If you're in a "new" zone, are you trying anything new?

Coon Rapids, MN(Zone 4b)

I went from zone 4a to zone 4b on the new USDA plant hardiness zone map. I'm thinking of creating some micro-climate areas and experimenting with some marginally zone 4 hardy plants. Does anyone else have plans to do something similar?

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Just because USDA has some new/better data doesnt really change the way things are where you are. Haven't you already tried pushing the limits on what will grow there? I thought every one does that already. Best to go by your own experience. But, if you have not been experiminting w/ micro climates (protected sites) do so. It can be very interesting. I have things that no one else has within 100 miles of my house and they are doing well. Of course, not everyone wants those things, maybe? The change in their listings does not reflect global warming - just better data.

This message was edited Apr 30, 2012 3:02 PM

Coon Rapids, MN(Zone 4b)

I wasn't trying to start a debate on climate change. But USDA's data does show that temperatures in my area are warmer than they were 20 years ago. This has spurred me to reassess what might be worth trying -- including some plants that I had previously ruled out. As interesting as it can be to push the limits, it can also be expensive, so the data on temperature trends enters the equation.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I've been trying to 'push it' with Agastaches. that is really it. So far, i've got a few that are zone6 that are surviving in my zone5. I think I have a few zone 7's that I may try this year.

Hobart, IN

My "official" zone didn't change that much but I do try to push it on the south side of the house a bit but not brave enough to go beyond zone 6 plants.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I possibly went from an "a" to a "b"
I also think with the hugely mild winter we had last year... more survived than normally would have.
I did lose a Pink Pop though ... but i do think it was 3 yrs old, so maybe it's a short lived Agastache.
I've seen it rated anywhere from zone8 to 6.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I too went from an "a" to a "b". So I tested it by not protecting some plants that I felt necessary to protect before, and I found that it was true. Of course, we did have a mild winter so things were not as beaten down. I didn't protect some zone 6 plants - and they all did very well.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Donna... i can not even recall the last brutal winter we have had. you and I are only about 15-20 mins apart.
I really didnt get into plants until I found DG which was in 06 or 07. and I honestly can not recall losing any due to the super cold.
though i feel last yr was a fluke.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Well another years ago story this is. In 1970 I lived 40 miles further south and was in zone 5.All this time later I am in zone 6 nearly 7 during the most recent decade . So as it as things change as they do I will always be trying to grow plants right to the edge of possibility

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

What's interesting is that the new maps have me at 5b, but my change of address on Dave's defaults to a. I remember lots of winters when, with the wind chill, it was 20 below or colder. I'm a runner, and I run in the winter, and I remember it being, with the wind chill, -38 at the lakefront . And staying near buildings for the shelter. I don't think we reached -10 last year.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

I have always been told that wind chill numbers only apply to naked (unprotected skin) people and not to plants, cars and such.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I didn't know that. It's good information.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Hey, we are all human and it is easy to make it sound really cold when mentioning our weather to someone somewhere else by using wind chill instead of the real temp.

Hobart, IN

Hmmm- would the wind chill factor have any correlation to the desiccating effect of the cold wind on plants?
Kind of a zone question here - my Hydrangea 'Tardiva' is finally going to bloom this year for the first time after being in the ground (3 different spots) for 15 years. Usually it suffers from the winter die-back but maybe because we had the mild winter, it kept most of the buds. I bought this plant because it's supposed to be pretty hardy here but it's never taken off like other Hydrangeas.

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/windchill/windchillglossary.shtml

Wind chill really only affects people and animals, not trees and such.

Coon Rapids, MN(Zone 4b)

The wind may dry out your hydrangeas, but that's not the same as wind chill; a 15 mph wind at -10 degrees will have roughly the same dessicating effect as a 15 mph wind at 0 degrees. But the cumulative stress of cold and wind can be harder on a plant than either cold or wind alone, so while it's not wind chill, cold and wind together can create problems. If you keep your Tardiva well watered up until the ground freezes hard, it might help with your die-back.

Hobart, IN

I will definitely keep that in mind as we wind down into fall again. I did feed it with an all-natural higher phos fertilizer a couple of days ago so hopefully it'll be a little healthier going into the next winter. As a rule, I don't fertilize much unless I know the plants are real fertilizer lovers (like Astilbe).

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

I went from a to b; 5 years ago I planted a glossy Abelia then, looking it up, found it is only hardy to zone 6. The darn thing is bigger than I am and my hubby has given it shorter arms for it was grabbing us as we walked by on the sidewalk. I am forever trying to push the zones any way and managed for 3 years to keep Alstromeria alive. But it didn't make it this year, even with the mild winter we'd had. I will still keep zone pushing though no matter what the hardiness map tells me.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Officially a 5b here and I am always at something that shouldn't be with the plants. You can't prove that zone to me from temperature.

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