Ask a Question forum: zoning question

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Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4b)
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mnmat
Feb 27, 2017 2:01 PM CST
I see members in other countries post their zones.

I'm wondering if our zones are comparative to other countries zones. Is the climate in zone 4b here in the US the same climate zone 4b in the UK, Australia or Japan?

Who sets the zones in other countries?

Scratching my head. . .
Meri
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Feb 27, 2017 2:09 PM CST
As far as I know they are calculated to be equivalent to the USDA zone system so that we can all be roughly on the same page, i.e. the average annual extreme minimum (but not the lowest ever) temperature. Canada has its own system, for example, which takes more into account than minimum winter temperature, but in forums like this we usually use the USDA equivalent for Canada. But when it comes down to it Zone 4b in different areas even within the US is still not the same climate.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Feb 27, 2017 4:05 PM CST
I agree The USDA zones are based on minimum temperatures. But two places with the same minimum temperature may not even be recognizable as the same zone. It doesn't account for high temperatures or average rain/snow fall.

I live in Zone 6 where our annual rainfall is less than 8 inches and our summer highs are in the upper 90's to low 100's. Harrisburg, PA is also in zone 6 but their average rainfall is over 40 inches annually and their summer highs are in the mid-80's.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Feb 27, 2017 5:49 PM CST
Some did the research for certain other countries and posted here:
http://www.edible-landscape-de...
(Not sure if the edible landscape is the same as our NGA member with a similar name.)
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4b)
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mnmat
Mar 2, 2017 6:51 PM CST
Thanks guys! I'm just glad I'm not the one trying to figure this all out! Hilarious!
Meri
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 2, 2017 8:35 PM CST
Meri, the bottom line is that zone designations are really only guidelines and were intended for use by farmers, not necessarily home gardeners who grow a huge variety of different plants. They're only useful to tell if a given plant MAY survive the "average" winter where you are. For you in zone 4 that's much more use than say people in zone 8 which extends just about all the way around the perimeter of the US and even up into Canada on the west coast.

Zones don't tell you anything about humidity - there are zone 8 areas that are sub-tropical, semi-desert, and rainforest in the Pac. Northwest for instance. They don't take into account the intensity of the sun, or how long (how many days on average) you will have the coldest weather. No info about soil conditions, average rainfall per year etc. either.

Zones really aren't that much use to your average gardener. In my opinion.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 2, 2017 8:43 PM CST
sorry, this post duplicated.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Mar 3, 2017 5:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Liz Shaw
Gilbert, AZ (Sunset Zone 13) (Zone 9a)
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LizDTM
Mar 3, 2017 5:27 PM CST
Elaine is right! Here's an example of how crazy zones are. Elaine is in Florida, which is zone 9b. Glendale Arizona (just down the road from me) is also Zone 9b. There is no comparison. We will spend our summer here at about 10% humidity with average high temps between 105 and 110, with days as high as 122! Elaine, in Florida, is going to have a completely different experience. For sure, she will be breathing much more humid air, and while her heat index will be comparable, the temps will not. That why I think the zones are crazy.

I use the Sunset zones, which are for the Western US. I'm in zone 13. This is a much more reliable indicator of what plants will thrive where I live. 9a means nothing to me. I wish this site gave us the option of adding the Sunset zones to our profile.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 3, 2017 5:34 PM CST
I figured out how to abbreviate to include sunset zone information so it fits in the upper right corner of my posts.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Mar 3, 2017 8:02 PM CST
Here on the west coast, we have way to many micro climates to use USDA zones, so I always rely on the Sunset zones. They have them for the East coast too.
Name: Liz Shaw
Gilbert, AZ (Sunset Zone 13) (Zone 9a)
Arizona Gardener
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Southwest Gardening Region: Arizona Ponds Aquaponics Hydroponics
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LizDTM
Mar 3, 2017 8:34 PM CST
Greene! What a great idea! Hurray! I did it for mine as well.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -Anaïs Nin
Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4b)
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mnmat
Mar 4, 2017 10:19 AM CST
I was in San Jose, CA for 30 years then moved up to Chico, CA for 20 or so years. The Sunset Garden Book was my garden Bible! When I moved to Minnesota I didn't have a clue what to plant! I was lost without my bible. It took a lot of library hours to get going again. This was before I had internet. I resisted until 1999 or so but my 2 sisters kept haranguing me about getting email so we could talk without long distance charges. MN, Kansas and CA
Meri
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Mar 5, 2017 7:22 AM CST
I don't pay much attention to zone descriptions 100+ miles away. Freezing may be the same, but rainfall and variation in temperature is not. MD is in the rainshadow of the Appalacians; Kentucky is not. Yet we both have the same minimum Winter temps.

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