Region Description: Middle South

Zone Map
USDA Hardiness Zones
6 to 8
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AHS Heat Zones
5 to 9
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Major Cities

Abilene TX, Ashville NC, Atlanta GA, Charlotte NC, Del Rio TX, Greensboro NC, Huntsville AL, Knoxville TN, Little Rock AR, McAlester OK, Memphis TN, Nashville TN, Raleigh NC, Richmond VA, Tupelo MS

The Region

Beginning on the Atlantic coast just east of Richmond, the Middle South swings down the east side of the Appalachians, through central Virginia, western North and South Carolina, into the Tennessee Valley, including sections of northern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, into central Arkansas and parts of central Texas; west of Dallas and Waco.

The Climate

Mild winters punctuated by a few short-lived snows or occasional ice storms give way to beautiful springs that fill March through May. Hot, humid summers accommodate semi-tropical plants with ease, though the sultry conditions can be rough on people. Mountainous areas tend to be cooler and more hospitable. Droughts are common in July and August, with relief often coming from played-out hurricanes as they move inland. Precipitation amounts vary from 20 to 30 inches a year in Texas to 55 to 60 inches a year in eastern Tennessee. Flooding is not uncommon especially during heavy spring rains. The fall gardening season is unusually long and pleasant in this region. Plenty of warm, clear days and comfortably cool nights last well into November. The first fall frost is often followed by several weeks of mild weather, making fall a prime growing season for cool-season plants.

The Growing Season

The last spring frost usually comes in early April, though higher elevations aren't safe until later in the month. The first fall frost can be expected in late October, but damaging freezes often hold off until mid-November. The frost-free growing season lasts around 200 days. However, mild winters make it possible to continue planting and harvesting hardy vegetables and annual flowers into December. Perennial flowers, trees, and shrubs planted in the fall benefit from winter rains and have months to get established before they are stressed by summer heat.

View this week's Regional Report for
Middle South »


Published by the National Gardening Association
www.garden.org, www.kidsgardening.com

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