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Jimbean

Poll on Florida hardiness zones

which hardiness zone map do you prefer of Florida?  

23 members have voted

  1. 1. which hardiness zone map do you prefer of Florida?

    • map #1
      2
    • map #2
      10
    • map #3
      0
    • map #4
      5
    • map #5
      6
    • map #6
      0


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Matthew92

I think map #2 is the most accurate and reflects trends in the last 20 years.

Other observations: I think that tongue of 8a on map #1 is oddly placed in the Panhandle.

I kind of like how map #5 further breaks down the 'b' and 'a' of each zone. Like for my hometown in the Panhandle, the lowest we got in the past 15 years is 17 deg which would be the warmer section of 8b.

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palmsOrl

Map 2.  Map 3 is too liberal though not all that far off in some areas.

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kinzyjr

I chose #5, with a minor flow in that it doesn't account for the heat islands around major cities.  Not a big deal, but I'm not really a huge "zone" guy, either.

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PalmatierMeg

I chose #5 as reflective of my location in Cape Coral. I like that it subdivides each zone into two parts comprising 2.5 degrees that tell me I live in the warmer areas of zone 10a. Since 2010 my winters have been as low as 10a and as high as 11a based on lowest minimums in that winter season. That's important when 2 or 3 degrees can make a difference. Does that mean I will never again suffer a disastrous 9b cold front? I wish. I'm not that naive but each winter I pray it won't happen that season.

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Palmaceae

I choose 5 also, with my experience of 23 years of growing palms in different parts of Florida, that map is the most accurate.

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RedRabbit

I went with #4. I think it reads about a half zone low across the board, but the lines are drawn pretty well. 

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Estlander

Map #5 is WAY off when it comes to the panhandle. 

It puts the coastal panhandle into a lower end of 8B (15-17.5F) as the average annual lowest temp. that can be expected on an annual basis. Wow, really?????

Last time it went that low on the coast was in the 80’s.

Even I-10 areas on the panhandle rarely see those temps. but they’re listed as 8A  (12.5-15F) on that map. They usually bottom out at 18-19F during bad freezes. 

During last January’s freezes the absolute low in Crestview was 18.1F. Basically the same temperature that Houston and New Orleans experienced. (Both 9A cities)

And another 9A town, Charleston SC, went down to 16F.  

All in all not bad for an “8A” city, eh? Lol. 

I think the best way to know what zone you’re in is to see what can be reliably grown in your area. And coastal panhandle is a mirror copy of Jacksonville - a strong 9A, even according to that #5 map.  

I used to live in Jax. Absolutely everything that grows in Jax also grows here in the Destin - Panama City area. 

During my 14 years here I have never seen any 9A palm been damaged by cold, not even in 2010 and 2014 winters.

There’s a massive Queen a few houses down from me that’s been doing fine since at least 2007. Not to mention a bunch of other Queens around town that are doing fine and weren’t damaged even last winter. So, basically a long story short, I think that map sucks, lol. 

Edited by Estlander

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Silas_Sancona

Also went with #4.  Comes closest to what i'd observed while living in both Bradenton and Largo / Clearwater... let alone many miles i traveled between Spring Hill / Brooksville, all over Tampa, and Sarasota / Venice. The only thing missing in what i saw would be a much wider, personal assessment of damage that occurred during the 2010 cold event across all areas / east side of Tampa Bay ( rarely passed through there). Wouldn't make it down to Sarasota for the first time until the following Spring after i'd moved to Largo in '09. 

#5 seems to lean a bit too cold overall, esp around the majority of Pinellas County and Bradenton West of 75. 

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PalmatierMeg

I find #2 skews way too cold for my SWFL location, i.e., zone 10a at 30 degrees down to 25F. I would accept it if it showed 10a as 30 to 35 degrees instead.

On the other hand #5 is spot on in pegging my Cape Coral home in the warmer range of 10a. At the same time, I now understand that for Panhandle residents this map skews way too cold. If only someone would meld the top half of #2 with the bottom half of #5, we might finally have a zone map that reflects all our actual zones.

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Jimbean
1 hour ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I find #2 skews way too cold for my SWFL location, i.e., zone 10a at 30 degrees down to 25F. I would accept it if it showed 10a as 30 to 35 degrees instead.

On the other hand #5 is spot on in pegging my Cape Coral home in the warmer range of 10a. At the same time, I now understand that for Panhandle residents this map skews way too cold. If only someone would meld the top half of #2 with the bottom half of #5, we might finally have a zone map that reflects all our actual zones.

The 10A as 25 to 30 was an error on the part of the map maker.  Your area should show as zone 10A (30 to 35) on map #2.

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Palmaceae

During the 80's map 5 is right on. That is why I picked it and still stand by my choice as the 80's may come back at some point, hopefully not though.

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Estlander
1 hour ago, Palmaceae said:

During the 80's map 5 is right on. That is why I picked it and still stand by my choice as the 80's may come back at some point, hopefully not though.

I don’t think you can go by temperatures what an area has seen once or twice in recorded history way in the past. 

If people followed those maps, many areas would look pretty boring. North/central north FL would be Sabal, Euro fan and Butia country only. No Phoenix palms, no W. Robusta, no Livistona Chinensis, - Nitida, -Decora, no Queens, Mules, etc. 

Edited by Estlander

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kinzyjr

My opinion is that the maps each provide guidelines for planting.  Which one is best/worst/in-the-middle can be argued forever.  There is nothing wrong with taking risks and accepting the positive and negative consequences that could occur as a result. 

Here, there are gorgeous properties that are nothing more than native plants.  A high oak canopy interspersed with magnolia grandiflora, sabal palmetto and acoelorrhaphe wrightii for that mid-level canopy, and plenty of understory with sabal minor, sabal etonia, serenoa repens, ferns, azaleas, hibiscus, etc.  These folks are taking few risks and still have a wonderful landscape that adds value to their property.  Nothing wrong with being risk averse and low maintenance.

Others take a more aggressive and exotic landscaping approach.  A good example is at the corner of Cleveland Heights and Edgewood Ave.  For most years, all is well since our average annual low is 28F and he lives on a steep hill leading to Lake Hollingsworth.  All the coldest air will flow into the "bowl" and keep that land a few degrees higher in most instances.  Then another 2010 will roll around and he'll replace ~50-75% of his plants.  The most recent Google maps of this property isn't very up to date even though it is less than 2 years old.  There have been a lot of palms added since then.

https://www.google.com/maps/@28.0116101,-81.9474476,3a,75y,83.55h,66.88t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sHAuulv4ETowwZWDkjmlVTw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Either way, I tend to favor a more conservative map for the general public and a mixed approach in my personal garden.

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Palmaceae

 

 

16 hours ago, Estlander said:

I don’t think you can go by temperatures what an area has seen once or twice in recorded history way in the past. 

If people followed those maps, many areas would look pretty boring. North/central north FL would be Sabal, Euro fan and Butia country only. No Phoenix palms, no W. Robusta, no Livistona Chinensis, - Nitida, -Decora, no Queens, Mules, etc. 

I see your point, but those temperatures happened also before the terrible 80's, granted not often thank God, but the way I see it, it could happen happen again, probably sooner than later. Just look at the history of the 19th and 20th century with severe freezes, 1894 and 95, 1899, 1917, 1934, 1940, 1957, 1962, 1977, 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1989. So a little more than once or twice in recorded history. I am just being realistic about what could happen as I have lived through it.

I started my palm collection in the 1980 so I have nightmares about it :D. I was at the point of just growing Blue Spruce in St Pete after the 80's :D

That is why I live in SW Florida now instead of Central Florida as you never know when a bad one will hit again. And I do zone push here in the Cape as I love the challenge, and like you said, it would be boring without zone pushing. It drove me crazy trying to find 10a tropicals in the 80's as no one had any!

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Estlander
3 hours ago, Palmaceae said:

I see your point, but those temperatures happened also before the terrible 80's, granted not often thank God, but the way I see it, it could happen happen again, probably sooner than later. Just look at the history of the 19th and 20th century with severe freezes, 1894 and 95, 1899, 1917, 1934, 1940, 1957, 1962, 1977, 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1989. So a little more than once or twice in recorded history. I am just being realistic about what could happen as I have lived through it.

 

To add to my earlier post, while I agree east and south Jacksonville probably having a slight edge over coastal panhandle during normal freezes. But during those severe freezes Jacksonville experienced similar temps as coastal panhandle, yet that area is considered 9A according to map #5.

The lowest temperature of 7.0°F being recorded on January 22 1985 in Jacksonville.

Here some of the below 20F (8B) temps. that Jacksonville Beach has experienced as per Intellicast website. I'm sure north and west Jax went even lower than those numbers below:

Dec 13     17° (1962),

Dec 23    17° (1989)

Dec 24    18° (1989)

Dec 25   15° (1983)

Dec 26   17° (1983)

So, due to a slight edge Jax should be on the higher end of 8B on map # 5 and not 9A :D

 

Edited by Estlander
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ruskinPalms

Map 4 looks the most accurate to me except 9B needs to be expanded over the Orlando area a little more. Map 5 looks fair except it misses big on Pinellas county which is a solid 10a for the southern two thirds of it and has Charlotte county too warm - there is no way North Port and Port Charlotte are zone 10a. Most cold mornings those areas are colder than where I’m at in Parrish which is a warm 9B. Also Sarasota county drops off fast to 9B as soon as you get east of I75. 

Edited by ruskinPalms

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Estlander

Having rained the entire afternoon and early evening of February 12th, the rain changed to sleet and then later to snow. Jacksonville would actually receive snow for the remainder of the night. By sunrise of the next day, the ground was covered in two inches of snow and the temperature stood around 10 degrees. The temperature did not rise above 27 degrees all day. The snow remained in some places for up to five days and the vegetable crops, fruit trees and some forest trees were destroyed beyond recovery. The plumbing of the city was badly damaged resulting in two months of repairs throughout the city.

This was the coldest weather since the freeze of 1835, when at 8am the temperature stood at 8 degrees. Along the river, the bank water was frozen several rods from the shore and it is reported that Jacksonville citizens were both excited and distressed over this weather anomaly. The 1835 freeze was the basis for all subsequent comparisons until January 21, 1985 when the temperature fell to 7!

http://www.jaxhistory.org/portfolio-items/the-big-freeze-of-1899/

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kinzyjr
3 hours ago, Estlander said:

Having rained the entire afternoon and early evening of February 12th, the rain changed to sleet and then later to snow. Jacksonville would actually receive snow for the remainder of the night. By sunrise of the next day, the ground was covered in two inches of snow and the temperature stood around 10 degrees. The temperature did not rise above 27 degrees all day. The snow remained in some places for up to five days and the vegetable crops, fruit trees and some forest trees were destroyed beyond recovery. The plumbing of the city was badly damaged resulting in two months of repairs throughout the city.

This was the coldest weather since the freeze of 1835, when at 8am the temperature stood at 8 degrees. Along the river, the bank water was frozen several rods from the shore and it is reported that Jacksonville citizens were both excited and distressed over this weather anomaly. The 1835 freeze was the basis for all subsequent comparisons until January 21, 1985 when the temperature fell to 7!

http://www.jaxhistory.org/portfolio-items/the-big-freeze-of-1899/

Thank you for sharing that interesting bit of history.

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Palmaceae
4 hours ago, ruskinPalms said:

Map 4 looks the most accurate to me except 9B needs to be expanded over the Orlando area a little more. Map 5 looks fair except it misses big on Pinellas county which is a solid 10a for the southern two thirds of it and has Charlotte county too warm - there is no way North Port and Port Charlotte are zone 10a. Most cold mornings those areas are colder than where I’m at in Parrish which is a warm 9B. Also Sarasota county drops off fast to 9B as soon as you get east of I75. 

Right on the south side of the peace river in Port Charlotte is zone 10a easily. There are mature coconuts, banyans and very old royals there, many more than St Pete. But that changes rapidly when you are on the north side of the peace river in North Port.

Also remember the official temperature reading in St Pete is at Albert Whitted Airport which is not an accurate reading for Pinellas county. The only real 10a in Pinellas county is downtown right on the bay. I lived there in St Pete for 9 years in the 80's and after the '77 freeze it killed 98% of the coconuts in Pinellas county, the 80's finished the rest off. While living there I had to look hard and long to see any coconuts in Pinellas  county. It amazes me when I go back there to see the change of more 10a species now.

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Jimbean

If I find time, I'll probably make a new map.

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ruskinPalms
13 hours ago, Palmaceae said:

Right on the south side of the peace river in Port Charlotte is zone 10a easily. There are mature coconuts, banyans and very old royals there, many more than St Pete. But that changes rapidly when you are on the north side of the peace river in North Port.

Also remember the official temperature reading in St Pete is at Albert Whitted Airport which is not an accurate reading for Pinellas county. The only real 10a in Pinellas county is downtown right on the bay. I lived there in St Pete for 9 years in the 80's and after the '77 freeze it killed 98% of the coconuts in Pinellas county, the 80's finished the rest off. While living there I had to look hard and long to see any coconuts in Pinellas  county. It amazes me when I go back there to see the change of more 10a species now.

Yes I agree once you get south of the peace river and stay west of I75 you’re looking at a solid 10A. Punta Gorda and Cape Coral are 10A for the most part. Really I75 marks out the border of 10A and 9B pretty good all the way through Fort Myers and Naples. East of the interstate even that far south sneaks down to 28F or 29F probably at least every 2 to 3 years which makes it 9B. Same for my area in Parrish except instead of upper 20s every 2 to 3 years its more like every other year. So it is warmer overall the farther south but it is still probably technically 9B east of I75 from about Apollo Beach in hillsborough county all the way down through Naples on the west side of the state. That being said, warm 9Bs especially the father south you go here in Florida will support banyans and coconuts between the historical freezes. Anyone know what the look back period is for an official USDA map? 10 years? 20 years? And as far as I know it only looks at the yearly lowest low and averages that out over whatever the look back period is. A 9B area like I live in may have one winter where it dips down to 28 or 29 a few times and a 9B area east of Naples may only dip to 29 once that same winter and yet we would be shaded the same on the map and the area east of Naples is going to be more tropical looking than my area (and have native stands of royal palms even).  

Edited by ruskinPalms

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Palmaceae
5 minutes ago, ruskinPalms said:

Yes I agree once you get south of the peace river and stay west of I75 you’re looking at a solid 10A. Punta Gorda and Cape Coral are 10A for the most part. Really I75 marks out the border of 10A and 9B pretty good all the way through Fort Myers and Naples. East of the interstate even that far south sneaks down to 28F or 29F probably at least every 2 to 3 years which makes it 9B. Same for my area in Parrish except instead of upper 20s every 2 to 3 years its more like every other year. So it is warmer overall the farther south but it is still probably technically 9B east of I75 from about Apollo Beach in hillsborough county all the way down through Naples on the west side of the state. That being said, warm 9Bs especially the father south you go here in Florida will support banyans and coconuts between the historical freezes. Anyone know what the look back period is for an official USDA map? 10 years? 20 years? And as far as I know it only looks at the yearly lowest low and averages that out over whatever the look back period is. A 9B area like I live in may have one winter where it dips down to 28 or 29 a few times and a 9B area east of Naples may only dip to 29 once that same winter and yet we would be shaded the same on the map and the area east of Naples is going to be more tropical looking than my area (and have native stands of royal palms even).  

Yep I agree I75 is a good marker. One major thing that the USDA zone map does not show is the high temperatures during those cold spells. The further south you go the warmer it gets obviously, and the shorter the duration of the cold during the nights. For instance during a cold spell in Ruskin your high may be in the 50's, but here in the Cape in will be at least 10+ degrees warmer, and that makes all the difference.

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ruskinPalms

Yes the day time highs are a huge factor especially for coconuts. I remember in 2010 several large established coconuts dying in Venice, FL on the beach and on other water ways and inlets due to the prolonged cool from the cold water that year. But many survived near the water and even several surprising survivals in more inland parts of manatee and Sarasota counties probably due to warmer day time highs away from the water. There is a long term survivor on highway 70 east of I75 that i’d like to get some coconuts from to try to grow :D

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Yunder Wækraus

Only #5 handles Central and S FL well. The others either overextend warmer zones inland in Brevard and/or too far west and north of Lake Okeechobee or they neglect to show the warmer microclimates on Brevard barrier islands and around Pahokee. I can’t speak for points north of Brevard.

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Jimbean
3 hours ago, Yunder Wækraus said:

Only #5 handles Central and S FL well. The others either overextend warmer zones inland in Brevard and/or too far west and north of Lake Okeechobee or they neglect to show the warmer microclimates on Brevard barrier islands and around Pahokee. I can’t speak for points north of Brevard.

You don't think it shows the west coast as too cold?

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Yunder Wækraus
7 hours ago, Jimbean said:

You don't think it shows the west coast as too cold?

I don’t claim to have intimate knowledge of FL’s west coast. But, in general, it is going to be less able to avoid freezes than the east and the SE shore of Okeechobee. 

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kinzyjr
21 hours ago, Jimbean said:

You don't think it shows the west coast as too cold?

Coastal Pinellas and Hillsborough do appear to be a shade or two cooler than what they are.  They do have coconuts that survived 1989 at Kopsick and that is on the east side of the peninsula in Pinellas.  I would still say #5 is the best overall map from my point of view.

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Estlander

I think plant life growing in an area is a very good indicator of temperatures.  

Found these Strelitzia Nicolai in Destin. They’re quite large and one of them even has a decent amout of woody trunk, which it would never have if the area dropped to 15-17.5F each winter as map # 5 indicates.

And then there are these two P. Reclinata that are doing great and have grown quite big. It’s not exactly the hardiest Phoenix as you all know. 

Have spent quite a bit of time reading about P. reclinata hardiness on PT and they are quite wimpy compared to other Phoenix species. 

C237CC5B-D1C4-417B-BA77-D142D58EC235.png

Edited by Estlander

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Estlander

Not to mention all these Queens around town and in the area. And that’s not nearly all of them. There’s many more that I know of. 

Yeah, I know all about the 80’s freezes. Yes, they happened. Jacksonville went down to single digits and had a lot of snow. Neither area has seen those temps since. So why are they 9A on map #5 and coastal panhandle in a colder end of 8B?

So yeah, to reiterate my earlier point: Map # 5 sucks :D

F5A528E6-F721-436A-A0C4-CFCABAD70526.jpeg

891A9948-154E-4F98-A874-54EBCA853C33.jpeg

A4D231F1-5C3A-443F-AC14-993BB39B8AC3.jpeg

EADD93D8-2318-433A-A591-08F61BDF9E03.jpeg

Edited by Estlander

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Estlander

93850BD6-210A-41C5-B916-B203FB9885D2.jpeg

B79C94DB-43A3-4E19-BD4E-389B602F5FBE.jpeg

DB57D3A1-4B55-496C-9088-22000C5734D7.jpeg

0B8893BA-3EE8-45AB-B152-B3B9C1732A75.jpeg

39AAB6F3-8B55-48C7-909A-B2CA2BACEC43.jpeg

Edited by Estlander

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Estlander

Love the look of P. Reclinata a lot. They’re extremely rare for the area. So I took seeds from both P. Reclinatas back in October and they’ve all germinated. Gonna plant one on my yard when they’re big enough to be planted. :)

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ruskinPalms

Yes Eastlander, I agree that the proof is in the pudding. Seeing what plants mature and fruit is your area is the best way to gauge what zone you’re in. That being said, if you don’t want to be disappointed then you better plant based on the historical freezes and not what the USDA zone map says. The historical freezes are statistically outliers and even if kept in the dataset will be marginalized. Again, I have no idea how long the lookback period is for an official usda zone map. The 80s might not even be included in the data set anymore. 

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ruskinPalms

And by the way, I love destin! My sister lives in niceville. Destin certainly feels 9B to me :-)

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Estlander
1 hour ago, ruskinPalms said:

Yes Eastlander, I agree that the proof is in the pudding. Seeing what plants mature and fruit is your area is the best way to gauge what zone you’re in. That being said, if you don’t want to be disappointed then you better plant based on the historical freezes and not what the USDA zone map says. The historical freezes are statistically outliers and even if kept in the dataset will be marginalized. 

Can’t do that, lol. Then I’d be looking at S. Repens, Sabals, Butia and Euro fans only.  

Couldn’t imagine my surroundings without W. Robusta, CIDP, P. Sylvestris, P. Dactylifera, L. Chinensis/Nitida/Decora, Queens. Some of these palms have become numerous enough that they’re stepping on the toes of Sabals already.

Could you imagine your area of Tampa/Clearwater/St. Pete without Royals, Foxtails and other crown shaft palms and Coconuts? St. Pete went down to 18F in the 80’s. 

We certainly do have 9B winters here but not reliably enough to actually grow any 9B palms for more than a few years. P. Roebelenii is still a no go here unless you provide it some protection during a 9A winter. 

Another plant I like that you see alot as soon as you get down to 9B is the Norfolk Island pine. Unfortunately that is nowhere to be seen here. 

Edited by Estlander

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