November 1, 2022 Knowing your zone is the key to choosing plants that can thrive in your local area. Choosing plants that are not hardy in your zone can lead to frustration, disappointment, and unnecessary expense. To become a landscaping expert in Colorado’s Front Range, keep reading about these 4 facts about the Front Range planting zone. What Is a Hardiness Zone? Using historical temperature data, the U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA) divided the country into 12 hardiness zones, ranging from 1 (coldest) to 13 (warmest). It is important to understand the hardiness zone and other environmental factors to identify the best landscape plants. Colorado’s Front Range Hardiness Zone Colorado’s Front Range is predominantly Zone 4-5. At zone 5, average minimum temperatures are -20 to -10 F. The mountains are predominantly Zone 4 at -30 to -20 F. When purchasing perennials, shrubs, grasses, and trees, they must be hardy to Zone 4 or 5. This characteristic means they can withstand the minimum average temperature well enough to thrive each year. Topographic Features & Climate of Colorado’s Front Range To understand local climates of the Front Range, a basic knowledge of the Front Range’s topography is essential. As the plains meet the Front Range of the Rocky Mountain chain, elevations increase towards the west to between 5,00 and 6,500 feet. Colorado is best known for its mountains. They occupy less of the area of the state than many realize, but they profoundly impact the climate of the entire region. The main feature of the mountainous area of central and western Colorado is the dramatic differences in climate over short distances. With elevations ranging from below 7,000 feet in the lower mountain valleys to more than 14,000 feet on the highest peaks, all aspects of the climate are affected: temperature, humidity, precipitation and, of course, wind. The Front Range Soil Conditions Colorado has many beautiful natural formations, but the state is not blessed with rich soil. Colorado has little rainfall compared to Eastern states, which means there is not as much of the deep. Dark topsoil found in the east. Because there is little vegetation in Colorado, when it does rain, there is considerable erosion, further degrading the topsoil. In many areas, the soil in Colorado is heavy clay. The soul is often red, derived from igneous, sedimentary, and volcanic rocks that existed in the area thousands of years ago. These Colorado soil conditions can sometimes present problems for landscapers who are not familiar with its properties. Special attention to soil management is the primary key to landscaping success. The Front Range Sunlight Conditions The Front Range of Colorado receives over 300 days of sun per year. Colorado’s high degree of sunshine enables landscapers to grow some of the best trees and shrubs in the nation. The high light intensity produces long-stemmed plants and flowers with extra brilliance. Landscapers who are patient, take the time to select plants that will do well. And manipulate the soil and microclimate will be amply rewarded. Colorado Native Plants That Will Thrive in Your Landscape Colorado native plants are those that have grown naturally in Colorado without human interference. Plants thrive in their native habitats and ecosystems due to long-term adaptations and familiarity. Over time, native plants develop symbiotic relationships with wildlife and growing requirements based on the environment. To grow plants that will thrive and support the local ecosystem, consider landscaping with these Colorado native plants: Blue Spruce Tree Silver Sagebrush Shrub Rocky Mountain Maple Tree Apache Plume Shrub Quaking Aspen Tree Western Chokecherry Shrub Bristlecone Pine Tree And more! If learning more about the Front Range planting zone has piqued your interest, you may be starting to think about your own landscape. Front Range Arborists is here to help! At Front Range Arborists, we are a team of experts passionate about all things trees and shrubs. For professional advice and landscape services, fill out our online form or give us a call today! A member of our team will be in touch to recommend solutions based on your unique landscape needs.