HARDINESS ZONE MAP
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With the climate changes, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zone Map is not at all reliable.
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map was revised in 1990 and as every gardener knows, there is a warming trend marching northward throughout the country. The American Horticultural Society revised the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map in 2003 at the request of USDA but when submitted, the USDA rejected it because there was such a dramatic change in the climatic condition as compared to the 1990 map. The USDA decided they will do a change based on 30 years data. But averaging the data for such a long period of time will not reflect the recent warming phenomenon. By doing this, it will also decrease the liability for the nursery crop insurance program. It is interesting to know that the USDA Risk Management Agency operates in partnership with the private insurance companies.
Meanwhile, the National Arbor Day Foundation issued its own Hardiness Zone Map in 2006 which is a better guide for us gardeners because it is based on data from 1990 to 2004.