The question of what hardiness zone Kansas City, MO falls under has a straightforward answer: zone 6 out of the 13 zones. However, before diving into the specifics of the Kansas City hardiness zone, let’s first understand what a hardiness zone is and why it holds such significance.
Understanding Plant Hardiness Zones
A hardiness zone map serves as a standard guide developed by the United States Department of Agriculture. This map divides different areas of the country into 10-degree Fahrenheit zones based on the average minimum winter temperature. Generally, lower zone numbers indicate colder temperatures, with zone 1 being the coldest and zone 13 being the hottest. This information is invaluable to growers and gardeners as it helps them determine which plants are most likely to thrive in their local environment.
It’s important to note that hardiness zones are subject to change. Current trends indicate that hardiness zones in the US are gradually shifting towards the north at a rate of 13 miles every decade. This means that the average minimum winter temperatures are becoming half a zone warmer since the last review in 1990.
Difference Between Plant Hardiness Zones and Climate Zones
While both hardiness zones and climate zones geographically divide areas based on climate, there is a distinction between the two. Hardiness zones primarily aid in determining where specific plants will thrive, taking into account average temperature and winter hardiness. On the other hand, climate zones consider a broader range of factors such as average temperature, vegetation, air pressure, and other climatic characteristics. The four main climate zones are temperate, tropical, subtropical, and arctic.
Kansas City Hardiness Zone
Kansas City, known for experiencing relatively warm summers and winter lows ranging between 0 and 10 degrees, falls under zone 6. However, it’s worth mentioning that some gardeners and horticulturists prefer working with zone 5 plants due to reservations about the specific plant selection for zone 6. There is an ongoing controversy regarding whether Kansas City lies on zone 5 or 6, resulting in discrepancies between the USDA map and current maps like the Arbor Day Foundation map. These differences stem from the data used, with the USDA relying on decades-old data while modern mapping utilizes more recent and short-term data.
Moreover, winters in Kansas City appear to be growing colder, pushing the city closer to zone 5. The weather also tends to shift rapidly from hot to cold, leading to significant temperature fluctuations that can potentially damage winter plants in the area. This means that farmers and gardeners in Kansas City must pay extra attention to identifying resilient plants that can withstand such rapid changes.
Kansas City’s Weather
The weather in Kansas City is known for its interesting and dynamic nature. The area is considered one of the most comfortable places in Missouri, with a comfort index of approximately 7.2 (close to the highest index of 10). The most pleasant months in the area are May, June, and September, while January and December are the least comfortable.
The city experiences its highest temperatures, reaching around 89 degrees, during the peak of summer in July. Winter lows hover around 20 degrees at the beginning of each year, primarily during the nighttime. Kansas City can experience temperatures at or above 90 degrees, albeit infrequently, making it warmer compared to many other places in Missouri.
Precipitation, including rain, snow, hail, and sleet, occurs for approximately 98 days each year. The average annual rainfall is about 42 inches, with 15 inches of snowfall. In comparison, the US averages for rainfall and snowfall are 38 and 28 inches, respectively. Kansas City enjoys a majority of sunny days, with up to 215 days filled with sunshine.
Humidity can be a factor in Kansas City, particularly during the summer. However, humidity levels are generally low, and the three most humid months are July (the most humid), August, and June.
As with most parts of the world, the climate in Kansas City is likely to undergo changes over time. Increased temperatures, prolonged drought periods, and frequent flooding serve as evidence of the ongoing transformation. Weather patterns will inevitably shift, and decades from now, Kansas City may find itself in an entirely different hardiness zone. Therefore, the answer to the question “What Hardiness Zone is Kansas City Mo In?” may not remain the same for long.