2018 last frost date

Enter your ZIP code, city, or state below to find the average first and last frost date in spring and fall in your area:

Your results:

Nearest Station: Last Frost Date: First Frost Date: To show the dates above, we use probability level of 50% and frost temperature of 32°F. If you want to start your garden earlier in the spring with a higher risk of frost, or later with a lower risk, use the following table:

Data provided by the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Probability level (90%, 50%, 10%) is the chance of the temperature to go below the threshold after the last frost date or before the first frost date. Using a lower probability means you have lower risk of unexpected forst damage but shorter gardening days in a year. Empty cells indicate very small to zero chance of frost.

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What are Frost Dates?

Frost dates are the day of the year when it is calculated to be 50% likely that the temperature will dip below freezing, resulting in frost on the ground.

In spring, we have a ‘last frost date’, and in the fall we have a ‘first frost date’. These dates vary depending on various factors like latitude and longitude, altitude, and weather patterns that change yearly. It is hard to pinpoint an exact date so it is wise to assume that freezing temperatures are possible two weeks before the first frost date and two weeks after the last.

The dates in-between the last and first frost dates are days when it is safe to plant and when you should harvest your last vegetables of the season.

It is difficult to estimate when you will experience the first or last frost of the year without using data gathered over many years by the USDA and NOAA (which we use in our tool above).

Why is it important to know your frost dates as a gardener?

When temperatures drop to a range of 29-30 degrees Fahrenheit, a ‘light freeze’ will damage delicate plants. A ‘moderate freeze’ will damage most plants in your garden except the hardiest, and it occurs with temperatures between 25-28 degrees Fahrenheit. A ‘severe freeze’ is almost always fatal to all garden plants, and it occurs when temperatures are lower than 24 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a gardener who worked so hard on your beautiful garden, it is important to know when you need to take steps to preserve perennials and harvest annuals so the cold weather will not destroy them.

Frost dates data will also tell you when you need to start seeds and help you choose the correct plants for your area that will grow best under the temperature conditions you experience.

If you plant in succession, frost dates become more important because you will need to start your first garden as early as possible.

Which plants can/can’t stand the freeze?

Some plants are so hardy that they will not be harmed by a light or moderate freeze, so you can start these varieties as early as possible and leave them in the ground as late as possible. Peas, onions, and spinach are the hardiest so you can plant them as soon as the soil in your garden is soft enough to begin working with.

Slightly less hardy varieties that will thrive when planted a week or two before the last frost of the season include kale, mint, broccoli, cabbage, beets, carrots, dill, radishes, cilantro, celery, potatoes, and lettuce.

Varieties that require transplanting, meaning that the seeds need to be started indoors before moving them to the garden, are very susceptible to frost damage, so it is imperative to wait to transplant them until there is no longer any danger of the temperature dropping below freezing. These include squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, peppers, basil, corn, beans, melons, and eggplants.

How to Find Your Frost Dates

There are two ways to find out the frost dates in your area, we’ll talk both methods along with the pros and cons.

1. The USDA Hardiness Zone Method

To find the average frost dates for your region, you first need to determine your hardiness zone or planting zone. You can do this by using our planting zone map tool. Click on your state to zoom in or enter your zip code to find the zone number of your specific area.

Frost dates can vary widely within each state and county so it is important to find the correct zone for exactly where you will be planting. Then, you can use this handy list to check the first and last frost dates for your zone.

Zone Last Frost Date First Frost Date
1 May 22 – June 4 August 25-31
2 May 15-22 September 1-8
3 May 1-16 September 8-15
4 April 24 – May 12 September 21 – October 7
5 April 7-30 October 13 – October 21
6 April 1-21 October 17-31
7 March 22 – April 3 October 29 – November 15
8 March 13-28 November 7-28
9 February 6-28 November 25 – December 13
10-13 No freeze No freeze

As an extra precaution, it is a good idea to assume a difference of two weeks from scheduled frost dates so that you are not caught off-guard. This means acting under the assumption that the last frost date of the spring will happen two weeks later than calculated, and the first frost date of the fall will happen two weeks earlier than the estimate.

2. The NOAA Climate Station Method

Using the hardiness zone is the simplified method to find your frost dates. It is easy to use, but it can be less accurate.

Which is why to get more accurate dates with wider probabilistic ranges, you can use our tool that consolidates information from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). All you need to do is enter your zip code on top of this page and it will locate your area and tell you the estimated first and last frost dates.

Scroll down further to find two tables, each giving the estimated dates for 90%, 50%, and 10% chance of frost before the first frost date or after the last frost date of the year. You can use these more specific ranges to maximize your gardening time during the year by pushing your planting earlier and your harvesting later.

This is the method we recommend you to use.

The Limitations of Frost Dates

It is important to remember that these dates are simply estimates and cannot account for unusual weather events. For instance, an abnormally warm spell during the cold season or a sudden onset of cold before the estimated first frost date will cause damage to certain plants, so you need to pay attention to weather warnings to make sure you are able to mitigate the damage.

Microclimates are also difficult to account for, which can be created by many different factors including large areas of concrete or steep changes in elevation. These variances within a certain zone mean that the frost dates in these areas will be slightly different from a nearby area in the same zone.

This means that aside from taking note of frost dates, you need to research your area and take note of unique atmospheric changes affecting your plants over time.

Similarly, plants react to a variety of factors other than temperatures, such as light, humidity, soil type, and the duration of certain temperatures. It is vital to plant different varieties in areas of your garden that are best suited to them and make sure that your soil is adequately prepared and fertilized to support your plants.

Temperature fluctuations cause changes to the soil’s humidity which means that you need to adjust the balance of your soil when you notice sudden temperature shifts. Use these frost dates as a guideline but make sure to observe the weather, talk with your neighbors, and track the reaction of your plants through the year to make the most accurate decisions that will ensure the highest yield each harvest.

It is also important to trust your gut when it comes to your garden. If you are an experienced gardener, you know what works well in your soil and what does not, so stick with the methods you have been having success with. Your garden is its own microclimate since it is uniquely built. If it is more covered and contained than your neighbors yard, your plants will enjoy more warmth for longer, meaning you can push your luck by planting earlier and harvesting later.

Interactive United Kingdom Last Frost Map

Last Frost Dates for United Kingdom Cities

Aberdeen Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Aberystwyth Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
Andover Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Ballycastle Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Ballymena Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Barnet Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Barnsley Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Barnstaple Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Barrow-in-Furness Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Barry Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Basildon Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Basingstoke Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Bassetlaw District Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Bath Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Becontree Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Belfast Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Bentley Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Berwick-upon-Tweed Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Bexhill Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Bexhill-on-Sea Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Bexley Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Birmingham Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Blackburn Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Blackpool Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Bolton Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Boston Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Bournemouth Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Bradford Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Brent Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Brighton Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20

Bristol Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Bromley Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Bryher Last Frost: Occasional
Caernarfon Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Cambridge Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Camden Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Campbeltown Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Cardiff Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Carlisle Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
Chelmsford Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Chichester Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Coventry Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Craigavon Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Cromer Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Croydon Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Darlington Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Derby Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Derry Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Dorchester Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Dover Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Dudley Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Dumfries Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Dundee Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Durham Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Ealing Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Eastbourne Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Easton Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Edinburgh Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
Enfield Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Exeter Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Falmouth Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Filey Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Fort William Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Freshwater Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Glasgow Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Gloucester Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Grantham Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Greenock Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Greenwich Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Guildford Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
Hackney Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Hammersmith Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Harbledown Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Harringay Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Harrogate Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Harrow Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Havering Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Hawick Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Hereford Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Hillingdon Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Holyhead Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Hounslow Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Huddersfield Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Hull Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Hunstanton Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Ilford Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Inverness Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Ipswich Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Isles of Scilly Last Frost: Occasional
Islington Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Kensington Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Kettering Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Kilmarnock Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
Kingston upon Hull Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Kingston upon Thames Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Lambeth Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Leeds Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Leicester Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Lerwick Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Lewisham Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Lincoln Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Liverpool Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Llandrindod Wells Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
London Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Londonderry Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Lowestoft Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Luton Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Maidstone Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Manchester Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Margate Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20

Mendip Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Merton Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Middlesbrough Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Milford Haven Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Minehead Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Morecambe Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Newcastle upon Tyne Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Newham Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Newport Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Newquay Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Northallerton Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
Northampton Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Norwich Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Nottingham Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Oban Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Oldham Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Omagh Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Oxford Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Penzance Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Peterborough Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Plymouth Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Poole Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Portsmouth Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Preston Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Reading Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Redbridge Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Rhyl Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Richmond-upon-Thames Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Rotherham Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Royal Tunbridge Wells Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Saint Austell Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Saint David’s Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Saint Helens Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Salisbury Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Sheffield Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Shrewsbury Last Frost: May 11 – May 20
Slough Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Southampton Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Southend-on-Sea Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Southwark Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
St Ives Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Stirling Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Stockport Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Stockton-on-Tees Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Stoke-on-Trent Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Stornoway Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
Stranraer Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Stromness Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Sunderland Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
Sutton Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Sutton Coldfield Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Swansea Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Swindon Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Taunton Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Teesside Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Telford Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
The Medway Towns Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
The Potteries Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Thetford Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Torquay Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Tower Hamlets Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Truro Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Tyneside Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Ullapool Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
Walsall Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Waltham Forest Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Wandsworth Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Watford Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Wembley Last Frost: Apr. 1 – Apr. 10
West Bromwich Last Frost: Apr. 11 – Apr. 20
Westminster Last Frost: Mar. 11 – Mar. 20
Weymouth Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
Whitehaven Last Frost: Mar. 21 – Mar. 31
Wick Last Frost: May 1 – May 10
Wolverhampton Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30
Yeovil Last Frost: Mar. 1 – Mar. 10
York Last Frost: Apr. 21 – Apr. 30

Farmer’s Almanac Predicts the First and Last Frost Dates for the Tri-State

This morning, I woke up and it was really chilly outside. I checked the forecast on my phone and it said the high would be 72. I promptly dressed my warm-natured daughter in shorts, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. Temps are ranging from 82 to 38 this week. It’s just weird weather like that this time of year.

And, after the two-month drought we’ve experienced lately, I pulled all my plants in and placed them under the grow light. I’ll have herbs all year round! 😀 But, if you have outdoor plants that need to be covered or brought in, here’s a handy guide of when you should think about handling that.

The Farmer’s Almanac has a Frost Calculator that looks at your location and gives you an estimate of when it will start frosting at night. The Boonville area is Oct 18 – April 18. Now, let’s be real here. This is an estimate and they state that the first and last frost dates are 30% probability. Calculated using 1981-2010 Climate Normals.

Want a little more info about the frost dates? The FA goes on to say that:

WHAT ARE FROST DATES?

A frost date is the average date of the first or last light freeze that occurs in spring or fall. Note that local weather and topography may cause considerable variations. The probability of frost occurring after the given spring dates and before the given fall dates is 30 percent.

The classification of freeze temperatures is based on their effect on plants:

  • Light freeze: 29° to 32°F—tender plants are killed.
  • Moderate freeze: 25° to 28°F—widely destructive to most vegetation.
  • Severe freeze: 24°F and colder—heavy damage to most plants.

Frost dates are calculated based on data from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.

And don’t forget to download our app to get severe weather updates and closing lists all winter long and watch our friends at WEHT for the latest in local weather.

Use our frost dates calculator to find the average date of the last spring frost and first fall frost for locations across the U.S. and Canada. Simply enter your ZIP or Postal code in the field below to see frost dates for your location (based on the nearest weather station).

How To Determine Last Frost Date

Knowing about frost dates is very important to gardeners. A great many things on a gardener’s to-do list in spring depend on knowing when is the last frost date. Whether you are starting seeds or just want to know when it is safe to plant your vegetables out in your garden without fear of losing them to frost, you need to know how to determine the last frost date.

When is the Last Frost Date?

The first thing you need to know about frost dates is that they vary from place to place. This is because last frost dates are based on information gathered from historical meteorological reports. These reports may go back 100 years or so. The last frost date is the latest date that a light or hard frost was recorded 90 percent of the time.

What this means is that while the last frost date is a good indicator of when it is safe of put out plants, it is not a hard and fast rule but an approximation. In the historical weather data, a frost occurred after the official last frost date 10 percent of the time.

Normally, the easiest way to find the last frost date for your area is to either consult an almanac, which can be found at your local library or bookstore, or to call your local extension service or farm bureau.

Even though these frost dates are not absolutely foolproof in making sure that your garden is not affected by Mother Nature, it is the best guide gardeners have as to how to plan their spring garden.

Multnomah County Master Gardeners™

“My seed packets say to plant after danger of frost is over. When is that? Why don’t they just put the date?” This is a common concern for gardeners, and the answer is… It depends.

The only accurate way to answer the question is statistically, based on the history of frost dates from past years. One difficulty is that the “historical data” has to be from your garden, not from across the country, across the state, or even across town, and there probably is not a weather station in your garden!. How cold it gets in any one place depends on several factors – cloud cover, elevation, and topography (on a hill, or in a valley?). Temperature can vary considerably within just a few hundred yards. Usually the best you can do is use the history from a weather station that is located similarly to your garden.

There is another aspect of the historical data to be considered. Do you want to know the average date of the last frost in the spring (or the first in the fall), or do you want to know the latest recorded date when there has been frost? Average means that half the years have not had frost past this date, but half the years have had frost. You flip a coin about this year. Waiting past the last recorded frost may provide too short a growing season for the crops you are interested in growing, and even then, this year may yield a new record!

Another way to view the data is to ask, “at what date has the last frost occurred 90% of the time? Using this date you would (historically) not have frost 9 years out of 10. This might be considered a conservative planting date.

All this explains why the best answer may be to offer a table of places and percentages, and let you chose your own risk level. Good luck (and remember, Mother Nature hasn’t read this!)

Spring

ADJUST DATES TO YOUR TOWN

The first step in adjusting dates to your town is to select the required country from the options below:

ENGLAND
SCOTLAND
WALES
FRANCE
UNITED STATES (NEW)

After you have set your frost date, check it out by looking near the top right of any page in GardenFocused. If it’s set correctly then you know we have set all dates to suit your area.

Occasionally your settings can get lost over time although this is unusual. If this happens then simply return to this page, select your country and reset your town.

Below we define “last frost date” as used in this website and the effects it has on your growing conditions.

WHAT IS “LAST FROST DATE”?

There is no clear definition of what a “last frost date” is and this explains why dates can differ by a week or two for the same location. Our “last frost dates” are designed to be a practical guide for gardeners. They have been researched to be correct in six out of every seven years. Occasionally a late frost will occur and in several years the last frost date will be slightly earlier.

Other sources may define the “last frost date” as the average date. This means that, on average, in half of the years the last frost will occur after the given date and in the other half of the years the last frost will occur before the given date. We don’t believe this is the best estimate for gardeners because in half the years your tender plants, if outside, will be damaged or killed by frost.

Another definition gives the last frost date as the last recorded frost date for a given location over a much longer period, in some cases the last frost date ever recorded. Using this definition will give you a date that is far too late for practical gardening purposes in almost all years.

A final complication is the span of dates given. Our dates refer to a specific week, other sources may refer to a time span of two or three weeks. Other sources may simply refer to a month which is not particularly helpful for gardeners.

MORE ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF FROST IN YOUR GARDEN

At the end of this page we have begun compiling a list of recent weather predictions for the UK in winter, most of which turned out to be a whole pile of sensation seeking rubbish! Read this article to the end and see those predictions. We will add to them in the future.

Weather affects the plants in your garden in many ways. Possibly one of the most obvious is the effect of a late frost on tender plants and vegetables – it can kill them overnight. The more you know about the weather in your area, the better chance you have of raising healthy plants. This article examines how frost forms, where it forms and how the effects can be minimised. Towards the middle of this page is a map of England, Scotland and Wales which attempts to identify the last frost date in your area.

It’s easy to confuse the effects of the last frost date and the lowest average temperature on the plants in your garden. In general terms the last frost date will effect when you can plant tender, annual plants and vegetables. The lowest average temperature however will effect which types of non-annual plants you can grow in your garden. For example, if the last frost in your garden is late spring, you will be able to plant out tomato plants a week or so later.

If the same garden has a lowest average temperature of -15°C / 32°F then some shrubs will be killed by that lowest temperature because, although they are frost hardy, they are not fully hardy. An example of such a shrub is Cistus. So it is easily possible that your garden is ideal for growing annual tomatoes but is not suitable for growing shrubs which are only partially frost hardy.

When using the map above be aware that the last frost date can vary quite significantly even in the same town. Factors which can affect the last frost date include slopes and hills, nearby presence of large bodies of water and others. The frost dates associated with each town above are generally accurate in six out of seven years but occasionally a late frost can catch even the experts out. However what is is very clear is that different parts of the UK do have very different last frost dates, a fact which most gardening websites and books simply ignore. This site attempts to address this problem by asking you where you live and then adjusting all dates to match the likely weather conditions in your area.

UK WEATHER PREDICTIONS

PREDICTION 1 – The Daily Express November 26th 2014.
“WEATHER forecasters have in the past few hours issued the terrifying warning that devastating snowstorms which crippled parts of America will rip into Britain IN DAYS …….. A set of freak circumstances will collide to trigger a perfect storm of conditions capable of sparking a near NATIONWIDE whiteout.
THE REALITY
The weather over the next two weeks was about average with only average snowfalls in the North of England and Scotland. Our rating of this prediction 0 / 10.

PREDICTION 2 – The Mirror October 29th 2014
“And that could mean the gates are open to a freezing influx of air that could engulf the UK – similar to what happened in 1947 when average temperatures plummeted to -2.7C. The worst of the weather is predicted to arrive around the middle of November and could again mean nightmare travelling conditions on the roads and chaos at British airports.
THE REALITY
The UK weather in November 2014 was about average. Our rating of this prediction 0 / 10.

PREDICTION 3 – The Daily Mail January 8th 2017
“Look what’s heading our way! Britain to shiver from Arctic blast with four inches of snow and minus 10C temperatures as deep freeze grips Europe
THE REALITY
Let’s see what happens over the next few days. Our guess is that temperatures for early to mid January will be about normal – but then we are a bit cynical about these things.
January 11th – lowest UK minimum temperature +1.1C in Dalwhinnie (average January low in Dalwhinnie is -3.1C).
January 12th – the Daily Mail publishes this headline:
‘There’s snow in Fife – quick, cancel flights at Heathrow!’ Airport bosses are slammed for axeing 80 flights before whiteout arrives’.
The Met Office issued only “Be Aware” weather warnings, no “Be Prepared” or “Take Action” warnings were issued today.

January 13th – the snow failed to arrive except for a few flurries in Northern areas. The surpise was that the forecast on the 8th totally misread some really bad weather. Floods in the east of England which led to several villages in the area being evacuated. Even the floods did not materialise sufficiently to cause any problems.

Our rating of this prediction minus 2 / 10!

By Julie Christensen

Most perennials, shrubs and trees aren’t affected by freeze and frost dates, but if you’re planting annuals or vegetables, these are details you need to know. Many vegetables, including tomatoes, green beans, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, peppers and corn, don’t tolerate even a light frost. Annual flowers, such as petunias, nasturtiums and morning glories, among others, can’t tolerate cold temperatures either. Plant them out too early and they’ll likely be stunted or killed. Conversely, these crops are usually the first to be killed in the fall by cold weather.

A light frost is defined as temperatures between 32 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit. A hard frost is defined as temperatures below 28 degrees. Most leafy vegetables, peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leeks and carrots can tolerate hard frosts. This means that you can plant these crops earlier in the spring and they’ll grow for longer in the fall.

Finding Your Last Frost Date

But how do you find out the average last freeze or frost date for your area? One option is to consult your local nursery. Most nursery workers know these dates for the area you live in. You can also ask that green thumb neighbor, especially one that’s lived in the area for years.

Failing these simple suggestions, it’s time to head to the Internet. The best place to go is the National Climactic Data Center. Here, you’ll see a tab listing all the states. Click on your state and the site will direct you to a page listing data for numerous research stations within the state. Find the one nearest you. Now, you’ll see that each station offers data for the following temperatures – 36, 32, and 28 degrees. For most crops, the one you’ll want to pay attention to is 32 degrees. You’ll notice three dates listed under Spring and Fall. If you want to play it safe, use the 10 percent probability date. This means there is only a 10% chance that the last frost will be later than that date. If you are prepared to cover your plants in event of frost, you can use the 50 or 90 percent dates and plant earlier.

Another great resource is the Mother Earth News Garden Planner. Punch in your zip code and the site automatically keeps track of your frost-free dates and sends you alerts on when to plant. You can also manually change the dates to accommodate microclimates in your yard. The Garden Planner simplifies laying out a garden too, by offering layout ideas and automatically spacing plants appropriately. You’ll end up with a blueprint that shows exactly how much to plant, when and where.

Other Considerations

Knowing the last freeze and frost dates is a useful tool in planning your garden, but it doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. First, these dates don’t apply to perennials and shrubs. When choosing shrubs and perennials, you need to pay attention to their U.S.D.A. plant hardiness zones, which are usually listed on plant tags. Hardiness zones are based on the minimum cold temperatures in a certain area and help you determine which plants will thrive in your yard.

Additionally, most yards have microclimates — pockets that are warmer, colder or windier than a surrounding area. Places in your garden near the house or a concrete patio usually warm up sooner. Locations with a southern exposure stay warmer than those on the north side of the house. Pay attention to these areas and make notes from year to year about when to plant based on the conditions in your yard.

Duping Mother Nature

So, you know that your last frost date is May 30 and your first frost date in the fall is September 15. That doesn’t leave a very large window for growing long-season crops, such as tomatoes and pumpkins. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to extend the season. Black plastic mulch stretched over the soil can raise the soil temperature by as much as 10 degrees, allowing you to plant two or three weeks earlier. Then, cover planted crops with floating row covers. This agricultural fabric lets water and sunlight through, but it keeps plants warmer. Various weights are available; choose one suited to your climate. Water-filled cloches are a boon to the northern gardener. With these, you can plant tomatoes, squash, peppers and other heat-loving plants as much as three weeks early.

Julie Christensen learned about gardening on her grandfather’s farm and mother’s vegetable garden in southern Idaho. Today, she lives and gardens on the high plains of Colorado. When she’s not digging in the dirt, Julie writes about food, education, parenting and gardening.

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