How to Use the New Map
In using the map to select a suitable environment for a landscape plant, today's gardeners should keep in mind the following:
Stress Factors. We became aware of additional stresses to plants during the 1970's. Acid rain, gaseous and particulate pollution, security lighting, and toxic wastes, among many other stress factors, have significantly increased the potential for unsatisfactory performance of landscape plants. We need to document the tolerances of plants to these factors.
New Plant Management Systems. New techniques of planting, transplanting, watering, fertilizing, and providing pest control measures have done much to increase the vigor of landscape plants. But used unwisely, these same measures can reduce plant hardiness.
Artificial Environments. We have pushed the use of plants into totally artificial environments such as expressways, malls, elevated decks, and buildings where plant roots are totally removed from the ground and its warming influence. The assortment of plants that can adapt to such environments is proving to be very restricted. Hardiness ratings alone are inadequate to guide landscapers in selecting the most successful plants.
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There is a better, more detailed interactive version of the USDA hardiness zone map at www.plantmaps.com/usda_hardiness_zone_map.php that may be a useful link for your customers
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