The Q&A Archives: Zones and Elevation

Question: We live to the north, outside of the town of Ozark in Arkansas. Our farm is at 1800 ft elevation. Although, I figure we are in zone 6, does this elevation make and difference in how to plan my garden or the plants I select?

Answer: Actually, assuming you live in the same zip code you entered on your question (72949) you are in USDA zone 7. A little warmer than you thought. Microclimates can vary greatly based on elevation...specifically location in relationship to mountain ranges, etc. All of these factors would certainly affect your plant selections and growing practices. Although you aren't technically "west", you may find it interesting to know that many western gardeners (because elevation becomes more and moreof a factor as you move westward) use Sunset zones--described in detail in the Sunset Western Garden Book (Kathleen N. Brenzel, ed., Sunset Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA, 1995). Their system of determining zones is based on lots of factors--not just minimum temperatures--and some feel it is more useful in choosing plants that will thrive in your region. Perhaps you could look for the book at your local library to see if it is helpful to your situation.

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