a thread whaas made in the Maples Forum.


Here is a link that might be useful: Cold hardy JMs

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Tj, that's surprising, but you are right. Most of southern NH has known cases. Mid-North NH is indeed cold enough.

I think its a lot less prevalent though, because some of my family lives in southern NH and I walk a lot through the woods up there and their hemlock population looks strong on healthy. Much different scene than southern MA

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:29PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Any shot at a hardier Sequioadendron, like Hazel Smith up there?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:09AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Dude you gotta get the lot first, lol.

I updated that JM topic with a ton cultivars.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:38PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Oh, I know whaas!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:50PM
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'Glaucum' does better than 'Hazel Smith' in michigan, z 5b, but still needs some protection. Cryptomerias came through this last winter with some damage, but are bouncing back. Even the hardy cedrus cultivars died down to the snow line, here, with the big ones that had made it a decade or two dying, but we don't see -17 too often...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:59AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

You had Crytomerias survive this winter in MI zone 5b?

What size, what cultivar and what microclimate?

People can just barely get them to grow in a normal (meaning typical number of subzero days) 5b winter with limited winter sun and protected by a evergreen windbreak.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:39PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Re the Sequoiadendron, how does one "protect" a tree that eventually breaks the 200' mark? (Yes, I realize it likely won't get that big outside the native range).

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:39AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

A windscreen of other evergreens like Norway Spruce.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 12:22PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

So something that is definitely not marginal in hardiness...I get that, but won't the Sequoiadendron, being fast growing, outgrow its protectors?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 2:15PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Hair, the winters here are bad enough. New England is much worse. But you gotta do what you gotta do. I did see a large, beautiful baldcypress at Niagara Falls (Ontario), and the nearby northern red oaks & sugar maples were impressive.

Regarding hemlocks & woolly adelgids, the little suckers swept thru here a decade ago, but seem to have disappeared mostly. I was hiking at the drainage of nearby Rocky Gap Park lake where there are some stands of mature hemlocks (100' plus). Some dead skeletons showed, but the majority of them seemed mostly recovered. Nothing like the complete devastation in Md's Catocton park.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 10:17AM
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