Pennsylvania’s vibrant agricultural sector is set to receive a boost with the legalization of hemp flower. Here’s a look at whether the state has the necessary conditions to support cultivation of this promising cash crop.
Plant Hardiness Zone(s)
he USDA Pennsylvania plant hardiness map divides the state into a variety of zones, ranging from 5a to 7a, with a small 7b zone as well. Hemp flower is a zone 8 to 11 hardy plant. This gives you an idea of where and when to plant these crops, in Pennsylvania, to avoid damage due to low winter temperatures.
The state of Pennsylvania has a variety of unique geographical features, which are said to be partly responsible for its varied climate. The southern part of the state has a humid subtropical climate while the rest of the state has a humid continental climate. This means that the some of the areas lying to the south are warmer while those to the north are markedly colder. The average annual temperature is 55.85 degrees Fahrenheit. This average meets the minimal threshold for growing hemp flower.
Length of Growing Season
Hemp, which has a 120-day growing season, on average, should be planted after the last frost, and be ready for harvest before or as the first frost sets in. Pennsylvania’s growing season lasts an average of 150 days. The season might start as early as March and end as late as November, depending on the specific location in the state.
Average Annual Sunlight
On average, Pennsylvania receives about 2,613 hours of sunlight each year. The length of the day increases from 12 hours to a maximum of more than 14 hours during the summer solstice in June. This length then decreases as the growing season comes to an end, and the December solstice approaches. Hemp flower needs a lot of sunshine, more than 12 hours each day, to grow to its maximum size during the vegetative stage; otherwise the flowering stage is triggered.
Average Annual Precipitation
Pennsylvania receives an annual average of 41 inches of rainfall. During the months of March and April, flooding may occur in some parts of the state. Areas in the western part of the state, especially those close to Lake Erie, receive up to 100 inches of precipitation annually. Hemp flower requires a minimum of 35 to 30 inches of rainfall each year. Too much rain or flooding may damage or even kill plants, especially if it persists for an extended period. Plants that are suffering from water damage will turn yellow and stop growing.
The mean elevation of the state is 1,100 feet above sea level. The Delaware River is the state’s lowest point, at sea level, while Mt. Davis is the highest point at 3,213 feet above sea level. To avoid stressing the plants, and its associated effects, hemp seeds should be planted at altitudes lower than 600-800 feet above sea level.
Most parts of the state have acidic soils which need liming to support the cultivation of plants. Hemp grows well in soils with a 6 to 7.5 pH level.
The state of Pennsylvania has a variety of soil types. The most fertile of them being limestone soils found in the valleys. Hemp flower requires aerated, well-drained soils that can hold on to moisture and nutrients.
In addition to viral, fungal and bacterial pathogens, the European corn borer is one of the most common pests known to attack hemp plants in Pennsylvania.
Obtaining A Hemp Flower Grower’s License In Pennsylvania
Under federal law, it is illegal to grow hemp flower anywhere in the United States without first obtaining a grower’s license from the appropriate regulatory body for the state in which the interested party intends to plant the crop. For information on the legal status of hemp in Pennsylvania, as well as a breakdown of the application process, click here. Read about CBD legality by state.