The climate in Nebraska boasts dry, cold winters and hot summers. The state’s planting zones see huge seasonal precipitation and temperature fluctuations. There are two distinct climates in Nebraska: the humid continental climate is seen on the eastern side of the state, while the western side experiences conditions typical to a semi-arid climate. During the late parts of spring and throughout the summer, Nebraska experiences thunderstorms often in the evenings. As the state lies in Tornado Alley, tornadoes are fairly common in both spring and summer. Average summer temperatures are in the low 70s. Winters see an even amount of snow each year, averaging somewhere between 25 to 35 inches, and temperatures are typically in the mid 20s.
Nebraska growing zones mostly range from 4b to 5b. A very small area in the far north west region falls into the 4a zone. Planting zones are determined based on first and last frost dates each year. Knowing each zone helps make it clear which plants and flowers will be able to survive the average winter temperatures and conditions during the year in any given zone or region. Be sure to choose plants wisely, looking for those rated for a specific zone or lower to ensure winter survival. Plants rated for a higher zone could have problems surviving the coldest parts of the year. Gilmour’s Interactive Planting Zone Map is an easy way to determine any planting zone.
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