Changes in Hardiness Zones

WestEnder(z7 Atlanta GA)December 10, 2007

The latest issue of Progressive Farmer published some nice comparison maps of the 1990 and 2006 Hardiness Zones, which really laid it out and made it easy to see how drastic the change has been. I was searching online for copies of those maps to email to someone when I came across this great website of the Arbor Day Foundation, which shows the old map, the new map, and lets you go back and forth between the two to see what the differences are.

Although I knew we here in Atlanta had slid into Zone 8, I really had no idea that so many other entire state were also warming up so drastically. At Thanksgiving dinner in Ohio I was joking to my sister that she no longer needs to think about retiring to Georgia where it's warmer, because soon Ohio will be a nice warm retirement state itself. Looking at this map, I'm thinking maybe that could be true enough in another ten years.

Does this scare anybody else??

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardiness Zone Changes 1990-2006

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Don't be fooled. The 1990 map was an oddball, captured during a cold run of years.

1960 Map

2006 Map

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 6:36PM
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The map being promoted by the Arbor Day Foundation is the one prepared by the American Horticulture Society under a grant from the USDA in 2003.
It was not accepted by the USDA, which found it contained numerous errors.
The current USDA map, approved in 1990, is based on recorded temperatures during the period from 1974-1986, and remains the official Hardiness Zone map of the USDA.
All of the modern day record low temperatures in the Atlanta area were established during the decades of the 1960's, 1970's & 1980's, with the lowest temperatures ever recorded here, occuring during 2 nights, January 21 & 22, 1985. -8°F (ATL). -10°F (PDK) & -12°F (Stone Mtn).
Those 3 decades have been referred to as the; "Mini-Ice Age", by old-timers (my circle)!
Gardeners, like myself, have been "pushing-the-envelope" regarding plant hardiness, every since we turned our 1st shovel-full of soil. Often successful, some times-not!
If you find plants rated hardy only to USDA Zone 8 or 9 and you want to try your luck, why not? There are microclimates in every garden and with some protection, they could be successful.
IMO, the Hardinesss Zone map produced by the AHS & ADF are just pretty colored maps, nothing more, nothing less.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 8:27PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

'Does this scare anybody else??'

No, the ice storms up there scare me:)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 7:30PM
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