Illinois Planting Zone – USDA Map Of Illinois Growing Zones
Illinois is divided into five zones: 1 through 4. Each zone has its own unique climate characteristics and plant life needs. Plants grown in one area may not grow well or at all in another part of the state. For example, some varieties of corn do best when grown in cool climates while others thrive better if they are planted near water sources.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NAS) publishes a map showing the location of each zone along with the name of the region where it is located. The maps show which areas have suitable conditions for growing certain crops. Some zones are designated as “Hardy” because they require little or no irrigation to produce good quality foodstuffs. Other zones are designated as “Tolerant,” meaning that adequate amounts of rainfall and soil moisture are needed to support crop growth.
Zones 1 through 4 cover most of the central and southern parts of the state. These zones include areas such as Champaign, Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, Urbana and other cities in those counties.
Zone 5 covers the northern and far-western parts of the state such as the counties of Jo Daviess, Mercer and Warren. The counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will are located in zone 6. Some of the cities in those counties include Aurora, Carbondale, Rockford, Naperville and Urbana. The counties of Alexander, Calhoun, Cass, Cumberland, Edwards, Franklin, Hamilton, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Massac, Perry, Pulaski and Richland are in zone
7. The remaining areas of the state are in zones 8 and 9.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
The USDA map also provides information about climate conditions at specific locations within each zone. The climate in each zone was tested by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as part of the National Phenology Network (NPN). The NPN tests data about specific areas including precipitation and temperature. Information can be found about the NPN at the USDA’s ARS website:
The table provided below shows the average annual minimum temperatures for various cities throughout Illinois. These figures are also available at the USDA’s National Arbor Day Foundation site (see link in External links below).
These numbers can help gardeners determine which plants will grow best in their area and which plants to avoid. By looking up the average temperatures for your city, you can see which zone you live in.
Zone City Min.°F Max.°F Annual Precip. Inches Millie Hundred Series 3,000 feet or more above sea level 1 Cairo 44 97 23.1″ 2 Carbondale 41 100 21.7″ 3 Marion 43 98 21.3″ 4 Mount Vernon 40 99 23.5″ 5 Paducah 41 100 20.4″ 6 Shawnee 41 101 23.1″ 7 Siletz Bay 37 98 24.0″ 8 Sterling 40 101 21.9″ 9 Vienna 40 102 21.6″ 10 West Cape Girardeau 40 100 23.3″ Average for the state 40 100 22.8″
Coldest average temperatures Zone 1 Year 1962 Year 2004 23.1″ 23.1″ 21.3″ 24.0″ 23.5″ 22.8″ 23.3″
Warmest average temperatures Zone 6 Year 1962 Year 2004 21.6″ 23.1″ 21.3″ 20.4″ 21.9″ 21.6″ 22.8″
Warmest Average temperatures in Zones 5 – 9 Year 1962 Year 2004 23.5″ 21.9″ 21.3″ 21.6″ 23.1″ 21.3″
Coldest average temperatures in Zones 5 – 9 Year 1962 Year 2004 21.3″ 20.4″ 21.6″ 22.8″ 23.1″ 22.8″ 23.3″
Early settlers in Illinois noted that the state resembled the lands of Kentucky and Virginia. This is because they all were situated around the same latitude with a similar amount of rainfall.
The French were the first Europeans to explore the area in 1673. They called it Illinois Country, which was a part of New France. The first major settlement was established at Fort Chartres in 1765 by the French. According to legend, the area received its name from an Algonquin Indian chief named Peruque. He was said to have welcomed the French explorers to the area while sitting in a Manna Ash tree.
The early settlers first named the area Illinoia, which is a combination of the word Illinois and Ohio. This was later changed to its current spelling in honor of the American Indian tribe that lived in the region.
Settlers began arriving in the region after 1778. They were mostly from the backwoods of Virginia and Kentucky. They found good soils, river valleys and plenty of trees for building homes and furniture. The population grew and the state started to thrive. The new settlers renamed the area Illinois after the Illini tribe of Native Americans.
In 1787 it became the 21st U.S. state.
Illinois climate varies across its 102 counties. The southern part of the state is humid with a warmer climate. The northern part is surrounded by lakes, rivers and forests and has a cooler climate. Each region has its own distinct economy based on its geography, industry and resources.
The state’s nickname is “the Prairie State.” Although the land in Illinois is not as flat as a true prairie, settlers used it to raise corn and tobacco which are both crops of the Eastern U.S. that grow well in the area.
Sources & references used in this article:
A century of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Illinois amphibians (1888–1989) by BL Talley, CR Muletz, VT Vredenburg… – Biological …, 2015 – Elsevier
Costs of producing miscanthus and switchgrass for bioenergy in Illinois by M Khanna, B Dhungana, J Clifton-Brown – Biomass and Bioenergy, 2008 – Elsevier
Nitrogen fertility and harvest management of switchgrass for sustainable bioenergy feedstock production in Illinois by EK Anderson, AS Parrish, TB Voigt, VN Owens… – Industrial crops and …, 2013 – Elsevier
Soil property relationships with SPOT satellite digital data in east central Illinois by PA Agbu, DJ Fehrenbacher… – Soil Science Society of …, 1990 – Wiley Online Library