Sun hardiness?

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Sun hardiness?

Post  Todd Ellis on Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:33 pm

I am trying to find a website which explains "Sun Hardiness" or Zones. I googled and can't seem to find much about it. Does anyone have suggestions where to find this information? I found lots of information on "plant hardiness", but very little on "sun". Thank you.

Todd Ellis
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Re: Sun hardiness?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:01 pm

I don't think what you are asking exists in one place. Many plant descriptions contain comments about light such as shade, semi shade, full sun, etc.
A few sites do list more specific information.

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Sun Hardiness

Post  Robert J. Baran on Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:27 pm

Todd,

In the Phoenix, AZ area (1,100+ ft altitude) we let only larger specimens or certain types of plants get full or long exposure during the day to sunlight. We keep an eye on the water needs of each plant, the recent weather, and the season. This is also tied in to the desert locations we're in. The specifics can be found via our Plant Listing http://www.phoenixbonsai.com/PPlantList.html . Tucson is a little higher altitude (2,400 ft) and it has been said that the sunlight is more intense there. In the Colorado Springs, CO area (altitude 6,000+ feet) we have more cloud cover but the sun can burn. Some of our collected trees (usually between 2 and 4 ft tall) come from 8,000 to 10,000+ ft and they can get full sun exposure when they become established as pot plants. Their root balls do need to get some protection from the heat (placing the pot on the ground rather than up on a stand, for instance).

On our home page http://www.phoenixbonsai.com/ on the left top under the 'Plant Zones' drop-down tab we have links to all the plant zones for the USDA and Sunset systems.

Bottom line to your unique questions: The amount of direct sunlight a given bonsai can safely stand depends on 1) the nature of the plant: is it a native of the tropics, temperate or alpine zone or desert?, is its recommended placement shade, semi shade, full sun?, are the leaves large or tiny?; 2) its health, size, and how well established it is in a container (for instance, in its pot for a season vs. just transplanted); 3) the general climate, altitude and topography it is in PLUS the microclimate (close to a wall or window or light-colored gravel where reflected sunlight would tremendously be increased).

When in doubt, most sources O.K. exposure to full sun during the morning hours for established plants.

A few thoughts.

Cordially,

Robert J. Baran
Bonsai Researcher and Historian

Robert J. Baran
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Re: Sun hardiness?

Post  JimLewis on Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:50 pm

The American Horticultural Society has developed a heat zone index. The link to a downloadable copy (PDF format) of the map, an explanation of how it should be used and how it was developed, and the "heat zone finder" is here:

http://www.ahs.org/publications/heat_zone_map.htm

I don't know if this is your "sun hardiness" or not, but it is the closest I know of. It is, after all, the heat, not sunlight, that does in many northern plants in the southernmost parts of the USA.

Many of the newer garden books publish this map alongside the USDA map -- soon to be updated.

You might search for "understory trees" and find lists of plants that do better in the shade. (But even shade would't save a Canadian hemlock that was transported down to piedmont North Carolina or points south.)

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Sun hardiness?

Post  Todd Ellis on Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:32 pm

Thanks, Jim. Have you ever been to "Hemlock Bluffs" in North Carolina? It is somewhere in the Piedmont; southern most area where Hemlocks are growing. I was there in 1978 and saw some incredible trees!
Best, Todd

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Re: Sun hardiness?

Post  JimLewis on Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:16 pm

Nope. Never heard of it, but I'm relatively new here. I'll look.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Sun hardiness?

Post  Todd Ellis on Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:05 pm

Thank you Billy.

Todd Ellis
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Re: Sun hardiness?

Post  Gentleman G. on Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:28 pm

I've heard them called "sunset zones". According to the USDA, I live in zone 9 or 10. According to this map, I'm in 28 I believe. http://www.sunset.com/garden/climate-zones/sunset-climate-zones-texas-00400000036339/ Is this what you're talking about?

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Re: Sun hardiness?

Post  Gentleman G. on Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:31 pm

Sorry, that link was for the page specific to Texas. Hope this helps.
http://www.sunset.com/garden/climate-zones/climate-zones-intro-us-map-00400000036421/

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Re: Sun hardiness?

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:59 pm

The Sunset zones are compiled from a host of data gathered by the editors of Sunset Magazine. From Sunset's last edition of their book "Bonsai":

"A plant's performance is governed by the total climate: length of growing season, timing and amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, humidity. Sunset's climate zone maps take all of these factors into account -- unlike the familiar hardiness zone maps devised by the US Department of Agriculture . . . based (only) on winter lows. . . . our climate zone maps let you see where that plant will thrive year-round."

(Once again, this doesn't seem to take strength of sunlight into account -- at least not directly)

The Sunset maps are very detailed, and contain 45 different zones. Unlike those of the USDA, zone 1 (coast range in Oregon and Washington - and elsewhere) is NOT the most forbidding and 45 (Ontario, Canada and elsewhere) is NOT tropical. Most, if not all, of the newer Sunset garden books contain a map of the zones. Since Sunset Magazine itself circulates only in the 10 or 12 western state of the US, some magazines may only have maps of those states. That seems to be the case on the website: http://www.sunset.com/garden/climate-zones/ The last edition of the Bonsai book (which appears to be out of print!!) has a map of most of North America with the zones shown.

Southern Living, a sister publication, also publishes books on gardening and has a more generalized, but still very useful, geographically based zone system, found in (for example) the "Southern Living Garden Book." It covers the SE USA and a ways up the east coast.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
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