Is Knoxville zone 6b or 7?

gretchenanneJuly 30, 2007

I cannot tell on the map! Thanks--G

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justintn_z7(7)

I found that when I lived off of Western ave it was more of a zone 7, 7b ish. The weather pattern around knoxville is weird!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 9:44PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Gretchenanne, believe it or not, the answer to your question is somewhat complicated.

Officially and according to the USDA map, we're in 6b. However, with recent weather changes brought about most likely as a result of global warming (long story, discussed here previously), the city of Knoxville is more like zone 8a. Many places near Knoxville are around 7b.

No one really knows what the future will bring. Long term weather patterns are impossible to predict with any certainty. This is another variable to consider with trees or plants that are expected to be around for years.

There are also local/micro climates and heat island to consider. An example of a relatively large heat island is Knoxville. Average low temperatures in the inner city area are consistently higher than those in the more rural areas surrounding the city. Another and smaller example would be a hot south facing brick or rock wall.

If you see a plant you want that's hardy to zone 7a, you'd likely be safe to assume a high likelihood of longterm survival. If you want to be more adventurous, try plants with hardiness ratings of 7b or 8a. If you really want to go out on a limb, and with the right conditions (ex. micro climate, heavy mulch, etc.), you may want to chance an 8b plant.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 10:03PM
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gretchenanne

Very interesting--thanks. I write a lot of national gardening articles and in talking with one of my editors he asked my zone. I've lived in Knoxville 1 1/2 years and told him, I honestly am not sure, but I stick with 6b to be safe. However, I live near the center of the city so could probably go up.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 7:22AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Gretchenanne, if you don't mind me prying a bit, who do you write for? I'm wondering if I have seen your work. Are you articles usually about general topics or do you have a particular specialty? Tell us more, inquiring minds want to know. LOL.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 2:18PM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

The USDA zone map is obsolete. If you live near the city, you're 7b. Outside of metro area, 7a. Show me proof that I'm wrong and I will rescind. Myself and many others have been growing 7a and 7b plants in Knoxville for quite a while. Ask Intimidator.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 4:20PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Myrtleoak, did you mis-read the conversation above?

Oh and, BTW, your ratings for the current situation are probably slightly conservative.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 5:02PM
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gretchenanne

brandon7, I write food/home/garden pieces for magazines. Some you've heard of like Organic Gardening, Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV.com, etc. Others are custom publications like Lowe's Garden Club magazine. I like writing about edibles and profiling gardeners and their gardens, but will take anything that comes my way related to my specialties.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 7:18PM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

I still love you brandon7:)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:34AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Myrtleoak, I thought that maybe you misread what someone had written because you said "Show me proof that I'm wrong and I will rescind", but what you said didn't really disagree with what anyone else had said. It sounded to me like you thought someone was taking the opposite view. Did you mean something else?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:28PM
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gretchenanne

I think myrtleoak meant the USDA map, or at least that's how I read her post.

And one more thing about writing gardening article for national publications--it's completely different than actually gardening in your own zone, because so much of what you say has to be generic and cover so many areas, that in the end it's not at all helpful to what you want to do in your own backyard.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:36PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Hmmm, maybe I just don't understand the point she was trying to make, or maybe I am misreading the tone of what she said. I'm trying to understand what she meant and my perception of her being defensive.

What I was saying about the current situation not matching the official USDA zone map seemed to be in general agreement with what she said, but it seemed to me that she thought someone was, or would, challange what she said.

Back to the writing...How'd you get into writing gardening articles? It sounds like an awesome deal to have a company or publication pay you to tour gardens and talk to gardeners with notable gardens.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 2:50PM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

brandon7, I was wasn't addressing you, just theoretical naysayers in general. We have discussed the issue before in some detail and, in fact, are more or less in agreement. Grethenanne, I brought up an interesting point in a prior thread. Zones were moved down considerably following several very cold winters in the early 80's. Remember when Florida orange growers suffered HUGE loses (84?)? Prior to this, Knoxville was very safely in zone 7. The update reflected these very cold winters (Wilmington, NC in zone 7?!? The same Wilmington with Spanish moss covered live oaks and trunked palmettos?! Trunked palmettos (not s. minor) defoliate at around 15(?) degrees. Most experts seems to agree that the USDA is at least 1/2 zone too conservative. Also, many publications that I have read agree that suburban and especially urban conditions add at least 1/2 zone (also decent-sized bodies of water). You know all the pampas grass you see planted around town? Zone 7b. Cannas? 7b. Atlas and Deodar Cedars? 7a. Figs? 7a. Elephant Ears? 7b. Indian Hawthorn? 7a (at least). Cast Iron Plant? 7b. Weeping Yaupon holly? 7a. Acuba? 7a. Camellia sasanqua and japonica? 7a-7b (varies with variety, I think). Spanish Bayonnet? 7a. Oak Leaf hydrangea? 7a. Cleyera? 7a. Don't miss out on the increased selection of gardening in zone 7:)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 2:53AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Myrtleoak, I doubt you will find anyone that thinks the zone chart is currently correct. If you do, we'll all gang up on them. (-;

One of the problems with updating the zone chart is that we are currently in such a changing situation. Many areas are getting progressively warmer, a few are getting cooler, and weather patterns are changing almost everywhere. We've not gone back to the older zone charts, but are in new territory. There are many other reasons the "experts" gives, but that's one of them.

Here's something to consider related to hardiness zones. I know that the warm period followed by the killer frost this year was unusual, but I am wondering if we are likely to see more of them. The cold snap wasn't the unusual thing; it was the warm period before that. Global warming effects are warming the average winter temperatures in this part of the country more each year. If we were to see this start to develop as a trend, imagine (after taking a tranquilizer) what that would do to our climate zone.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 4:39PM
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