Do you know what a Hardiness Zone is? It’s a way that the geography of the United States and Canada has been divided up into 11 zones to reflect differences in temperature. Each zone has a 10-degree difference in annual minimum temperatures. For example, the minimum average temperature in our area, the Conejo Valley, is 30-40 degrees, which puts us in zone 10a.
It’s important to know which zone you’re in when you’re selecting trees to plant, because some are well suited to our zone — and some most definitely are not. Many trees and plants in general are well suited to a range of zones — for example, “hardy in zones 4-9” is common, indicating a plant that thrives in a wide variety of climates. One thing to keep in mind is that local variations such as moisture, soil, winds and other conditions might affect the viability of individual plants.
If you’re planning on planting trees or plants this spring, be sure to check which zone they’re suitable for. Our local nurseries are good about stocking plants that thrive in our area, but with the widespread ability to buy plants online, it’s good to double check before you buy.
So, what might be a good, fast-growing and attractive tree that grows well around here? Check out the River Birch, a distinct kind of birch tree that many people find adds a wonderful look to their landscaping. It’s good in zones 4-9, so we’re at the top range that it’s good for. But if you’re in a cooler part of the Conejo, you may be in a micro-climate where it will grow well. Keep an eye out for trees in your neighborhood — if you spot some healthy Birch trees you’ll know you’re on the right track. Here’s some more information if you’re interested in River Birch trees.