Are people using their NEW, higher number zones for the Container count? Or the lower zone number they've "always been"?
I really want to use my new, higher number. Zone 6 sounds so Tropical!!!! LOL!
I have moved up to 6a from 5b....we still (even with the rough temps lately) haven't dipped below Zone 6.
You probably have an idea what you are in....
USDA has not issued a new hardiness zone map. What came out was a far more simple (in the algorithm it is based on) put out by the National Arbor Day Foundation. In addition it only used 15 years of weather data, which isn't long enough to truly taken into account the year-to-year fluctuations of minimum winter temperature. One oddball year can really skew the data with only 15 to average.
USDA is at work on a new Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which will use 30 years of data and be based on the most sophisitciated algorithm ever constructed.
I will be handling the release of the new map when it is ready later this year and I will post tot he garden web the same day as it is released tot he public.
As record cold settles in around me) I remind people that the USDA plant hardiness zones have not changed. What people saw around Christmas was a plant hardiness zone map done by the National Arbor Day Foundation. It was a very simplistically done map using only the last 15 years of weather data.
USDA is at work on an updated plant hardiness zone map. It is being done with the most sophisticated algorithm we've developed. It will also be based on 30 years of weather data as the scientists after much discussion decided 15 years was not enough to properly smooth out the fluctuations of year-to-year weather differences. With the shorter time period, a single weird year can cause too much shift.
When the new USDA map is finished later this year and I'm the one responsible for the release, I promise you the winter sowers will get the word and link at the same time as the major press.
With all due respect, Kimka, I see no benefit in "smoothing out" fluctuations. Hardiness zones are based on low temperatures, and their effects on plant life. If, during the past however many years, temperatures have once touched a level which kills plants, that alone should be the determinant of hardiness zone. Gardeners may feel free to test the limits of their zone, even to the extent of the affliction known as 'zone denial' but the zone definition should, in my opinion, be the potential low, and not the average low. This is why I lend no credence in my garden practices, to any hardiness zone maps. I find heat zones to be far more useful.
Okaaay. Welp, I turned in Zone 5.
With global warming, I doubt the USDA zones are accurate anymore and they do need to be re-calculated. But as Donn pointed out, one particularly cold or hot winter wouldn't stop me from trying something anyway, and just see what happens. This is especially true for an inexpensive hobby like WSing. I would give it more credence for something like a large expensive tree I want to purchase.
Also, as I read more about organic gardening and the soil food web, I rarely pull my annuals at the end of the season. If it's a hardy perennial a zone or 2 off from mine I figure there's always a chance it will survive for me. Worst case, I figure the roots can remain in the soil and be a food source for the soil organisms. Sounds like a win-win to me. So in the fall I cut the tops off things and compost and just leave the roots in place.