Plan your growing season by learning the first and last frost dates according to your region.
As we continue to enjoy warm, sunny days and planning what’s next to plant, it’s important to know the first and last frost dates in your location. Frost dates indicate the last frost, which means the start of spring, and the first frost, which usually happens in the fall or winter. Knowing the first and last frost dates can serve as a guide on when to plant and harvest.
There are three classifications of freeze temperatures, according to Almanac. Each freeze temperature differs in its effect on plants:
- Light freeze: 29° to 32°F (1.7° to 0°C)—tender plants are killed.
- Moderate freeze: 25° to 28°F (3.9° to -2.2°C)—widely destructive to most vegetation.
- Severe freeze: 24°F (-4.4°C) and colder—heavy damage to most garden plants.
Determining by Zip Code
Many gardeners and plant experts determine the first and last frost date according to their zip code. You could look at different websites like the Old Farmer’s Almanac and the National Gardening Association for guide. Keep in mind that the dates are average. It doesn’t consider the microclimates in your location. To ensure the safety of your plants, you could adjust these dates feasibly by two weeks. Two weeks forward for spring and two weeks backward for fall or winter. Use these adjusted dates as a guide on when you should begin to plant or harvest.
Using Your Hardiness Zone
Determining your hardiness zone and using it as a guide could help you plan which plants would grow best in your area and temperature range. It will also help you figure out when is the best time to sow seeds and how late in the season you can plant shrubs, trees, and perennials. Find your hardiness zone by referring to the official USDA zone map.
First and Last Frost Date Charts
The Spruce made a chart about the first and last frost dates. The dates are all estimated, which means the first and last frost dates could arrive on any date within the period provided.
So if you’re still figuring out when to plant perennials and shrubs in your garden, use these first and last frost dates as a guide! Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.
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