Using plant zone maps can be helpful in choosing the right plants to buy for your garden. However, there are several different maps which can be confusing when looking at labels or reading articles. Be sure to know which is referenced to avoid buying plants that won’t be able to suit your area.


USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

This map focuses on the average annual minimum winter temperature. It’s great for choosing plants that may be frost tender. Turlock and Modesto area is considered Zone 9b, which has an average minimum temperature of 25-30 °F and Merced area is 9a, 20-25 °F. Click the map to enter your zip code.

AHS Plant Heat Zone Map

Similarly, the American Horticultural Society Heat map is based on the average number of days each year that a given region experiences “heat days”-temperatures over 86 degrees.

Sunset Climate Zones: Central Californiawgbmap-centralca-w-x

Sunset Climate Zones

The Sunset Climate Zones are based on multiple factors including cold, heat, humidity, length of growing season, and wind. This comprehensive map ensures every factor is taken into account when choosing plants for success. Use this map with the Sunset Western Garden book and each plant has the zone number listed. Depending on which side of town you live on, Modesto and Turlock area are Zones 9 & 14. Livingston, Atwater, Merced, and Gustine fall under zone 8. Find out what these zones mean on Sunset Climate Zones: Central California. 

Remember, be sure to know which map is being referenced when talking about climate zones and happy gardening!