Understanding more about tree growing zones is the first step in finding the right plants for your yard. While it’s not the only factor at play, knowing the cold hardiness you need from your plants can save you a lot of money. 

In this post, Southeast Tree, your expert tree service in Sandy Springs, explains more about how the average annual minimum winter temperature and growing zone impact your choices. In addition, we can help with identifying the tree species; call today to speak to a professional.

What Are the Tree Growing Zones? 

If you visit most gardening websites, you’ll find some form of plant zone map. The United States falls into 11 of these areas, based on the minimum temperature the area experiences. There’s a 10-degree difference in the range that separates each zone. 

When choosing trees, you should look for species specific to your zone. In other words, species that can survive the minimum temperatures in winter. While there’s more to helping your tree grow than simply the temperature, you’re wasting your time planting trees that can’t handle the winter cold. 

For example, you can plant a papaya or banana tree in Georgia. Will it ever bear fruit, though? Since it’s unlikely to survive its first winter, probably not. 

What Is Sandy Spring’s Hardiness Zone? 

We fall under zone 7b, which means that the minimum average temperature ranges between 5° and 10°F. Plants that do well in these tree growing zones include: 

  • American Elm
  • Blue Spruce
  • Dawn Redwood
  • Giant Sequoia
  • Paper Birch
  • Ponderosa Pine
  • Red Maple
  • Sycamore

That said, there’s a lot more to helping your trees thrive than understanding the annual minimum winter temperatures. You also need to consider other factors, such as the soil, wind, and water. 

Other Factors To Consider

We said that you can plant a papaya or banana tree in Georgia, but it would be unlikely to survive its first winter because it’s outside its tree growing zones. However, if you’re determined enough, you can help it do so. If you can find the right sheltered spot and keep it warm enough, it could grow. That’s why many English manor houses had conservatories and why you can’t rely solely on the planting zones map. 

While we don’t recommend going to such extremes, you can baby some trees that are on the cusp. After all, it takes many things to help your tree survive, including the following. 


All plants need the right amount of light per day to thrive. If you plant a shade-loving plant in full sunlight, it won’t survive, no matter how hardy it is, and vice versa. 


Underwatering and overwatering are equally damaging for trees. Too much water may cause a sapling to develop weak roots, while too little may prevent it from spreading out. In either case, your tree may suffer from moisture stress, making it vulnerable during winter. 

Cold Exposure

Even within the hardiness ratings, there’s some wiggle room. Some trees are resilient enough to withstand a short cold spell, even when it’s way below what they prefer. However, they won’t fare well with weeks of the same exposure. 


High humidity protects trees because they lose less water through their leaves. By helping them retain the moisture, humidity makes them better able to face damage due to winter dryness. 

Would you like to grow an exotic species and give it the best chance for survival? Speak to our arborists about whether it’s a good idea. 

Consult Your Local Experts Today!

Now that you know more about tree growing zones, do you have any other questions, like how to identify a black walnut tree? Would you like our help in finding the right trees? Call Southeast Tree at (770) 977-8733.


SoutheastTree is one of the best, top rated full-service tree removal companies serving the Atlanta, GA area. Our team of trained arborists are experts in the art and science of removing trees.

Contact Us

4710 Lower Roswell Rd. Suite 100
Marietta, GA 30068

Phone : 770-977-8733 (TREE)

24/7 Emergency Tree Removal:
(678) 631-7382

Email : info@southeasttree.com

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