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A plant's performance is governed by the total climate: length of growing season, timing and amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, wind, and humidity. Sunset's climate zone maps take all these factors into account, unlike the familiar hardiness zone maps devised by the U.S. Gardens high above sea level get longer and colder winters, often with intense sunlight, and lower night temperatures all year. Weather that blows in off the oceans and the Great Lakes tends to be mild and laden with moisture in the cool season.
The North American continent generates its own weather, which ? compared with coastal climates ? is colder in winter, hotter in summer, and more likely to get precipitation any time of year. In the West, the Coast Ranges take some marine influence out of the air that passes eastward over them. From the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, continental and arctic air dominate, with moist air from the Gulf pushing north during the warm season. Because hillsides are never as cold in winter as the hilltops above them or the ground below them, they’re called thermal belts. SUNSET WESTERN GARDENING CLIMATE ZONESB, heat zones, sunset zone maps, amd more subtropical.
Sunset Magazine Climate Zones In addition to the USDA hardiness zones, Sunset Magazine also has climate zones used by many gardeners. Wholesale nurseries by state, USDA Hardiness Zones, Sunset climate zones, world Sunset magazine classifies 45 zones, numbered from harshest- Zone 1,. As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. Data from 1998 US National Arboretum (Web Version) of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. Department of Agriculture, which divides most of North America into zones based strictly on winter lows. Closer to the poles, the number of daylight hours increases in summer and decreases in winter. The Sierra-Cascades and Southern California’s interior mountains further weaken marine influence.
All else being equal, garden beds on the south side of an east-west wall, for example, will be much warmer than garden beds on the north side of the same wall. The mild days and chilly nights during the growing season extend the bloom of summer perennials like columbines and Shasta daisies.
USDA Hardiness Zones and Average Annual Minimum Temperature Range below, you may find a climate zone map published by Sunset Magazine helpful.. 24 Aug 2011 Sunset Magazine Gardens Francisquito Creek, distinct areas are laid out to represent the major climate zones of the West, from the deserts of. The Sunset zones, popularized and researched by Sunset Magazine, are derived For maps of the zones, please refer to the excellent Sunset Garden Books.. If your garden gets reliable snow cover (which insulates plants), you’ll be able to grow perennials listed for some of the milder zones.
6 Jul 2011 A plant is placed into one of these Hardiness Zones based upon the The last map that I want to share was produced by Sunset Magazine..
Gardening in Zone 6 offers farmers and gardening enthusiasts with a wealth of Both the USDA and Sunset magazine provides zoning maps to help the. In years when snow comes late or leaves early, protect plants with a 5- or 6-inch layer of organic mulch.
Our expert gardening tips help you choose and grow the perfect fruits and vegetables for your backyard garden..
Along with hardy evergreen conifers, tough deciduous trees and shrubs form the garden’s backbone. Taking into account elevation, rainfall, latitude and winds, Sunset Magazine lists Sun City in Climate Zone 18, described as. Click on the Sunset magazine link (second link) below this article to view the Knowing your garden zone will help you choose vegetable varieties that will do. 24 Jul 2011 Sunset Magazine has a handy reference for determing what plants do well in different micro-climate zones.
Our climatic gardening Zone is 9 or 9b and Sunset Magazine Zone 14, which dictates the wide variety of plants that thrive in our city. To further assure success, grow vegetables from seedlings you start yourself or buy from a nursery or garden center.
Hardiness zones, heat zones, Sunset zones and microclimates are used to Sunset magazine – which is so named because it caters to the West Coast and not. Hi Debra, It really just depends on which source you want to go with the USDA Plant Hardiness zone is an option, although the Sunset Western Garden Climate. It gets considerable influence from the Pacific Ocean, but also from the continental air mass, higher elevation, or both. Summer temperatures are a bit higher than in Zone 3a—mostly in the high 80s and low- to mid-90s. You’ll find this zone stretched over Colorado’s northeastern plains, a bit of it along the Western Slope and Front Range of the Rockies, as well as mild parts of river drainages like those of the Snake, Okanogan, and the Columbia. As it extends north, the zone first touches salt water in northern Puget Sound and is almost entirely surrounded by salt water in southeastern Alaska. Of 24 climate zones defined in the Sunset Western Garden Book and the 20 zones we are used to a 24-zone climate system created by Sunset Magazine..
In the contiguous states, Zone 4 has more cold than neighboring Zone 5,more snow, and a shorter growing season. Sunset is not exclusively a gardening magazine, but since they set the standard for western hardiness zones and have produced such a wonderful library of.
Compared to neighboring zones in Alaska and Canada, however, it has less winter cold and a longer growing season. No zone grows better perennials and bulbs; people who like woodland plants and rock plants love Zone 4. 14 Feb 2012 Now in its 80th year and ninth edition, this legendary garden “bible” has been West's most popular plants, all searchable by Sunset Climate Zone, plant type, Sunset magazine was founded in 1898 and has become the. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a good resource for basic climate Sunset Magazine maintains a website with its own zones that offer more details.
Most of it lies in the warmest parts of eastern Washington’s Columbia Basin,with bits in Lewiston, Idaho, and parts of the Southwest.
But beware: though you can grow winter vegetables in the southern part of Zone 4, it doesn’t get enough winter sunlight in Alaska to sustain them. The zone tends to occur at lower elevations in the northern states (eastern Oregon and Washington as well as Idaho), but at higher elevations as you move south crossing Utah’s Great Salt Lake and into northern New Mexico and Arizona. The growing season is 150 to 200 days long, but because Zone 4 summers are temperate (highs average from the low 60s to the 70s), plants take more time to develop.
Fruits and vegetables that thrive in long,warm summers, such as melons, gourds, and corn, tend to do well here. This is another great zone for all kinds of deciduous fruit trees and ornamental trees and shrubs.
It’s also fine country for native woodland ferns, trilliums, piggyback plants, vine maples, and dogwoods. You can It provides a useful plant hardiness index, but it has some important drawbacks..
Because of the influence of latitude, this climate lies mostly at low elevations in Oregon’s Rogue Valley, middle elevations around California’s Central Valley, and at middle to higher elevations farther south.
Such mild temperatures favor leaf vegetables, which are slow to bolt, and flowering ornamentals like begonias. Gray pines define the heart of Zone 7 around the Central Valley, but more adaptable incense cedars replace them farther north and south.Hot summers and mild but pronounced winters give Zone 7 sharply defined seasons without severe winter cold or enervating humidity.

The climate pleases plants that require a marked seasonal pattern to do well—flower bulbs, peonies, lilacs, and flowering cherries, for example. Some locations (Coupeville, Raymond, Long Beach, Tillamook, Newport) get 10-year lows between 6° and 10°F (-14° and –12°C), but much of the region, especially along the Oregon coast, is mild enough to let gardeners get away with growing plants like Washingtonia robusta and hardy forms of Agave americana.
Sunset magazine has created a climatic zone for the Western United States that is more useful than the USDA plant hardiness zones. And while these occasional disasters clear the slate of most borderline plants, they should not serve as a general gauge of plant hardiness here.
Discover garden design tips, fast and fresh recipes, home decorating ideas, and travel recommendations.. In the mildest parts of Zone 7—in the extreme southern Salinas Valley, for example—you can get away with growing borderline plants such as citrus, oleanders, and almonds if you choose a spot with good air drainage to take the edge off winter chill. 18 May 2006 Global Gardening Zones gives resources for gardening zones worldwide, a 24- zone climate system was created by Sunset Magazine, which. 01 Contributors See All Issues On-The-Road with the Sunset Western Garden Book By: Bill Marken Bill Marken was editor-in-chief of Sunset and Garden Design magazines. Tucked between the Coast Range and the Cascades, Zone 6 includes the Willamette Valley in Oregon, the Columbia River Valley between Vancouver and Longview, and the Cowlitz drainage from Longview to Toledo.The Coast Range buffers the impact of Pacific storms, but Zone 6 is still a maritime climate,with a long growing season (from 155 days at Cottage Grove to 280 days in Portland neighborhoods) and 40 to 55 inches of annual precipitation most places. Only a shade of difference exists between Zone 8 and Zone 9, but it’s an important difference—crucial in some cases. He now is writing for several print and online publications,… More From This Author Walter Doty, former editor-in-chief of Sunset magazine (foreground), and the 1954 WGB team. The continental influence is felt two to four times each winter when chilly interior air flows west through the Columbia Gorge and produces wind and freezing rain clear to the Portland airport. Zone 9 is a thermal belt,meaning that cold air can flow from it to lower ground—and that lower ground is found here in Zone 8. Photo: Courtesy Sunset Magazine archivesIn my first job out of college, I was lucky and proud to work on an upcoming edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book.
In spite of this, Portland is among the mildest parts of Zone 6—a great place to experiment with borderline plants like eucalyptus, acacias, and oleanders.
In the works for more than five years, the book that was finally published in 1967 turned out to be a groundbreaking guide to the West’s exploding plant palette and its highly localized plant climates. Summer temperatures in Zone 6 average 10 to 15°F (5 to 8°C) higher than those along the coast, while winters are cold enough to trigger good fruit set. A Sunset Zone is a climate zone for gardening determined by a system developed by Sunset Magazine in the mid-20th century.
Lemons, oranges, and grapefruit, which flourish in Zone 9, cannot be grown commercially in Zone 8 because the winter nights are frequently cold enough to injure the fruit or the trees; the trees would need regular heating to deliver decent crops.
The book went on to sell millions of copies in various editions, including the latest in spring 2012.The 1967 book was ahead of its time in the way it was produced—empirically and collaboratively. Today we’d call it crowd-sourcing.Sunset magazine’s garden editor Joe Williamson, who headed the book’s development (and also was deeply involved with Pacific Horticulture in its early days), hired me to help out with the book’s climate section. Warm summers and chilly winters make the Willamette Valley one of the West’s best-known growing areas for berries, hazelnuts, roses, flowering fruit trees, and broadleafed evergreens.The Willamette Valley’s hills and small mountain ranges create many microclimates.
That cold often shows itself in winter, when cold air rolls off the Sierra Nevada and pools on the valley floor, condensing into thick tule fog. South- and west-facing slopes are warm enough to produce world-class Pinot Noir grapes, while northand east-facing slopes are perfect for shade tolerant plants like rhododendrons, fatsias, and camellias. Zone 8 differs from Zone 14, which it joins near the latitudes of north Sacramento and Modesto, in that Zone 14 occasionally gets some marine influence.
He started with data from UC Davis climatologists who were mapping California’s agricultural climates—the same revolutionary research that guided wineries to new areas where wine grapes could be grown such as Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, not historically wine country, but now home to 44,000 acres of vineyards.
But translating scientific research to what would actually grow in backyards called for on-the-ground exploring as well.
Williamson assigned me to map the range of California’s digger pines—an old and politically incorrect common name for Pinus sabiniana, named after the local Native Americans who were considered to be diggers of grubs and roots but whose varied diet actually included venison, fish, and berries. The same distinction, thermal belt versus cold-air basin, determines which species and varieties—hibiscus,melaleuca, pittosporum, and other plants—are recommended for Zone 9 but not for Zone 8. He considered that rangy, grayish pine to be an indicator of the climate that would become Zone 7 in the book, defined as having hot summers and mild but pronounced winters, without severe cold or enervating humidity—good for plants that require distinct seasons to flourish like peony, lilac, and flowering cherry. Determining the range of the pines meant driving my no-frills, stick-shift Chevrolet Biscayne through their heartland, California’s foothill Gold Country. Fiercely cold, piercing north winds blow for several days at a time in winter, but they are more distressing to gardeners than to garden plants.You can minimize them with windbreaks.
As far as I was concerned, the main indicator of the region’s dry, rocky hills (beautiful in spring!) was the rattlesnake, and I rarely left the car except to call on forestry stations, nurseries, and firehouses to make notes on their weather records. In both Zones 8 and 9 tule fogs (dense fogs that rise from the ground on cold, clear nights) appear and stay for hours or days during winter.
I returned with enough data for Williamson to draw climate-zone boundaries on his map: Climate Zone 7 included towns straight out of Mark Twain like Angels Camp, Rescue, Copperopolis, and Shingle Springs. Creating localized climate zones was part of Sunset’s mission to provide Western homeowners with specific how-to gardening advice for a region that was different from the rest of the country in geography, weather, lifestyle, and attitude.
Heat-loving plants such as oleander and crape myrtle perform at their peak in Zones 8 and 9 (and 14). National shelter magazines of the 1950s and ’60s lacked coverage of the booming West’s new subdivision homes in need of landscaping, the whole new palette of plants coming in from Australia, Asia, and South Africa, and the emerging outdoor lifestyle that included essentials such as patios, overhead shelters, pools, and barbecues.Climate advice coming from national garden books and magazines also wasn’t serving the West well.
Gray pines define the heart of Zone 7 around the Central Valley, but more adaptable incense cedars replace them farther north and south. Hot summers and mild but pronounced winters give Zone 7 sharply defined seasons without severe winter cold or enervating humidity.
Plants that like summer coolness and humidity demand some fussing; careful gardeners accommodate them by providing filtered shade from tall trees and plenty of moisture.
The complex nature of the Pacific Coast climates, influenced by proximity to the ocean, flow of air currents, and weather-affecting north-south mountain ranges near the ocean and inland, created a set of variables that defied the U.S. The opening in Northern California's Coast Ranges created by San Francisco and San Pablo bays allows marine air to spill much farther inland. Based on minimum low temperatures, the USDA system created such anomalies as Tucson’s saguaro desert and Washington’s Olympic rain forest in the same climate zone. Zone 14 includes the cold-winter valley floors, canyons, and land troughs in the Coast Ranges from Santa Barbara County to Humboldt County.The milder-winter, marine-influenced areas in Zone 14 and the cold-winter inland valley within Zone 14 differ in humidity. The zones were detailed enough to distinguish between thermal belts that rim the Central Valley (Zone 9)—mild enough for citrus groves—and the abutting, colder, lilac-friendly Zone 7.
For example, lowland parts of Contra Coasta County are more humid than Sacramento.Fruits that need winter chill do well here, as do shrubs needing summer heat (oleander, gardenia).
No one told me that my snake-fearing trip through the Gold Country was part of an innovative effort to research and create plant climate descriptions in a new way, based on observation rather than theory.
On most days and in most places, the fog tends to come in high and fast, creating a cooling and humidifying blanket between the sun and the earth, reducing the intensity of the light and sunshine. Some heat-loving plants (citrus, hibiscus, gardenia) don’t get enough heat to fruit or flower reliably.
In a 20-year period, the lowest winter temperatures in Zone 17 ranged from 36 to 23°F (2 to –5°C). The cold-winter areas that make up Zone 15 lie in cold-air basins, on hilltops above the thermal belts, or far enough north that plant performance dictates a Zone 15 designation. Specific climate-by-climate plant descriptions and evaluations of plant performance came from expert collaborators in the 13 western states that Sunset served.
Many plants that are recommended for Zone 15 are not suggested for Zone 14 mainly because they must have a moister atmosphere, cooler summers, milder winters, or all three conditions present at the same time. On the other hand, Zone 15 still receives enough winter chilling to favor some of the coldwinter specialties, such as English bluebells, which are not recommended for Zones 16 and 17. In all the other adjacent climate zones, average highest temperatures are in the 104 to 116°F (40 to 47°C) range.
Monthly or so, a group of the area’s horticultural and landscape intelligentsia were invited to the Jonathan Club, an old-school, males-only spot  in downtown Los Angeles to drink Old Fashioneds, eat New York steak and Crenshaw melon, network, and answer questions posed by the magazine’s editors gathering regional expertise.

Trees and dense shrubs planted on the windward side of a garden can disperse it, and a neighborhood full of trees can successfully keep it above the rooftops. It’s hard to say how much of this was due to his powerful presence (I swear he was as tall as a California fan palm and had a mustache as broad as a patio broom) and how much to his horticultural accomplishments; Evans worked closely with Walt Disney to turn Disneyland into a living demonstration of Southern California’s subtropical potential. It consists of thermal belts (slopes from which cold air drains) in the coastal climate area, which is dominated by ocean weather about 85 percent of the time and by inland weather about 15 percent. Smith of Thousand Oaks, at the far edge of the expanding LA megalopolis, looked out for the practical interests of suburban homeowners and their bare 8,000-square-foot lots, hybrid Bermuda lawns, and patio overheads. This zone gets more heat in summer than Zone 17, which is dominated by maritime air, and has warmer winters than Zone 15.
Francis Ching, of the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum, contributed his Hawaii-raised knowledge of tropicals. Input from the panel gave the book a strong Southern California foundation at a time when interest in subtropical plants was cresting.
They also helped pin down 12 climate zones in Southern California—probably America’s most climatically complex region where the frost-free coast, inland valleys, mild low desert, extreme high desert, and snowy peaks are all found within a hundred miles.Dick Dunmire, also an active supporter of Pacific Horticulture, served as editor of the encyclopedia and continued to work on revisions of the book through 2001. To compile the encyclopedia, Dunmire collected information from the LA panel along with other consultants and other sources. He wrote a great many of the plant descriptions, drawing on Sunset magazine’s archive of garden articles, trusted manuals and books, and his vast memory of the plants he sold as a Bay Area nurseryman.
Dunmire wrote the text in longhand, an assistant typed it, and copies from a Bruning copy machine were mailed to “checkers” (sometimes dozens of them for complex genera), who mailed back corrections and modifications based on their firsthand knowledge of plant performance, size, requirements, local adaptation, and other attributes. Dunmire and Williamson adjudicated the comments and modified the plant descriptions.Regional feedback ruled.
When an LA panelist disagreed with Dunmire’s text, Williamson deferred to the man on the ground.
Dunmire told me recently: “Joe would say, ‘You’re from Kansas, do you think you know more than a guy who lives in Southern California?’” Williamson, known for his benevolent crustiness, was as chauvinistic about Western plants as he was about climates. The worst thing he could say about a plant was that it was a “New Jersey Plant”—which meant it could grow anywhere in the country. This means that the major influence on climate is the continental air mass; the ocean determines the climate no more than 15 percent of the time.
Why grow an elm or a spiraea in Santa Rosa or Covina or Eugene when you could grow Eucalyptus ficifolia or Daphne odora? Many of the valley floors of Zone 18 were once regions where apricot, peach, apple, and walnut orchards flourished, but the orchards have now given way to homes.Although the climate supplies enough winter chill for some plants that need it, it is not too cold (with a little protection) for many of the hardier subtropicals like amaryllis. The latest 2012 edition of an enduring classic.Updating a classicA revised edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book has been published every decade or so.
It is too hot, too cold, and too dry for fuchsias but cold enough for tree peonies and many apple varieties, and mild enough for a number of avocado varieties.
The 2012 is the ninth; its predecessors date as far back as the 62-page pamphlet-sized Sunset Garden Book of 1932. Zone 18 never supplied much commercial citrus, but home gardeners who can tolerate occasional minor fruit loss can grow citrus here. The 768-page current edition includes an encyclopedia with about 9,000 species and cultivars, a thousand of them new to the book. More than 2,000 color photos of each of the book’s genera replace the line drawings of the past few decades. Both zones, then, have very poor climates for such plants as fuchsias, rhododendrons, and tuberous begonias.
The new book was developed by Sunset staff members for a division of Time Inc., the owner of Sunset since the company bought it from the Lane family in 1990. Many sections of Zone 19 have always been prime citrus-growing country—especially for those kinds that need extra summer heat in order to grow sweet fruit. Kathleen Norris Brenzel, Sunset’s garden editor since 1981 and the editor in charge of the Western Garden Book since 1995, says she has always thought she had to be “very careful with the book” because of its long tradition and reputation for usefulness and authoritativeness.
Like the 1967 book, research for The New Sunset Western Garden Book began with a panel of experts including nursery growers, horticulturists, and landscape architects. The Western Plant Encyclopedia cites many ornamental plants that do well in Zone 19 but are not recommended for its neighbor because of the milder winters in Zone 19. What made it into the new book offers interesting clues about today’s gardening tastes and challenges. Plants that grow well here, but not in much colder zones, include bougainvillea, bouvardia, calocephalus, Cape chestnut (Calodendrum), flame pea (Chorizema), several kinds of coral tree (Erythrina), livistona palms, Mexican blue and San Jose hesper palms (Brahea armata, B. More space is devoted to Mediterranean, native, and other drought-resistant plants introduced in the last decade. The editors cut back on roses, camellias, and rhododendrons—longtime favorites deemed of lower popularity now because of their higher maintenance demands. The 1967 book included 50 (!) species of eucalyptus covering eight pages as new imports from Australia flooded California nurseries; today’s book edits the list to  21 eucalyptus species and takes up a little more than two pages. The book’s trusted climate zones have been revised to keep up with refinements in climate data and plant knowledge.
The even-numbered zone is the climate made up of cold-air basins and hilltops, and the odd-numbered one comprises thermal belts.
Jim McCausland, a former Sunset staff writer who updated the climate pages in the newest book, cites reasons for the changes: As the West has filled in, there are new population centers in need of specific climate advice and more knowledge of what grows in areas such as Antelope Valley, north of Los Angeles, or Bend, in eastern Oregon.
The difference is that Zones 20 and 21 get weather influenced by both maritime air and interior air. McCausland also points out the new book’s continuing use of empirical, collaborative research: “In the book’s eighth edition, we had much of California’s Mojave Desert designated as Zone 10,” which is at a high altitude, with enough winter chill for lilacs, and enough summer heat for chile peppers. In these transitional areas, climate boundaries often move 20 miles in 24 hours with the movements of these air masses. Because of the greater ocean influence, this climate supports a wide variety of plants.You can see the range of them at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia. After exchanging emails and letters with those local constituencies, we changed most of the area to the less extreme Zone 11 for the ninth edition, and in fact moved Zone 10 out of California altogether.”Sounds kind of like the collaborative, on-the-ground research we did in the 1960s. I wish I could have relied on emails instead of my Chevy Biscayne when we needed to determine the climate boundaries of California’s snake country. Your garden can be in ocean air or a high fog one day and in a mass of interior air (perhaps a drying Santa Ana wind from the desert) the next day. Because temperatures rarely drop very far below 30°F (–1°C), this is fine citrusgrowing country. At the same time, Zone 21 is also the mildest zone that gets sufficient winter chilling for most forms of lilacs and certain other chill-loving plants.
Extreme winter lows (the coldest temperature you can expect in 20 years) average 28 to 25°F (–2 to –4°C).
Gardeners who plant under overhangs or tree canopies can grow subtropical plants that would otherwise be burned by a rare frost. The lack of a pronounced chilling period during the winter limits the use of such deciduous woody plants as flowering cherry and lilac. Frosts don’t amount to much here, because 85 percent of the time, Pacific Ocean weather dominates; interior air rules only 15 percent of the time. A notorious portion of this 15 percent consists of those days when hot, dry Santa Ana winds blow.
Zone 23 lacks either the summer heat or the winter cold necessary to grow pears,most apples, and most peaches.
But it enjoys considerably more heat than Zone 24—enough to put the sweetness in ‘Valencia’ oranges, for example—but not enough for ‘Washington’ naval oranges, which are grown farther inland.

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