Hardiness Zones

An important system of climate zones used for gardeners is that developed and maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The zones have been developed in cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS). These zones have been called hardiness zones as well as climate zones. They are based upon 60 years of accumulated weather data recording wintertime temperatures. The hardiness zones are bands that straddle the North American continent including both the United States and Canada.

Maps of the hardiness zones are found on most packages of flower or vegetable seeds sold by professional growers in the United States. They are also put onto the tags that are tied to trees and shrubs or other plants sold by gardening centers or by professional nurseries. Similar standards have been applied in Europe and on other continents. When gardeners, landscapers, farmers, and others know their hardiness zones, they are able to choose more wisely plants that will flourish in that zone.

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