Plant hardiness zones are important for gardeners, landscapers, and arborists alike. They indicate the minimum temperatures a plant can withstand without damage in any given geographic area.
Knowing your plant’s hardiness zone can help you determine which plants will grow best in your climate, allowing you to achieve the best results with minimal effort. That’s why our certified arborist would like to provide you with the following Olympia tree care guide about plant hardiness zones, how they’re determined, and why they’re important for successful gardening.
What are Hardiness Zones?
Hardiness zones are a system developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that divides the country into 13 different zones based on average winter temperatures.
Each zone is assigned a number from one to 13, with one being the coldest and 13 being the warmest.
The USDA plant hardiness zones map is intended for plants in outdoor landscapes and gardens. Indoor plants or those planted in greenhouses are not taken into consideration when creating this map.
In order to determine which zone plants can survive in, the USDA considers minimum temperature records over an extended period of time.
For example, if a region’s recorded winter low temperatures average between -20°F (-28.9°C) and 0°F (-17.8°C), it will be classified as Zone 4. This information creates a detailed, interactive map that gardeners can consult to determine which plants are suitable for their region.
Plant hardiness zones are important factors when deciding which plants to incorporate into your garden or landscaping project.
Plants, like people, have particular environmental needs and preferences, and understanding the plant’s hardiness zone can help you find those best suited for your climate.
Knowing the right zone for a specific type of plant can also prevent costly mistakes and save you time in the long run by ensuring you don’t purchase plants that won’t survive where they’re planted.
Your local nursery or garden center may also refer to hardiness zones when offering advice on what plants to purchase.
Taking all this into account, plant hardiness zones are an important tool for any gardener or landscaper looking to achieve successful results with minimal effort.
What Information Do Hardiness Zones Withhold?
Although hardiness zones are an invaluable tool for gardening, they do not consider other environmental factors like humidity, soil quality and drainage, and local weather patterns.
These can all have a significant impact on the survival of plants in any given area. For example, if you live in a colder climate but one that experiences warm summers with heavy rainfalls, your zone may be much higher than what’s indicated on the map.
Therefore, it is important to understand the unique needs of each plant species before selecting which ones to include in your garden or landscape. This information can usually be found online or at your local nursery or garden center.
Additionally, hardiness zones are generally intended only for outdoor gardens and landscaping. Indoor plants typically have different requirements, and the USDA plant hardiness map does not take them into consideration when designing its zones.
Finally, keep in mind that if you live close to the border between two different zones—say Zone 5 and 6—it’s possible for a plant to survive in either zone depending on local weather patterns.
In conclusion, plant hardiness zones are an important tool for gardeners and landscapers alike, but they do not provide all of the information necessary to create successful gardens or landscapes.
How Arborists Use Plant Hardiness Zones
Arborists, or tree specialists, are also able to take advantage of the USDA’s plant hardiness zones. By understanding a particular area’s climate and its individual hardiness zone, arborists can determine the right trees for that specific region and account for any additional factors that may affect their survival.
For example, they’ll consider soil quality, local weather patterns, and drainage when selecting trees. This ensures that chosen species will not only survive but thrive in their environment.
In addition to using hardiness zones as a guide for choosing trees, arborists will often use them to develop maintenance plans for existing trees in an area.
Olympia Tree Care
By understanding the plant hardiness zones for your region, arborists can help ensure that existing trees are well taken care of with regular maintenance.
At Westcoast Tree Care, our certified arborists provide Olympia tree care services by developing comprehensive tree maintenance plans based on the USDA’s plant hardiness zones. If you would like more information or to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation quote for any of our services, fill out our online form or give us a call at 1.800.767.8733 today.