University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Article Title

Last Frost Project


For nursery stores and garden shops planning Spring deliveries, it is crucial to be able to predict last frost dates for frost-tolerant and frost-tender plants. This project provides historically reliable information on the seasonal last frost occurrence for U.S. store locations. Stores can use this information as a general guide in making Spring distribution plans but would also need to take the current season’s weather variations and predictions into account. Using geospatial software and an historical weather data set provided by National Climatic Data Center, the probability from 10 percent to 90 percent for days below a specified temperature (i.e., 28 o F. and 32o F.) is visualized as zoning maps. The weather data set covers over 3,000 weather stations in the United States from 1951 to 1980. After creation of the maps, accuracy of the approach is considered from the aspects of geographic conditions and actual planting dates for frost-tolerant and frost-tender plants