Frost and Freeze Warning – Vegetable Crops Hotline

Frost and Freeze Warning

There is a frost and freeze warning for 4/20, 4/21, 4/22.

Vegetable growers should be prepared to take protective actions on early-planted warm-season vegetables (tomato, cucumber, pepper, summer squash, bean etc.). For high tunnel growers, medium-weight floating row covers should provide sufficient protection. Growers should close the structure when inside temperatures drop below 80°F to maintain heat for the night.

Here is an action chart to help tender vegetables survive freezing temperatures.

Here are a few articles that provide additional information on this topic:
– This article was published on 4/22/2020 on Vegetable Crops Hotline provides clues for field growing vegetables https://vegcropshotline.org/article/protect-early-planted-warm-season-vegetables-from-low-temperatures-2/
– A podcast from Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group produced in May 2020 had a practical discussion on whether to water and till the soil prior to the frost event. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/seedbed-prep-health-transplants-freeze-edition/id1511218540?i=1000474575983
– Commercial Freeze Protection for Fruits and Vegetables from Univ. of Georgia Extension explains types of freezes and methods of protection.
https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B1479&title=Commercial%20Freeze%20Protection%20for%20Fruits%20and%20Vegetables

Strawberry growers should aware that open strawberry flowers can not tolerate temperatures lower than 30°F, popcorn stage flowers and tight buds may tolerate temperatures low to 26 and 22°F. If plants are in full bloom, the damage can be irreversible. Check this article for a case study about strawberry frost protection https://vegcropshotline.org/article/prepare-for-strawberry-frost-protection/

Fruit growers should closely monitor their crops at the fruit level and take protective measures. However, growers should keep in mind that fruit trees produce a lot more flowers than they need, so even 90% kill of flowers can sometimes result in minimal economic loss. As can be seen from these tables, the stage of crop development at the time of the freeze is important in determining the amount of damage. The other thing to keep in mind is that even if flowers/fruitlets are not killed, they can be damaged, and russeted frost rings can result (see Figure below).



Specific information about blueberry is available at https://www.canr.msu.edu/blueberries/weather/critical-spring-temperatures 

 

 

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