There are only two Massachusetts planting zones due to the state’s predominantly humid continental climate. Winters are cold and snowy, and summers are hot and dry. Temperatures in the Berkshires, a popular tourist destination, are always more relaxed than those on the coast. During the summer, temperatures hover around 80 degrees, while lows drop to 16 degrees during the winter, accompanied by significant snowfall.
Even in January, temperatures on the coast are above freezing, whereas the state’s inland areas are significantly colder.
Between 5a and 7b, the state of Massachusetts has a wide range of growing zones. It’s possible to categorize plants based on their hardiness zones, also known as growing zones. Gilmour’s Interactive Planting Zone Map makes it simple to pinpoint your exact Massachusetts growing zone online.
Growing zones dictate both what to plant and when to produce it. The first and last frost dates determine planting dates for each zone. Inland areas of Massachusetts experience colder, more volatile winters and have planting zones ranging from 5a to 5b, depending on their distance from the coast.
When choosing plants for your garden, bear in mind that anything rated for your zone or lower should be able to withstand the harsh winters you’ll be experiencing. When planting zone 5a, for example, you can use plants rated from zones 1 to 5, and they’ll likely be fine.
Gardeners in Massachusetts have a wide variety of plants and flowers to choose from, so they can achieve any style they desire.
Hostas, ferns, and sedums are all beautiful perennials that thrive in this area. All four plants thrive in this climate: Echinacea (also known as purple coneflowers), black-eyed Susans, daylilies, and Siberian Irises. Root vegetables like potatoes and carrots thrive in the Massachusetts planting zone when grown in a summer vegetable garden.
On the other hand, sweet potatoes will struggle because they require a much longer and warmer growing season. Corn, lettuce, beans, tomatoes, and peas are some of the other vegetables that will yield a lot of food. Brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts) thrive in Massachusetts’ temperate climate and rich, moist soil, making them ideal for the region’s seasonal gardens.
Massachusetts Planting Zones
Massachusetts has a total land area of 8,257 square miles, with a wide range of seasonal and regional climates, from mild summers to frigid winters. However, all Bay State’s regions fall within USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 7.
The following zones can help you determine which plants to grow in your yard if you live in an area where the average minimum winter temperature is below freezing regularly.
The vast majority of western and central Massachusetts is classified as USDA plant hardiness zone 5b, with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from -15 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Berkshire County, Greenfield, Pittsfield, Franklin, central Worcester County, the majority of northern Gardner, and the western portions of Hampden and Hampshire Counties in Massachusetts are included in this planting zone. Temperatures in some parts of the state, in the chillier zone 5a, can drop as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit.
A small portion of Berkshire County and a small portion of Worcester County are included in these regions. Wisteria, daisy-like asters and other common garden vegetables such as lettuce and onions are some of the recommended plants for zone 5.
Massachusetts has a total land area of 8,257 square miles, with a wide range of seasonal and regional climates, from mild summers to frigid winters.
USDA plant hardiness zone 6a covers about half of central Massachusetts, including Worcester County’s lower half, central Middlesex County’s central portion, and western Essex County’s western portion. Winter lows in this region range from -10 to -5 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Springfield, Hampden County, and the majority of Norfolk County are all located in this zone, as is the entirety of Hampden County.
In hardiness zone 6b, the average minimum winter temperature ranges from -5 to 0 degrees in eastern Massachusetts, extending from Gloucester and Bristol counties to the east border of Plymouth County. Hydrangeas, lilies, and irises, as well as blackberries and blueberries, thrive in zone 6.
Dukes and Nantucket are located in USDA plant hardiness zone 7a, a temperate island county. Between 0 and 5 degrees, Fahrenheit is the average winter temperature in this more moderate area. Zone 7a encompasses all of Barnstable County, including the city of Barnstable, as well as the southern coast of Bristol County.
The sweet fruits and herbs of Zone 7 include chives and rosemary. Zone 7 is also suitable for peaches and pears.
USDA plant hardiness zone 6a covers about half of central Massachusetts, including Worcester County’s lower half, central Middlesex County’s central portion, and western Essex County’s western portion.
In hardiness zone 6b, the average minimum winter temperature ranges from -5 to 0 degrees in eastern Massachusetts, extending from Gloucester and Bristol counties to the east border of Plymouth County.
Planting Tips For Massachusetts Residents
Massachusetts is in planting zone 6. This means that the typical first frost in the state is in late September or early October, and the average last frost is in late May or early June. The growing season is typically around 150 days long. If you live near a coastline, soil temperatures are warm enough to plant by mid-May.
5 Tips For Spring Lawn Care For Massachusetts Residents
People prepare to spend more time outdoors as the winter season winds down. However, the frigid temperatures in Massachusetts likely took a toll on your turf — and now is the time to provide it with the TLC it requires. This Spring, greet Spring with grace by following spring lawn care tips:
1. Early Spring Clean-Up
Over the winter, debris from late last seasons, such as fallen branches and rogue leaves, may have accumulated on your lawn. In April, give your property a once-over and a thorough clean-up. This includes watching for dead grass, or “thatch.” This decaying grass can build up and provide pests and mold growth habitat.
Early Spring is an excellent time to aerate specific patches of thatch, allowing oxygen to reach your grass or seed turf areas damaged by salt or snowplows.
However, we typically advise Massachusetts homeowners to delay thorough aeration and overseed until the fall.
2. Monthly Fertilization Until Early Summer
Even the healthiest lawns suffer during harsh winters. Your grass was dormant throughout the season and relied on fall food storage to survive the cold. Mother Nature signals to your turf as temperatures rise that it is time to wake up. When it comes to grass, this is the time of year when it requires nutrients to thrive and recover from winter damage, which can be mitigated with some Spring grass treatments.
Late April is typically an ideal time in Massachusetts to begin laying down your first round of lawn fertilizer. From then on, fertilize your turf once a month through June. This spring lawn care routine provides your lawn with three bursts of nutrients to help it survive the hot, dry summers.
3. Begin Planting
Taking in the vibrant colors and aromas of fresh flowers is one of the most pleasurable aspects of Spring. Taking in the vibrant colors and fragrances of fresh flowers is one of the most pleasing aspects of Spring. April is typically an excellent month for Massachusetts residents to begin seeding early Spring annuals such as pansies.
May temperatures are typically in the upper 60s, making it an ideal time to prepare your garden beds for growth by incorporating compost into the middle of the month.
Spring planting for trees, shrubs, and perennials begin in late May. Plant your preferred species and watch your property come to life. The Center for Agriculture offers some spring planting advice for our region, including monitoring soil temperature and more.
4. From Spring To September, Pest Control
Just as your grass was dormant throughout the winter, so were bugs and other critters. Insects and moles establish a home in your yard as the weather warms— and they’re hungry! Not only can pests consume and destroy your vegetation, but they can also bite your family members and pets, possibly causing illness.
In late April, residents of Massachusetts can begin applying organic tick and mosquito repellent. It should be used once a month or every six weeks until October.
5. Wait Until The Grass Grows Before Mowing
Fertilizing gives your lawn the boost it needs to begin growing, but mowing too early in the Spring can be detrimental to your turf. You can kill the grass by agitating it before it becomes deeply rooted.
Late April is typically an appropriate time in Massachusetts to start your lawnmower for the first spring trim. Perhaps a more accurate indicator would be the height of your newly installed grass. Before mowing, ensure that it is at least 3 inches tall.
Because your grass is devoting most of its energy to growing in the Spring, now is a critical time to implement these turf tips. Spring lawn care practices such as proper mowing patterns, brand sharpening, and grasscycling can contribute significantly to cultivating a lush, green lawn.
Therefore, Massachusetts is in Planting Zone 6. This means that the best plants to grow in the state can tolerate a cold winter and a hot summer. Many plants fit this description, so gardeners in Massachusetts have plenty of options to choose from. If you are looking to plant a garden in Massachusetts, be sure to consider the state’s planting zone.