We’ve moved!


Somebody snuck in and moved our house farther south. According to this informative map of plant hardiness zones, I’m not living in Zone 4a — we’ve moved to the steamy, tropical zone 4b.

In 2012, the USDA classified Morris, Minn., as Zone 4a.
Back then, Morris’ coldest winter temperature was somewhere between -30 and -25 degrees Fahrenheit on average.

In 2023, the USDA reclassified Morris as Zone 4b.
Now, the lowest winter temperature is between -25 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit on average.

That’s because the new average minimum temperature in Morris is 1.6º F warmer than the previous average, from an earlier period.

Fascinating. My wife is the gardener in the family. I’ll have to suggest to her that maybe this is the year to plant mangoes, bananas, and pineapple rather than tomatoes and zucchini.

Your turn. Look up your zone and find out what climate change has done to your location.

Comments

  1. Bruce Fuentes says

    Here in Poplar, WI we have also moved from 4a to 4b. Our temp average went up 2.8F.

  2. Tethys says

    Yikes, the urban core is now zone 5, but the average increase is much higher. That’s because the new average minimum temperature in St. Paul is 4.7º F warmer than the previous average, from an earlier period.

    I would happily trade colder winters for the smoke choked air that fell on us yesterday and the various destructive insects that are proliferating. Viburnum beetles and Japanese beetles never used to survive that long hard freeze.

    I’m considering planting a sweet cherry and a nectarine tree now that the borers killed my Paper Birch.

  3. robro says

    Yes, our little sector has changed. What’s interesting to me is that the map shows the variegation of the zones here in Marin county. Coastal California is noted for its micro-climates because of the hills, proximity to the ocean and its marine layers, and so forth. Right now it’s a lovely foggy morning that’s clearing around Noon, and then foggy…and cool…tonight.

  4. tacitus says

    Here in Central Texas we’ve gone from hot summers to too fucking hot summers. Oh, and throw in the odd polar vortex to wreak havoc on our creaky power grid and foliage.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    The linked interactive map says Gainesville, FL, hasn’t changed zone since 2006, which I question. They apparently base their numbers on the coldest temp each winter, while I usually go by the time of the first freeze – and ours have been steadily creeping backwards (to January or February, most years).

    When I first moved to this area in 1986, first freezes typically occurred in late November. Garden.org now rates that as a less-than-10% chance, but also predicts greater-than-90% odds of frost by Dec 31 – a stat that does not align with my recent experience (then again, I live close by a large lake, atypical for this zip code).

  6. birgerjohansson says

    A lot of air will come in over the hottest zones from the gulf of Mexico.
    I am told the South is plauged by oppressively high humidity in summer.
    I wonder if it would be possible to extract water direcltly from the air at large scale next time there is a drought?

  7. NitricAcid says

    I remember looking at my mother’s seed catalogues, getting really excited about the neat fruits we could grow, until she explained what “3b” meant.

  8. magistramarla says

    No change at all here in Monterey, CA.
    My rosebushes produced their first blooms in February this year.
    They will continue to produce blooms until late October or early November.
    I love California!

  9. unclefrogy says

    Its going in the wrong direction that is for sure.
    It ain’t very cold in So. Cal. any way but I have think I have noticed the positive movement, this last winter just did not have a many nights that were real cold (comparatively). out here I worry about the transition periods they have been rather cold then hot early then cold again then cool then warming plays hell on plants that like dormancy weeds seem to do just fine however even better maybe.

  10. StevoR says

    35 degrees South, South Australia. meditterean Clmate atleats from what iknow and not appearing in this USoA only map thingy here.

    I do know we’ve had zero or next to zero rain for months now – almost all year and certainly all Autumn and for a nearly fifty day stint before that and that’s very unusual. Even for the driest state inthe driest continent. (Antarctica aside.) Also anomalously high ocean temperatures surrounding us here inAustralia and globe wide and we’re on La Nina watch now for the 4th time in 65 years or so :

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-14/bureau-of-meteorology-declares-la-nina-watch/103604024

  11. StevoR says

    Huh. I did think it was actually worse. Of course, I’m not a farmer – don’t envy them. No farming subsidies in Oz :

    Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Jonathan Pollock said the past three months were the driest on record for parts of the Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula and Mid North.”That’s the driest on record for that February to April period with data going all the way back to 1900,” Mr Pollock said. “We did get some above-average rainfall back in January, but since then it’s been drier than average, and that looks set to continue in the short term.” Since August, areas considered in rainfall deficiency have increased across parts of the state’s Upper and Lower South East, Kangaroo Island, Lower Eyre Peninsula, West Coast, Mid North and Flinders districts.

    Source : https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2024-05-10/dry-start-to-year-for-sa-farmers-with-severe-rainfall-deficiency/103830440

    Not sure about the Mt Lofty Ranges / Adelaide Hills where I live but certainly feels far drier than I can remember and the Bush and garden’s here have been suffering from it.

    Oh and see also :

    Adelaide has recorded one of its driest February to April periods in over a century, according to recent weather data. It comes as high atmospheric pressure continues to influence weather patterns in southern Australia, preventing the onset of typical autumnal rainfall.

    Data from Adelaide’s primary weather station at West Terrace/ngayirdapira showed Adelaide received only 12mm of rainfall during April. This follows an extraordinarily dry March, where only 3mm of rain was recorded, as well as a rainless February. Altogether, the rainfall totalled just 15mm over these three months. This means Adelaide has experienced the driest start to the year since 1923, and the fourth driest February to April period since records began in 1839. The record for the lowest rainfall was set in 1923 when only 3.1mm of rain was recorded.

    Source : https://glamadelaide.com.au/adelaide-faces-historic-dry-spell-driest-february-april-stretch-in-over-a-century/

    Plus :

    All of South Australia has warmed since 1910. Average annual temperature has increased by 1.6 °C since 1910.
    Since 1900, winter rainfall has declined and summer rainfall has increased over most of southern Australia. There has been a persistent decline in rainfall in the state’s southern agricultural areas1.
    The number of days with dangerous weather conditions for bushfires has increased across the region.

    Source : https://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/changing-climate/state-climate-statements/south-australia/

    Not exactly a specific change in climate zone but still.

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