New Federal Planting Map Reflects Warming Trend

By SETH BORENSTEIN | January 26, 2012

The government’s official map of colorful planting zones is being updated for a warmer 21st century.

Graphic credit: USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture guide for 80 million gardeners reflects a new reality: The coldest day of the year isn’t as cold as it used to be. So some plants that once seemed too vulnerable to the cold now survive further north.

It’s the first time the government map has been updated since 1990 and much has changed. Nearly entire states, such as Ohio, Nebraska and Texas, are in warmer zones now.

Wednesday’s new guide also reflects better weather data and more interactive technology.

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