Saturday, March 5, 2011

Interactive plant hardiness zone map

I’m sure that you, as an avid gardener, know your plant hardiness zone. There are many websites that display your zone after you enter your zip code. Some may only give full zones, others may indicate subzones as well (e.g. 9b, my zone).

However, I just came across a site that beats all other hands down. It’s called PlantMaps.com, and it displays zone information for the USA, Canada, and the UK. What makes it so great is its ease of use and the way information is displayed. Using Google Maps technology, it lets you drill down as far as you like, even to street level, although that’s not very useful in this case.

For example, selecting the map for my home state of California I get this:

110304_plantmaps_ca

Using the zone boxes along the left and the top, I can display and hide zones as desired.

Entering my zip code results in a map with weather statistics:

110304_plantmaps_dav1

After I close the weather statistics, I see a map of my region with the zone overlay. I can then zoom in or out to see if I live close to a lower or higher zone.

For example, when I zoom out a couple of levels, I see that we’re surrounded by many different zones ranging from 7a to 10a. (In the following screenshot, the distance from the top of the map to the bottom is roughly 100 miles.)

110304_plantmaps_dav2

While I knew that San Francisco and Marin County were zone 10a, I had no idea that there was a small enclave of zone 10a northeast of Sacramento. It even encompasses parts of Woodland, our county seat, located about 10 miles to the north. I really can’t explain why it’s warmer there than here; it might be because of the moderating influence of the Sacramento River. I must admit that I have a bit of zone envy; I’d love to have the extra few degrees of protection zone 10a would give me :-).

110304_plantmaps_dav3

If this site sounds interesting to you, check it out yourself at http://www.plantmaps.com/index.php.

2 comments:

  1. Hey, I'm in 6a, but apparently live 1 block from 5b.

    What we need is a zone map with the resolution of the satellite imagery so I can see what microclimates I have in my yard. =)


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  2. With the proliferation of Internet-enabled personal weather stations, we'll have much more detailed (and differentiated) zone information in the future. I'm not sure how useful it will be, but for people loving weather statistics and maps (like me) it'll be fun.

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