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How to Use This Website

This help information is available in a downloadable format: PHZM_HelpDoc (PDF, 2.11MB)

Supported Internet Browsers

This application was designed and tested to function properly when using Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 and above (https://www.microsoft.com/internetexplorer/) and Firefox 7.0 and above (https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/). If you are using an older version of these browsers or another browser and experience any problems with this application, we recommend you upgrade to the current versions. You may click on the links provided to download and upgrade to the current browsers.

Table of Contents

  1. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Application
    1. Introduction
  2. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Application (JavaScript Enabled Internet Browser)
    1. Introduction
    2. USDA PHZM Home Page
      1. Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder
      2. Static Map Images
    3. USDA PHZM View Maps Page
      1. View Maps Wizard
      2. Viewing the Map
    4. USDA PHZM About Pages
      1. About Page Content
    5. USDA PHZM Map & Data Downloads Page
      1. Map Downloads
      2. Geography (GIS) Downloads
      3. Multi-ZIP Code Finder
    6. USDA PHZM Interactive Map Page
      1. Access the Interactive Map Viewer
      2. Interactive Map Viewer Tools
      3. Viewing Plant Hardiness Zone Data
    7. USDA PHZM Help Page
      1. How to Use This Website
      2. Contact USDA-ARS
  3. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Application (JavaScript Disabled Internet Browser)
    1. Introduction
    2. USDA PHZM Home Page
      1. Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder
    3. USDA PHZM View Maps Page
      1. View Maps
    4. USDA PHZM Interactive Map Page

 

I. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Application

1. Introduction

This document provides instructions for using the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map (PHZM) Application. The PHZM User Guide is a reference tool to assist you with obtaining plant hardiness zone information for your area of interest. By the end of this guide, you will be able to obtain plant hardiness zone information from a plant hardiness ZIP Code Finder, from static map images and through an interactive GIS-based map.

The PHZM User Guide is divided into two sections:

  1. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Application in a JavaScript enabled Internet Browser (Section 2.0)
  2. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Application in a JavaScript disabled Internet Browser (Section 3.0)

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II. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Application (JavaScript Enabled Internet Browser)

1. Introduction

When you access the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map application in a JavaScript enabled Internet browser, you will access the home page which looks similar to the graphic below in section 2.2.

If you have a JavaScript disabled Internet Browser, it will behave differently on some pages. To review those differences, click here

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2. USDA PHZM Home Page

The USDA PHZM Home page consists of a Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder and static images of the plant hardiness zone map for the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

USDA PHZM Home Page

i. Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder

The Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder allows you to retrieve a plant hardiness zone and temperature range for a ZIP Code using the following steps. First, make sure you are in the Home Page or select the Home tab on the toolbar to return to the Home page.

Step 1: Access the ZIP Code Finder
Enter a five-digit ZIP Code in the Enter ZIP Code search field and click the Find button.

Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder - Step 1: Access the ZIP Code Finder

Step 2: Answer CAPTCHA Challenge
A CAPTCHA Challenge will be displayed the first time you access the ZIP Code Finder from the home page. Enter the displayed CAPTCHA phrase in the Enter code field and click Validate. If you need audio assistance, click the Audio button to activate the CAPTCHA audio. Click the Reload button to refresh (change) the CAPTCHA image.

Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder - Step 2: Answer CAPTCHA Challenge

Step 3: View Plant Hardiness Zone
After answering the CAPTCHA question, the plant hardiness zone and temperature range will be displayed below the Enter ZIP Code search field.

Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder - Step 3: View Plant Hardiness Zone

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ii. Static Map Images

There are two ways to access static map images of the plant hardiness zone map for the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico; each option is described below. To access, first make sure you are in the Home page or select the Home tab on the toolbar to return to the Home page.

Option 1
Click on a state in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico on the plant hardiness zone map.

Static Map Images - Option 1

A new pop-up window will display the selected plant hardiness zone map. To close the map, click the X button in the top right-hand corner of the pop-up window.

Static Map Images - Option 1 Close Map

Option 2
Select a state (including Puerto Rico) from the View Your State Map drop-down menu.

Static Map Images - Option 2

Click on a state (including Puerto Rico) in the drop-down menu.

Static Map Images - Option 2 Click on a state

A new pop-up window will display the selected plant hardiness zone map. To close the map, click the X button in the top right-hand corner of the pop-up window.

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3. USDA PHZM View Maps Page

The USDA PHZM View Maps page consists of a three-step wizard (i.e., selection process) to obtain state, regional or national plant hardiness zone maps in three different dots-per-inch (dpi) resolutions.

i. View Maps Wizard

Access state, regional or national plant hardiness zone maps in three different resolutions using the following steps. To access the Wizard, make sure you are in the View Maps page or select the View Maps tab on the toolbar to return to the View Maps page.

Step 1: Choose a geography – Select the State, Regional or National button.

View Maps Wizard - Step 1: Choose a geography

After selection, a drop-down menu will appear. Select the state, region, or national map of interest. If State is selected, the drop-down menu will default to a list of state maps. If Regional is selected, the drop-down menu will default to a list of regional maps. If National is selected, the drop-down menu will default to a list of national maps.

Step 2: Select a resolution – After the geography selection, select the Standard, Medium, or High resolution button.

View Maps Wizard - Step 2: Select a resolution

Step 3: View a map – After the resolution selection, you have three options for accessing the map: Preview Map, Open Full Map, or Save Full Map. These options are further described in the next section. Select one of the options, and you should be able to access your map accordingly.

View Maps Wizard - Step 3: View a map

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ii. Viewing the Map

This section describes the functionality associated with each of the available options for viewing the map defined in the View Maps Wizard (section 2.3.1).

a. Preview Map Button

Click the Preview Map button. The map will appear within the PHZM window.

Viewing the Map - Preview Map Button

b. Open Full Map Button

Click the Open Full Map button. The map will appear in a new window. You can print this map using the browser default printing menu option or button.

Viewing the Map - Open Full Map Button

c. Save Full Map Button

Click the Save Full Map button. Your default browser download window will appear, prompting you to open the file or save the file to your computer. Select "Save File" to save it locally.

Viewing the Map - Save Full Map Button

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4. USDA PHZM About Pages

The USDA PHZM About pages consist of detailed information regarding the following topics: Maps & Gardening, What's New, Map Making, Acknowledgments, and Copyright.

i. About Page Content

There are two ways to access About page content; each option is described below. To access, make sure you are in the About page or select the About tab on the toolbar to return to the About page.

Option 1 – About Page Drop-Down Menu
Place your cursor over the About tab on the toolbar. A drop-down menu will appear. Click the topic of interest, and the information will be displayed within the PHZM window.

About Page Content - Option 1 – About Page Drop-Down Menu

Option 2 – About Page Topics
Click a page of interest in the About Topics box on the left side of the PHZM window. The page of interest will display in the PHZM window.

About Page Content - Option 2 – About Page Topics

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5. USDA PHZM Map & Data Downloads Page

The USDA PHZM Map & Data Downloads Page consists of access to the following:

  • Map Downloads: Downloadable maps for specialty purposes such as Print Quality Maps, Simplified Map Components, and Previous Edition of the Map.
  • Geography (GIS) Downloads: Downloadable plant hardiness zone GIS data.
  • Multi-ZIP Code Finder: This selection provides an external link to Climate Source, Inc., which provides a multiple or "batch-mode" ZIP Code finder that may be purchased by the user. This application allows the user to match hundreds or thousands of 5-digit ZIP Codes with the appropriate USDA Plant Hardiness Zone.

Each of these is described in the sections below.

i. Map Downloads

The Map Downloads page provides access to additional downloadable maps including Print Quality Maps, Simplified Map Components, and Previous Edition of the Map. Follow the steps below to access these resources.

Step 1: Accessing the Map Downloads page
There are two ways to access the Map Downloads page; each option is described below. First, make sure you are in the Map & Data Downloads page or select the Map & Data Downloads tab on the toolbar to return to the Map & Data Downloads page.

Option 1 – Map & Data Downloads Drop-Down Menu
Place your cursor over the Map & Data Downloads tab on the toolbar. A drop-down menu will appear. Click Map Downloads. The Map Downloads page will appear in the PHZM window.

Step 1: Accessing the Map Downloads page - Option 1 - Map & Data Downloads Drop-Down Menu

Option 2 – Map & Data Downloads Topics
Click the Map Downloads link in the Map & Data Downloads Topics box on the left side of the PHZM.

Step 2: Selecting Desired Map
Once you have opened the Map Downloads page, you can scroll down the page to select from a choice of Print Quality Maps, Simplified Map Components, and Previous Edition of the Map. Each is described below.

  • Print Quality Maps are very large files and may take a long time to download. Most of the file formats are intended for graphic artists using specialized software. Very high-resolution posters of the PHZM can also be printed from these files. To open your choice, click the title.
    • Adobe Illustrator Files - Prompts the Internet Browser Save As window to download an .ai file.
    • Adobe PDF - Opens an Adobe PDF in an Internet Browser window.
    • Graphic – Opens the graphic in an Internet Browser window.
    • Adobe Photoshop - Prompts the Internet Browser Save As window to download a .ps file.

    Print Quality Maps

  • Simplified Map Components are individual pieces of the map (title, legend, etc.) and several versions of the PHZM which can be utilized when displaying less detail is preferred. To open these files, scroll to the appropriate selection and click on the desired file. The file will open in a new Internet Browser window.

    Simplified Map Components

  • Previous Edition of the Map gives you access to the previous edition of the USDA PHZM. To open either the United States version or the complete map (all of North America), click the title of the file. The corresponding Previous Edition PHZM map will open in a new Internet Browser window.

    Previous Edition of the Map

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ii. Geography (GIS) Downloads

The Geography (GIS) Downloads page provides access to downloadable GIS data used for generating the maps. Follow the steps below to access the data.

Step 1: Access the Geography (GIS) Downloads page
There are two ways to access the Geography (GIS) Downloads page; each option is described below. First, make sure you are in the Map & Data Downloads Page or select the Map & Data Downloads tab on the toolbar to return to the Map & Data Downloads page.

Option 1 – Geography (GIS) Downloads Drop-Down Menu
Place your cursor over th Map & Data Downloads tab on the toolbar. A drop-down menu will appear. Click Geography (GIS) Downloads. The 'GIS Data Downloads' page will appear in the PHZM window.

Step 1: Access the Geography (GIS) Downloads page - Option 1 - Geography (GIS) Downloads Drop-Down Menu

Option 2 – Geography (GIS) Downloads Topics
Click the Geography (GIS) Downloads link in the Map & Data Data Downloads Topics box on the left side of the PHZM.

Step 2: Access Climate Source Data Download page.

Step 3: Click the Continue button at the bottom of the GIS Data Downloads page.

A new Internet Browser window will open to the Climate Source website.

 

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iii. Multi-ZIP Code Finder

This selection provides an external link to Climate Source, Inc., which provides a multiple or "batch-mode" ZIP Code finder that may be purchased. This application allows the user to match hundreds or thousands of 5-digit ZIP Codes with the appropriate USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. To access, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Access the Multi-ZIP Code Finder page
There are two ways to access the Multi-Zip Code Finder page; each option is described below. First, make sure you are in the Map & Data Downloads Page or select the Map & Data Downloads tab on the toolbar to return to the Map & Data Downloads page.

Option 1 – Multi-ZIP Code Finder Drop-Down Menu
Place your cursor over the Map & Data Downloads tab on the toolbar. A drop-down menu will appear. Click Multi-ZIP Code Finder. The Multi-ZIP Code Finder page will appear in the PHZM window.

Step 1: Access the Multi-ZIP Code Finder page - Option 1 - Multi-ZIP Code Finder Drop-Down Menu

Option 2 – Multi-ZIP Code Finder Topics
Click the Multi-ZIP Code Finder link in the Map & Data Downloads Topics box on the left side of the PHZM. The Multi-ZIP Code Finder page will appear in the PHZM window.

Step 2: Access the Multi-ZIP Code Finder
Click the Climate Source Web Site button at the bottom of the Multi-ZIP Code Finder page. A new Internet Browser window will open to the Climate Source website.

 

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6. USDA PHZM Interactive Map Page

The USDA PHZM Interactive Map page is a dynamic viewer of plant hardiness zones for the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

i. Access the Interactive Map Viewer

To open the interactive map viewer, select the Interactive Map tab on the blue toolbar.

When the Interactive Map Viewer first loads, a CAPTCHA challenge will be displayed. Enter the displayed CAPTCHA phrase in the Enter Code field and click Validate. CAPTCHA challenges are case sensitive. If you need audible assistance to fill in the CAPTCHA challenge, click the Audio button. Click the Reload button to refresh (change) the CAPTCHA image.

USDA PHZM Interactive Map Page - Access the Interactive Map Viewer

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ii. Interactive Map Viewer Tools

In the Interactive Map Viewer, there are map tools that serve various basic map functions. The table below shows each of those tools and how to use them.

Tool Actions
USDA PHZM Interactive Map - Zoom Level To pan and zoom, use your mouse and scroll wheel, the arrow keys on your keyboard, or the zoom slider on the left side of your map. To zoom in, you can also hold down the SHIFT key and drag a box on the map.
USDA PHZM Interactive Map - Zone Color Transparency The interactive map is a multilayered map with the zone colors overlaying the selected basemap option (Terrain, Road Map, and Satellite Image). This feature adjusts the transparency of the zone colors, enabling the underlying attributes of the selected base map to be more or less apparent. Sliding the scale to the left makes the zone colors more transparent. Sliding the scale to the right makes the zone colors more opaque.
USDA PHZM Interactive Map - Turn on Basemap Roads and Labels Check the 'Turn on Basemap Roads and Labels' box to display roads and labels on the displayed basemap. This option is available only for Terrain and Satellite Image basemap choices.
USDA PHZM Interactive Map - Hide Legend Click the Hide Legend box to display the map legend.
USDA PHZM Interactive Map - Choose Location Choose Location displays Lower 48 States as the default location. You can change the location by clicking the Choose Location drop-down menu to switch between Lower 48 States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
USDA PHZM Interactive Map - Choose Basemap Choose Basemap displays Terrain as the default basemap. You can change basemaps by clicking the Choose Basemap drop-down menu to switch between Terrain, Road Map, and Satellite Image.
USDA PHZM Interactive Map - Help with this Map Click Help with this map to get Interactive Map instructions and definitions of terms.
USDA PHZM Interactive Map - ZIP Code Locate Enter a five-digit ZIP Code into the ZIP Code search field and click the Locate button. The location will be displayed on the map, and the map will zoom to that location.

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iii. Viewing Plant Hardiness Zone Data

You can access plant hardiness zone data for any location on the Interactive Map by clicking once on the location of interest. When you click on that location, the data for that location is displayed in a pop-up box. The pop-up box displays the Plant Hardiness Zone, Average Temperature (Fahrenheit), Temperature Range (Fahrenheit) and the Longitude and Latitude.

Note: After every 25 clicks, you will be presented with another CAPTCHA Challenge. This challenge is to prevent automated robots from unauthorized access to map information and overloading system access.

USDA PHZM Interactive Map Page - Viewing Plant Hardiness Zone Data

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7. USDA PHZM Help Page

The USDA PHZM Help page consists of information on how to use this website and the ability to send an e-mail directly to the USDA. Both options are available from the "Help" tab.

i. How to Use This Website

Step 1: Access the How to Use This Website page
There are two ways to access the How to Use This Website page; each option is described below. First, make sure you are in the Help page or select the Help tab on the toolbar to return to the Help page.

Option 1 – Help Drop-Down Menu
Place your cursor over the Help tab on the toolbar. A drop-down menu will appear. Click How to Use This Website. The How to Use This Website page will appear in the PHZM windoww.

Step 1: Access the How to Use This Website page - Option 1 - Help Drop-Down Menu

Option 2 – Help Topics
Click the How to Use This Website link in the Help Topics box on the left side of the PHZM.

Step 2: Access PHZM HelpDoc
There are two ways to access the How to Use This Website page; each option is described below. First, make sure you are in the Help page or select the Help tab on the toolbar to return to the Help page.

Step 2: Access PHZM HelpDoc

The PHZM HelpDoc will open in Adobe PDF in a new Internet Browser window.

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ii. Contact USDA-ARS

Step 1: Access the Contact USDA-ARS Link
This feature allows the user to send e-mail inquiries relating to the PHZM to the USDA–ARS (Agricultural Research Service). There are two ways to access the Contact USDA-ARS link; each option is described below. First, make sure you are in the Help page or select the Help tab on the toolbar to return to the Help page.

Option 1 – Help Drop-Down Menu
Place your cursor over the Help tab on the toolbar. A drop-down menu will appear. Click Contact USDA-ARS. The USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) page will appear in the main window.

Option 2 – Help Topics
Click the Contact USDA-ARS link in the Help Topics box on the left side of the PHZM window. The Contact USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) page will appear in the main window.

Step 2: Send an e-mail to the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Once the Contact USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) page appears, click the e-mail link at the top of the page.

Step 2: Send an e-mail to the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Your default computer mail client will appear. For example, if you have Microsoft Outlook installed on your computer, the following will appear.

Example of a default computer mail client

If you do not have a default e-mail client on your computer, you can copy the e-mail address and paste it into a different e-mail client (e.g., Google Gmail, Yahoo).

Step 3: Access the USDA Ask the Expert forum
This link is used to send inquiries which are more general in nature and not related to the PHZM. To access the USDA Ask the Expert forum, click the Ask The Expert link that appears on the Contact USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) page.

Step 3: Access the USDA Ask the Expert forum

A new Internet Browser window will appear with the USDA Ask an Expert website (https://www.usda.gov/ask-expert).

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III. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Application (JavaScript Disabled Internet Browser)

1. Introduction

When you access the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map application web in a JavaScript disabled Internet Browser, the website's home page will look similar to the graphic below.

However, the PHZM website will perform differently in several sections in a JavaScript disabled Internet Browser as compared to the JavaScript enabled Internet Browser.

If you have a JavaScript enabled Internet Browser, click here.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Homepage - JavaScript disabled

The PHZM website in a JavaScript disabled Internet Browser will perform differently in several sections compared to the JavaScript enabled Internet Browser.

Below are the main differences.

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2. USDA PHZM Home Page

The USDA PHZM Home Page includes a Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Homepage - JavaScript disabled

i. Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder

The Plant Hardiness ZIP Code Finder allows you to search a plant hardiness zone and temperature range for a ZIP Code using the following steps. First, make sure you are in the Home Page or select the Home tab on the toolbar to return to the Home page.

Step 1: Answer CAPTCHA Challenge
Enter the displayed CAPTCHA phrase in the Enter Code field and click Validate. Click the Audio button to activate the CAPTCHA audio. Click the Reload button to refresh (change) the CAPTCHA image.

Step 1: Answer CAPTCHA Challenge

Step 2: Access the ZIP Code Finder
Enter a five-digit ZIP Code in the Enter ZIP Code search field and click the Find button. The plant hardiness zone and temperature range will be displayed below the search field (the CAPTCHA challenge will disappear).

Step 2: Access the ZIP Code Finder

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3. USDA PHZM View Maps Page

The USDA PHZM View Maps Page consists of access to state, regional and national plant hardiness zone maps in three different resolutions.

USDA PHZM View Maps Page - JavaScript disabled

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i. View Maps

The View Maps page allows you to access state, regional and national plant hardiness zone maps in three different resolutions (72, 150, and 300 dpi). First, make sure you are in the View Maps page or select the View Maps tab on the toolbar to return to the View Maps page.

Step 1: Access Standard 72 dpi Resolution National Maps
For standard resolution (72 dpi) national maps, click either US Zone Map or US Zone Map – without A and B zone divisions.

Step 1: Access Standard 72 dpi Resolution National Maps

Step 2: Download Standard 72 dpi Resolution National Maps
Your default browser download window will appear, prompting you to open the file or save the file to your computer. Select "Save File" to save it locally.

Step 3: Access Standard 72 dpi Resolution Regional Maps
For standard resolution (72 dpi) regional maps, click the U.S. by Region drop-down menu.

Step 3: Access Standard 72 dpi Resolution Regional Maps

Step 4: Download Standard 72 dpi Resolution Regional Maps
Select a region and click the Download button. Your default browser download window will appear and will allow you to save the file to your computer.

Step 4: Download Standard 72 dpi Resolution Regional Maps

Step 5: Access Standard 72 dpi Resolution State Maps
For standard resolution (72 dpi) state maps, click the States drop-down menu.

Step 5: Access Standard 72 dpi Resolution State Maps

Step 6: Download Standard 72 dpi Resolution State Maps
Select a state and click the Download button. Your default browser download window will appear and will allow you to save the file to your computer.

Step 6: Download Standard 72 dpi Resolution State Maps

Step 7: Medium (150 dpi) and High (300 dpi) Resolution national, regional and state Maps
To access medium resolution (150 dpi) and high resolution (300 dpi) national, regional and state maps, follow the above directions.

Step 7: Medium (150 dpi) and High (300 dpi) Resolution national, regional and state Maps

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4. USDA PHZM Interactive Map Page

The Interactive Map viewer is not available in the JavaScript disabled Internet Browser.

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