Growing In Our Area

At Four Seasons Greenhouse & Nursery, we carry plants that are best suited for our zones. Below you will find plenty of helpful information about our zones. If you need more information on plant hardiness zones, please feel free to stop by our garden center and ask any staff member for help. Or you can also visit the (USDA) United States Department of Agriculture’s website. Be sure to check out and use their new interactive USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find your zone. You can search by zip code.

Average Frost Free Dates:

If you would like to view the National Weather Service website that lists the Average Last Freeze and Frost Dates for our entire area, click here.

Cortez        May 25 – September 20 (118 days)
Dolores      June 5 – September 15 (103 days)

Average First Frost Dates for Fall:

If you would like to view the National Weather Service website that list the Average First Frost and Freeze Dates for our entire area for the fall, click here.


Cortez        6201 feet Dolores     6800 feet
Durango     6523 feet Bayfield    6892 feet
Ignacio      6432 feet Mancos     6993 feet
Telluride    9078 feet Rico          8827 feet
Farmington, NM     5395 feet  

Our Zones:

The Four Corners area spans 6 of the USDA Hardiness Zones, which means temperatures can vary greatly. These zones are based on the minimum temperature a plant can survive. These USDA zones are not perfect for our area because other factors such as soil moisture play a large role in plant survival. Snow cover is also a large factor in the survival of low plants such as perennials. Reliable snow cover is the best insulator and can allow you to grow otherwise tender plants in very cold areas. Obviously, this will depend on the current year’s snow fall.

Microclimates are small areas of your yard or neighborhood where the weather is different from what’s generally happening. These areas may be colder, warmer, wetter or drier than surrounding areas. Take advantage of these spots in your yard to grow plants that might not be happy otherwise.

USDA Zone Statistics:

Zone 1    Below -50 F Zone 2     -50 to -40 F
Zone 3    -40 to -30 F Zone 4     -30 to -20 F
Zone 5    -20 to -10 F Zone 6     -10 to 0 F
Zone 7    0 to 10 F Zone 8     10 to 20 F

The following zones are for the areas in these towns based on the latest revision of the USDA Hardiness Zones map in January 2012. If you would like to view the Zone Map, click here. Please keep in mind that if you live at a higher elevation, your zone may be lower.

USDA Hardiness Zones by Town:

Aztec – Zone 6b
Dove Creek – Zone 5b
Monticello – Zone 6a
Bayfield – Zone 5b
Durango – Zone 6a
Pagosa Springs – Zone 5a
Blanding/Bluff – Zone 7a
Durango West – Zone 6b
Shiprock – Zone 6b
Cortez – Zone 6a
Farmington – Zone 7a
Telluride – Zone 5b
Dolores – Zone 6a
Mancos – Zone 6a
Towaoc – Zone 6b


Problems & Solutions Related to our Area:


Relatively short growing season because of high altitude


Grow lots of perennials and shrubs that tolerate light frosts. Also, put tender annuals out as transplants rather than seeds to make the most of the time we have.


Winter sun and wind can dry out plants.


Water roses and newly transplanted trees and shrubs through dry winters. So, if you grow broad-leaved evergreens that really suffer from this problem, keep them in protected areas. Or also consider using anti-transpirants such as Wilt-Pruf.


Soil is poor. More specifically, most soils in our area are heavy clay that compacts easily. Also, they are alkaline and have very low levels of organic materials.


Add Back to Earth compost. This compost loosens clay, makes soil less alkaline, and helps hold water. In addition, Back to Earth is the best amendment for sandy soils. You can also aerate lawns annually to lessen compaction. Also be aware that acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, heather, and blueberries will grow here only if you add lots of peat moss to their soil and use acid type fertilizers. Whatever you do, don’t add lime or wood ashes to our alkaline soils as these make it even more alkaline. Another material that does not help our soils is Gypsum. Gypsum contains calcium, which we already have high levels of in our area.