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2023 USDA Zone Map for Florida


RedRabbit

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These changes are not unexpected for the most part. I guess I’m officially in 10A now like a lot of us former 9B people on here lol. I have lived here since 2015 and it has only gone below 30F once in that timeframe (Jan 2018) with only maybe a handful of times below 32F with plenty of daytime heating in the winter so it is overall a warm area. I can only vouch for areas I’ve frequented over the years in central Florida mostly. I’m going to say they were too generous with 10A in Polk county, areas outlying Orlando, anywhere near Okeechobee (it gets really cold there! And is only close to 10A right in the lake there by plant observation), pretty much anywhere down off the lake wales ridge, probably went way to far east with 10A along the manatee county and Sarasota county border,  north port is absolutely not 10A (drops into upper 20s yearly there), too generous with 10B in pinellas county, too generous with 10B in the cape haze peninsula, and too generous with 10B in Cape Coral. I do think 10A has definitely expanded in the Tampa area though especially given what palms have made it long term and fruited around here. All this being said, this new map is not going to change what I plan to grow, I not be trying anything more tropical in requirements than a coconut or Adonidia, and I’ll still be looking for interesting palms that supposedly can survive a rare drop into the mid 20s F because that is still my reality here. I think the vast majority of the increases comes from increased suburbanization around the state but I’m sure there are other reasons too. As once wide open cabbage fields are transformed into housing developments with lots of heat leaking structures, concrete, new oak tree plantings per code, creation of retention ponds etc, of course the temps will rise on radiational nights especially. I didn’t see what their methodology was for creating this new map but I very much suspect the combination of real temp readings from official stations and satellite  data of heat maps, vegetation, topography etc. 

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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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26 minutes ago, ruskinPalms said:

These changes are not unexpected for the most part. I guess I’m officially in 10A now like a lot of us former 9B people on here lol. I have lived here since 2015 and it has only gone below 30F once in that timeframe (Jan 2018) with only maybe a handful of times below 32F with plenty of daytime heating in the winter so it is overall a warm area. I can only vouch for areas I’ve frequented over the years in central Florida mostly. I’m going to say they were too generous with 10A in Polk county, areas outlying Orlando, anywhere near Okeechobee (it gets really cold there! And is only close to 10A right in the lake there by plant observation), pretty much anywhere down off the lake wales ridge, probably went way to far east with 10A along the manatee county and Sarasota county border,  north port is absolutely not 10A (drops into upper 20s yearly there), too generous with 10B in pinellas county, too generous with 10B in the cape haze peninsula, and too generous with 10B in Cape Coral. I do think 10A has definitely expanded in the Tampa area though especially given what palms have made it long term and fruited around here. All this being said, this new map is not going to change what I plan to grow, I not be trying anything more tropical in requirements than a coconut or Adonidia, and I’ll still be looking for interesting palms that supposedly can survive a rare drop into the mid 20s F because that is still my reality here. I think the vast majority of the increases comes from increased suburbanization around the state but I’m sure there are other reasons too. As once wide open cabbage fields are transformed into housing developments with lots of heat leaking structures, concrete, new oak tree plantings per code, creation of retention ponds etc, of course the temps will rise on radiational nights especially. I didn’t see what their methodology was for creating this new map but I very much suspect the combination of real temp readings from official stations and satellite  data of heat maps, vegetation, topography etc. 

Yeah, they just could have saved a lot of hassle by choosing longer time frames like 50 or 75 years.  Otherwise, it's a bunch of useless banter every 30 or so years when they release one of these.  Arbor Day's hardiness map from 2015 was already pointing to this.

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1 hour ago, ruskinPalms said:

These changes are not unexpected for the most part. I guess I’m officially in 10A now like a lot of us former 9B people on here lol. I have lived here since 2015 and it has only gone below 30F once in that timeframe (Jan 2018) with only maybe a handful of times below 32F with plenty of daytime heating in the winter so it is overall a warm area. I can only vouch for areas I’ve frequented over the years in central Florida mostly. I’m going to say they were too generous with 10A in Polk county, areas outlying Orlando, anywhere near Okeechobee (it gets really cold there! And is only close to 10A right in the lake there by plant observation), pretty much anywhere down off the lake wales ridge, probably went way to far east with 10A along the manatee county and Sarasota county border,  north port is absolutely not 10A (drops into upper 20s yearly there), too generous with 10B in pinellas county, too generous with 10B in the cape haze peninsula, and too generous with 10B in Cape Coral. I do think 10A has definitely expanded in the Tampa area though especially given what palms have made it long term and fruited around here. All this being said, this new map is not going to change what I plan to grow, I not be trying anything more tropical in requirements than a coconut or Adonidia, and I’ll still be looking for interesting palms that supposedly can survive a rare drop into the mid 20s F because that is still my reality here. I think the vast majority of the increases comes from increased suburbanization around the state but I’m sure there are other reasons too. As once wide open cabbage fields are transformed into housing developments with lots of heat leaking structures, concrete, new oak tree plantings per code, creation of retention ponds etc, of course the temps will rise on radiational nights especially. I didn’t see what their methodology was for creating this new map but I very much suspect the combination of real temp readings from official stations and satellite  data of heat maps, vegetation, topography etc. 

They used the PRISM climate group's data.  You can use it to go back in time to extrapolate temps as well in a grid map. Looked fairly accurate from what I saw, I followed my square back through the major freezes and compared the data to what was recorded elsewhere.  I agree about using longer time scales, which is why I had a look for my area to see what it was showing and it seems to match what I see here.  It has changed so much in Florida because the dry sandy soil is so much different than development when it comes to radiational freezes, and advective events are muted compared to before (warmer water and a thicker atmospheric Hadley cell I think).  It's a smaller microcosm with the water nearby so removing the colder spots and replacing with homes has changed things a lot.  Southern California is even more stark of a contrast when you look at the data for lowest temp each year in some areas that had no homes, just citrus, and now are all houses.  Some areas there are 10bish when they were a solid 9b before.  No major arctic blasts there.

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3 hours ago, flplantguy said:

No major arctic blasts there.

We get them out here  ..Just a lot more uncommon and -typically- greatly modified by thousands of miles of mountains to the north / northeast before the air mass reaches coastal central and S. Cal / S.W and S. Cen. AZ.  That said, here at least, if deep enough to do so, cold air moving south down / pooled up against the high plains of E. and  S.E. New Mexico can spill west over the divide in S.W. New Mexico / far S.E. AZ,  pool in S.E AZ,  and eventually ( following the general terrain profile between Tucson and Phoenix / Yuma  ) reach this part of the state.. That scenario does seem to have become rarer in recent years though. 

In Cen. / S. Cal, you have to have a large reservoir of cold air pooled in the Central Valley that somehow gets deflected southwest before it is modified, while cutting off any and all possible air mass modification from the Pacific.. to get really cold air into those areas. The infamous, highly amp' ed arctic flavor of Great Basin  " inside sliders "..

Our varied terrain plays a part too.. On the colder nights during one of those outbreaks, sloped areas ( S.W., South, and/ or Southeast facing esp ) can stay ..milder... than valley / canyon bottoms. 

Rule of thumb ..at least in S. Cal used to be ( Might still be, lol )  ." .Where ever there are old, large Laurel Sumac,  you will never / almost never see frost. "  Citrus and Avo. growers used this to their advantage when scoping out productive areas.   Where i'd look for a piece of land too.  Would be a great way for other areas of CA to test just how frost free their area is as well.


 

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36 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

We get them out here  ..Just a lot more uncommon and -typically- greatly modified by thousands of miles of mountains to the north / northeast before the air mass reaches coastal central and S. Cal / S.W and S. Cen. AZ.  That said, here at least, if deep enough to do so, cold air moving south down / pooled up against the high plains of E. and  S.E. New Mexico can spill west over the divide in S.W. New Mexico / far S.E. AZ,  pool in S.E AZ,  and eventually ( following the general terrain profile between Tucson and Phoenix / Yuma  ) reach this part of the state.. That scenario does seem to have become rarer in recent years though. 

In Cen. / S. Cal, you have to have a large reservoir of cold air pooled in the Central Valley that somehow gets deflected southwest before it is modified, while cutting off any and all possible air mass modification from the Pacific.. to get really cold air into those areas. The infamous, highly amp' ed arctic flavor of Great Basin  " inside sliders "..

Our varied terrain plays a part too.. On the colder nights during one of those outbreaks, sloped areas ( S.W., South, and/ or Southeast facing esp ) can stay ..milder... than valley / canyon bottoms. 

Rule of thumb ..at least in S. Cal used to be ( Might still be, lol )  ." .Where ever there are old, large Laurel Sumac,  you will never / almost never see frost. "  Citrus and Avo. growers used this to their advantage when scoping out productive areas.   Where i'd look for a piece of land too.  Would be a great way for other areas of CA to test just how frost free their area is as well.


 

This is exactly what I was referring to actually.  I went to high school on the high plains of new mexico and the winds with the cold were different than the cold in last Cruces in college.  I actually got to see the damage of the 2007 freeze in San Juan Capistrano at an avocado orchard. The trees low and at the tops were damaged with most in the lowest spots the worst, with the thermal belts fine.  It pools and seeps into all the gaps (or an Albuquerque gap wind event which is terrible in that spot) and builds into a nasty cold pool that lasts for a while.  With the longer track cold events occurring less frequently it can't build just like the Florida freezes don't build up as much cold anymore it seems.  I tried to apply the thermal belts principal when buying land here but it's subtle if it's there at all. 

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I think the 1980s were an anomaly overall and skewed a lot of expectations on these sorts of maps. Not sure what was up with 80s, I grew up as a small child in Indiana in the 80s and it was so bitterly cold every winter. It doesn’t get that cold there anymore.  And I don’t think it got that cold there before the 80s. Maybe there were some volcanic events or something else happening in the 80s to make that decade abnormally cold. Florida was warmer in the not too far past and I’m pretty sure there were commercial growers of various tropical fruits in the Tampa area in the past because the climate supported it. I do think it has warmed beyond Florida’s pre 80s levels though in areas with rapid suburbanization based on what I posted before. And yes I know there were wicked historic freezes before the 80s and yes I think we will see wicked historical level freezes again. But, I think they will be less frequent than the 80s and even less severe in the developed areas because the first night is usually advective (can’t do too much about that except live downwind from a large body of water or have your neat stuff planted on the south side of a substantial structure) and will probably set the record low for the year, but the following radiational nights won’t be as severe as in the past because of the development which as we all know makes radiational nights less of an issue. 

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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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54 minutes ago, flplantguy said:

This is exactly what I was referring to actually.  I went to high school on the high plains of new mexico and the winds with the cold were different than the cold in last Cruces in college.  I actually got to see the damage of the 2007 freeze in San Juan Capistrano at an avocado orchard. The trees low and at the tops were damaged with most in the lowest spots the worst, with the thermal belts fine.  It pools and seeps into all the gaps (or an Albuquerque gap wind event which is terrible in that spot) and builds into a nasty cold pool that lasts for a while.  With the longer track cold events occurring less frequently it can't build just like the Florida freezes don't build up as much cold anymore it seems.  I tried to apply the thermal belts principal when buying land here but it's subtle if it's there at all. 

In winter, i always keep an eye out for those back door fronts as they roll south down the plains, just to be sure they don't get hung up in the area where the attendant cold air pool would have an ideal spot to spill west over the divide since it is fairly flat, compared to having a wall of higher peaks to try and over top anyway.... 

In Summer, it's the reverse... Similar back door front events can push extra wet air being drawn northwest from the Gulf of Mexico into AZ, helping to enhance moisture availability for summer storm activity ..and provide a well defined forcing mechanism to get them going.

Some of the strongest storms we can see in the valley often occur when a back door front tries to nose into the state from the northeast during Monsoon Season

Central Valley in CA can have the same " Nasty cool / cold pool that settles and lingers for awhile " issue  when that occurs.. Same kind of event can trigger widespread Tule Fog ..which is just miserable.   If living there, sloped, thermal belt areas bordering the valley would be where i'd look at..

Living in FL during the bigger cold spells was  ...interesting..  I remember watching it go from the upper 70s at 3am, to 50-something in less than a half hour..  The wind as those fronts came through was something else as well.. Can't recall experiencing something similar anywhere else i've lived.   A morning spent in Spring Hill was the first place i'd seen Washingtonia outright killed by the cold either.  Don't recall any in San Jose being killed ..or all that damaged really during the 1990 Arctic air event there ( 19F, lower in other parts of town. ).  Ones in my neighborhood didn't seem to flinch at all for sure.

 

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The washingtonians dying was weird to me too.  It feels different here and I guess that makes the difference. Moisture maybe?  The weather pattern being a positive vs a negative relative to season is something I noticed this summer too.  Continental airmass is a no for me either way lol.

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1 hour ago, flplantguy said:

The washingtonians dying was weird to me too.  It feels different here and I guess that makes the difference. Moisture maybe?  The weather pattern being a positive vs a negative relative to season is something I noticed this summer too.  Continental airmass is a no for me either way lol.

..I think it's the extra moisture there..   Aside from that the air is usually drier here at the same time, " winter " here feels about the same to me as it did while living in both Bradenton and Largo.. Mild or warm, most of the time,  between Dec. and mid Feb,  except during those rare winters where it rains and / or there are more cool spells.   Wore a sweatshirt for at least a week or two in both places at some point between now and ~ roughly~ mid- Feb there..  ...about the same duration i pull one out of a closet here..  In shorts year round regardless.

While i too wouldn't want to live in a continental climate area again, spring, summer and Fall ..and the " typical " parts of winter in KS really weren't awful.   That said, when it got really cold, ..w/ out any snow,  those weeks seemed to last forever.. 

Was at least one year when it tried to get cold ..for about 10 days smack dab in late April.. Reminded me of one of those days at the beach in CA. in late June  when the fog rolls in and the temp. goes from 75-80 to mid 50s and breezy. ( CA native rule of thumb when going to the beach: Always bring a sweatshirt, even if it is 90 and perfectly clear when you get there )   Weird too because it was only the N.E. corner of the state that was chilly / cloudy. Could easily see clear sky just above the horizon when the sun set indicating the rest of the state was basking in typical spring warmth / spring storms.  What happens when a spring storm gets stuck near Chicago and rotates a pool of cool air down from Canada at that time i guess.

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I remember a heat wave in San Diego that broke like that.  It started as high clouds rolling in off the water at 93 degrees on the beach in oceanside. Then the clouds started to drop, ate the palm heads up high, and finally engulfed the ground, dropping to 70 in minutes. A magical experience for sure and so welcome after that heat.  Eastern New Mexico you traded one harsh weather event for another it seemed.  High wind warnings, dry air on the back of the dry line, cold, heat, hail and severe storms, blizzards and ice storms, fires, thundersnow, a tropical downpour event, it was wild. No outdoor gardening for me if I ever moved back there but it would be as a last resort.  The other side of the mountain though was muted and more possiblity there.  I would not change things here though since every place has trade offs but the heat and freezes and hurricanes you can at least all see coming mostly.

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  • 2 months later...

While Key West is left out of 12a in this revision, parts of the Marquesas Keys get the bump:

image.png.922965f780e26869f26767a604fbd859.png

Total population of these islands is 0, but it's neat to see 12a make an appearance in the state!

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There's a discrepancy between the state and zoomed in zip code maps and, zooming in, on the larger US map, in several states. In at least three cases the local maps leave out a smidge of an higher zone that are on the big map, and the data.

A smidge that comes from local weather stations that show 12a for Key West, 9 for SC GA, 9b or 10a on a tiny south island of Louisiana, as well as a zone 7a spot in SE Michigan. These fair smidges can be seen as a few pixels on the large map but not on the 'more detailed' local maps...

Key West is 12a for 1991 to 2020 or 1995 to present etc. 

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