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Re: REF: ?zones in Va, Pa, Md (zone map)

"You type in your zip code and they give you the Zone
pretty cool"

Yes it is, but I want to add a bit of caution to this.  In some regions it
doesn't work very well, because one zip code will include two, three, or
even four hardiness zones (and I mean the number, not the qualifying "a" or
"b")!  In most regions it is probably moderately accurate though.

However, for example.  If I type in the Zip Code for where I live (the post
office says Belen, NM, but I live 20 miles from the post offic) it will
pull up Zone 6b.  Belen is really Zone 7a or 7b (there may be some 6b cold
pockets near the river), and I am apparently Zone 8a (but the history of
readings is short - only six years), and the winters have all been
different, so averages are a perhaps still a bit off).

If I load any zip for Albuquerque (there are several) it comes up with Zone
7b.  However, some of the zips in Albuquerque are largely in USDA Zone 6b,
and some are partly in Zone 8a, many are entirely Zone 7a or 7b.  Some
parts of Albuquerque have healthy 10 or 12 ft Oleander, while others have
trouble getting fruit on apple trees due to late freezes and Oleanders are
only a dream.  So, the system has problems, particularly in the west where
irregular terrain, dry air, and circulation patterns (especially cold air
dranaige) cause some drastic changes in averages over short distances.  I
exect it is the same to some degree in any area of broken topography.

Interestingly, all that variation in Albuquerque doesn't have a very
noticeable affect on Iris health nor on bloom times.


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