USDA Arkansas Hardiness Zones: 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a
Arkansas is known for its long, hot summers and shorter, somewhat chilly winters. It’s a humid state that doesn’t typically have dry spells.
Average summer humidity is around 70%, making the hot summers feel even hotter when it reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The city of Little Rock receives more rain than the average U.S. state each year, yet it also receives more sunshine than average! And although Arkansas tends to have mild winters, there is a danger of extreme weather such as tornados, typically in the months of March, April, and May.
Spring also brings with it other potential forms of extreme weather, such as severe thunderstorms with high winds and hail.
Temperatures at the bases of the mountains may be slightly cooler than other areas of the state, where the cold weather sinks down off the mountains and into the valleys below.
Arkansas Planting Zone – A Quick Overview:
- Only people who live in the northernmost part of the state are likley to be in zone 6b, particularly in Benton and Carroll counties.
- The northern climate of Arkansas is cooler than the southern areas and encompasses zones 6b and 7a.
- If you live in the middle of Arkansas, you are very likely to be living in zone 7b or 8a. Little Rock is classified as zone 8a.
- If you live in the southern part of the state, you also live in zone 8a.
- Winters in Arkansas are short, but they can dip below freezing.
- The more northern areas of the state can see snow, but probably only about 4 inches per year.
- Southern winters tend to be milder.
- The entire state experiences extremely humid summers.
Using the Arkansas Growing Zones Map
The difference between the southern part of the state and the northern part of the state may seem small but using the map of the Arkansas climate zones will help you make the most of your growing area. It is based on 2012 USDA map data.
The hardiness map for Arkansas is easy to use. You can input your zip code or just look on the map for the area where you live. The color of the map will correspond with a key that tells you which Arkansas gardening zone you live in. You can use that information to plan what and when to plant in your garden,
The USDA map is really just a guide, however. There may be small differences throughout the state growing zones. For example, there are a few mountains in the western part of the state. These mountain ranges will have slightly cooler temperatures at night and in the wintertime.
But what’s also surprising is that the temperatures at the base of the mountain could be cooler, as well, because the cool temperatures roll down off the mountain and sit in the surrounding valleys.
Talk to your local nurseries and farmers to find out exactly which Arkansas gardening zone you live in so that you can plan your garden well. The experts can tell you where your zone may be slightly different than what the hardiness map for Arkansas says. You can also get some ideas to create micro-climates on your property if needed.
For example, you can plant hedgerows around your garden to shade them from the extreme afternoon sun or to divert water towards or away from your garden. You could also use tree lines and sheds as windbreaks to protect your garden a little bit from extreme weather.
Arkansas: An Abundance of Sunshine and Humidity
Arkansas has sweltering, humid summers, no matter where in the state you live. This could affect vegetables that thrive in colder weather, such as peas and spinach. In addition, Zucchini and summer squash may be more affected by problems such as powdery mildew.
According to White River Nursery, you can start planting as early as the month of February, especially if you are planting cool weather crops such as kale, cabbage, peas, and spinach.
Summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers can go into the ground in the month of April, and you can even plant another round of spinach and lettuce as late as October due to the long growing season and mild fall weather.