In the last blog, we discussed how the idea of hardiness zones developed and, in particular, what zones are included in the state of Florida. It was noted that the whole United States is divided into hardiness zones, with numbers 1 through 10. The numbers indicate how cold each zone gets during a typical year, the smaller the number, the colder the zone. Hardiness Zone Maps published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, and divided into 10, degree Fahrenheit zones. Key West is number 10, the only zone with no frost at all and places like North Dakota and Maine are zone 1 as they have an extremely cold climate. Key West has low temperatures from 40 degrees F to 60 degrees F while North Dakota and most of Maine have winter temperatures from -60 degrees F to -55 degrees F. Thus, it is easy to see why a delicate orchid would not survive in Maine and a hearty Northern Pine would not like Key West. While the zones reflect most temperature situations, such land formations as hills, valleys, and mountains can influence the actual hardiness temperature of an area and need to be factored in when determining if a particular plant or tree will do well in the desired area.
Wherever a person lives will determine what variety of plants and trees will do the best in that area. When researching information regarding what to plant in your area, you will usually find the hardiness zone listed. Sometimes a plant will do well in more than one zone, but other factors such as rainfall, wind, humidity, heat, and soil type will rule out one zone or the other. For today’s gardeners, the internet is a wealth of information regarding what plants need for optimum growth in the area in which you live. You can also check with your local plant nursery for helpful planting hints.
Another way the Hardiness Zone Map can be of help is in knowing what time of year to plant flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables. If you go online and check at what point the temperatures on the map are in effect, you can get a good idea of when you should plant. Again, check the specifications for what you want to plant to determine which temperatures are best for beginning plants or replanting. For example, you wouldn’t want to plant flowers needing minimum temperatures no lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit in a month noted for temperatures in the 40s. In other words, what months the low temperatures are expected will help determine the best time to plant.
Gardening is a wonderful adventure for someone enjoying the beauty of nature. It is a great way to get exercise and to gain a sense of achievement and self-pride. If you are interested in healthy living, growing your own fruits and vegetables is the best way to be sure the produce you eat is genuinely organic. If you live in or near Ocala, Florida, Best Cuts Lawn and Landscaping has lots of good ideas about when, where, and how to plant whatever you are hoping for in your yard and garden. They are also prepared to help you do the work when needed. Just give Best Cuts a call at (352) 216-0512 for answers to your questions and concerns and for a free estimate when you need their help.