It looks like we might get one more freeze this spring after all. The National Weather Service is calling for 32 Saturday night in Marion, 34 in Conway, 32 in Dillon, and 31 in Bennettsville. Produce growers with strawberries or freshly transplanted vegetables need to be thinking about either putting on row covers or using overhead irrigation to protect from frost and freezing temperatures.
Row crop growers can’t protect so easily. For wheat, the table below shows the temperature tolerances at different stages growth. We have wheat mostly in the jointing and boot stages and a few fields that are heading. According to the table, we should be ok so long as the temperature doesn’t go below 30.
Rapeseed is a little more worrisome, since we are in full bloom now. Here is an excerpt from the Canola Council’s production guide: “Frosts at flowering are rare and usually light and in low areas resulting in slightly delayed maturity and only minor reductions in yield. Frost during flowering usually causes flower abortion. Researchers have observed plants in which only those flowers open at the time of the frost were affected. Pods lower down on the stems and unopened buds continued to develop normally. Several days after the frost injury, gaps of aborted pods are evident on the stems. The injury is distinct in that all open flowers at the time of the frost show the injury.” We may see some abortions, but the plants should recover and more flowers will keep coming.
We have a lot of corn up now. The potential for damage will depend on how big it is. Here is a quote from Clemson Grain Specialist David Gunter: “Some frost damage will make small corn look bad, but it won’t kill it.” “As long as the growing point is still below the ground the young corn will come back. However, we have had some corn planted in early March this year and it can be killed if the growing point is above ground and we do have a freeze.” According to Iowa State Extension, the growing point has tranistioned from below to above the soil surface at V6 (6 fully collared leaves). So any corn at V5 or smaller will hopefully survive. Here is a presentation on corn development from Iowa State Extension.
If you have any questions about frost or freeze damage, please contact your local Clemson Extension Agent.