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John Fulton


John Fulton
Former County Extension Director



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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis
USDA Hardiness Zones 2012 for Illinois

New USDA Hardiness Zones

Posted by John Fulton -

There has been quite a bit in the popular press about the USDA changing the Hardiness Zone Map due to the "global warming" phenomenon. These hardiness zones are used to select perennial plants for use in your landscape plan. For the Logan County and Menard County areas, we are still in the 5b zone. The Sangamon County area is now split, with Springfield being the border for Zone 5b and Zone 6a. The zone has shifted from the border in our area now being between 5b and 6a, instead of 5a and 5b.

While there has been much made of the changes, long-term selection of perennials has a simple rule of thumb: "better safe than sorry." This simply means if you live in a border area, you should probably select the zone to your north to be on the safe side. Zone 6a plants may survive well, but that abnormal winter will send them to plant heaven. There are also the new zone numbers to deal with, since many of the zones are now divided; whereas before, Zone 5 was the predominant division.



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