As a new planting season begins, be sure that you are planting for the appropriate zone. As we were just renamed as a zone 6, be mindful of our winters and plan accordingly.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones
These zones are mapped across the U.S. and Canada to give us a sense of which plants will thrive in which area. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map (PHZM) is the standard that growers, landscapers and gardeners can determine which plants are most likely to thrive in a particular area. This map has been developing for over 30 years with new data and observations. It is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10 degree F zones with a 5 degree distinction within the range.
Metro Detroit is in zones 6a and 6b, in the past it has been in zone 5. Recent changes in the map are attributed to more accurate temperature measurements, and a system that takes into account a location’s closeness to bodies of water, elevation, and other micro-climate effects. Visit the map here: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
Micro-Climates and Other Factors
The USDA PHZM is the most accurate zone map to date. However, there are still micro-climates that are too small to show up on the map. Micro-climates, are fine-scale climate variations, like hot spots caused by blacktop and concrete or cool spots caused by heavy forestation, hills and valleys. As we would love to start planting for zone 6, we recommend trialing these plants in more sheltered locations in the yard. Your own garden may have very localized micro-climates. Your yard can be somewhat warmer or cooler than the surrounding area because it is sheltered or exposed. You might have pockets within your garden that are warmer or cooler than the general zone for your area or for the rest of your yard, such as a sheltered area in front of a south-facing wall or a low spot where cold air pools first.
All PHZMs are just guides. They are based on the average lowest temperatures, not the lowest ever. Gardeners need to keep that in mind and understand that past weather records cannot be a guarantee for future variation in weather.
Other factors that contribute to the success or failure of plants are wind, soil conditions, moisture, humidity, pollution, snow, and winter sunshine can greatly affect the survival of plants. The way plants are placed in the landscape, how they are planted, and their size and health might also influence their survival.
Gardening in a Zone 6 Climate
Read more at Gardening Know How: Zone 6 Growing Tips: What Are The Best Plants For Zone 6 https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/gardening-by-zone/zone-6/plants-for-zone-6.htm
The best tip? Ask for our help. The Four Seasons Design Team is ready to plan the landscape of your dreams. And we are happy to help your dreams become reality.
We are proud to have been trusted by Michigan homeowners for over 35 years. To learn more about our professional landscaping services, click here. To view our portfolio of custom landscape design projects, visit this link. And please, don’t be shy to get in touch to learn more about our custom landscape design and build services. We would love to help you create your own little piece of paradise in Michigan.