Frost – Patience Not Panic

Frost was widespread all across western Canada last week. From all reports, crop damage is quite variable – both within an area and within a single field. This is expected because many variables will affect a crop’s ability to withstand frost (duration of the frost, crop staging, crop residue, low lying areas, crop vigor, etc.) so the only way to assess the extent of frost damage is to get out and scout. You will notice symptoms of frost within hours, but plant survival and recovery potential  cannot be confirmed for several days. After a frost, plant material will be wilted and discolored (whitening, yellowing). More severe damage will cause necrosis (browning or blackening) of cotyledons and leaves. Light frosts are often not lethal to the growing point (top, centre of the stem). This is where all new growth is initiated so if it is still green, the plant can re-grow.