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Is my USDA hardiness zone wrong?

Posted by Violet.West none (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 16:42

So, I moved from 79912 (El Paso TX) 12 miles away to 88008 (Santa Teresa, NM). According to the USDA hardiness zone website, I'm not in El Paso's 8b zone anymore --it's 7a.

But . . . I think it's wrong. It says 7a's average minimum temp is -15 degrees F. This really isn't so -- 8b's 15-20 degrees F is more common.

It's true that my move took me from the foothills to the valley, which I expect to make some difference, but I really don't think I'm in 7a.

I guess I'll have to ask the master gardeners around here, but have you experienced any errors or problems with the USDA maps?

And . . . y'all in the West, do you use the Sunset zones? I'm in Sunset Zone 10 for both zipcodes.

Also . ./rant/ . I hate the way GardenWeb has split its forums up into all those separate forums and no way to consolidate them, which is why I'm posting this question here in the landscape design, which is active, instead of the Southwest forum, which has barely any activity. /rant end/

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is my USDA hardiness zone wrong?

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 22:57

Cold air flows downhill and will collect in a valley, so the colder temperatures are entirely possible. When the cold are is flowing past, it doesn't affect the plants as much as the still pool of cold air in a valley. I looked at the Sunset description of zone 10 and it mentioned lows of -1 to -4F and 'dustings of snow'.

RE: Is my USDA hardiness zone wrong?

yeah, it snows here some, but not much. But it'll get down in the teens rarely.

In Feb. 2011 we had a "Big Freeze" which was a huge disaster (killed a lot of plants and trees, froze our power plant so the city didn't have heat, froze pipes so people didn't have water) -- but it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the temps were around 10 degrees F (not below zero). So I still think USDA zone 7a is too low.

RE: Is my USDA hardiness zone wrong?

I think zone 6 is -10 to 0 F. I have books, but I need a magnifying glass to see the fine print.

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