CLIMATE AND SOILS
PLANT HARDINESS ZONES
The USDA has updated their Plant Hardiness Map that divides the nation into regions based on average minimum temperatures. These are not absolute minimums, but average annual temperatures. These Zones are used to describe the range in which plants are adapted to and can be grown. We list these Zones for each of our products.
From North to South - Dark Purple is Zone 4, Blue Zone 5, Dark Green Zone 6, Pale Green Zone 7, Yellow Zone 8, and Tan Zone 9.
Use the the link to plug in the zip code where you will be planting .
USDA Plant Hardiness Plant Zone Map Link
Inside these Zones, variation in elevation, site location, directional orientation and proximity to bodies of water such as lakes can create variation in temperature than can raise or lower the temperatures experienced at the site. These micro- climates can allow or prohibit the planting of particular plants. Fruit trees that break dormancy early may likewise be damaged by late season frosts that settle in frost pockets at the bottom of valleys or even swales, whereas higher on hillsides the cold air drains off down to the bottom and does not damage the trees. The south side of a hill or mountain can be much warmer with winter sun and protection from cold north winter winds. Consideration of micro-climate is very important in choosing where to plant.
Try to pick a location that avoids low lying frost pockets or areas that stay wet in the spring for long periods during snow melt.
throughout the South vary widely, from the red clays of the Piedmont to
the deep sand of old beachfront dunes or the hardpan of poorly drained
flatwoods in Florida. Ideal soils for growing are well-drained, sandy
loams, which are relatively common in much of the farm lands and river
bottoms of the south. A clue to the productivity of the soil are the
types of native trees growing on the site if it supports large oaks,
hickories and other hardwoods, it is probably suitable to plant. If the only
trees on your land are pines and saw palmetto, then you will have to add
organic matter and nutrients to the soil.
Soils may vary substantially even within one property, depending on location and prior use, whether hillside, bottomland, or top of a hill.
The type of soil you have
sand, clay, or loam? influences how fast water penetrates before running off,
how often plants will need to be watered, and how much water you'll need to
apply with each irrigation. Observe what happens to your soil when you wet it.
Sandy soils absorb water quickly without
puddling. Compared with plants growing in clay soils, those in sandy soils need
water more often, but since water penetrates sandy soils faster, you don't need
to apply as much. In sandy soils, irrigate more frequently, but don't apply so
much water that it will flow through the root zone without stopping.
Clay soils absorb water more slowly than sandy
ones do; when water is applied too quickly, it puddles or runs off before being
absorbed. Clay soils are slow to dry out; plants that grow in them are
particularly at risk of diseases and other problems that result from
over watering. Stretch the time between waterings so plants have a chance to
partially dry out. Apply water slowly so it doesn't run off before it can be
Loam soils absorb water at an even pace without
heavy puddling or runoff. You can recognize loam by picking up a moist handful;
when you let go, it holds together but falls apart easily with some gentle
Most soils are a mixture of
clay, sand, and loam. Identify what predominates in your soil and adjust your
Local Agricultural Extension offices
will often perform soil analysis as a free service and they will
recommend what treatments will be necessary to create an optimum
environment. Trees are likely to get too little water in
well-drained soil and to much in soil that is poorly drained. We
recommend for best success to supplemental water your newly planted
trees for the first two years.
Soil’s acidity or alkalinity is determined by pH. The best pH for growing most nut and fruit trees is between 5.0 and 7.0. It is in this range that most nutrients are available. Soils in much of the East fall within this range. Soils in pine flatwoods are often lower (4.5-5.0), and need to be raised by the application of lime or dolomite. Other areas (such as Texas) have soils with pH > 8, which will need to be acidified or lowered by the application of nitrogen sulfate or other sulfur-based fertilizers.