Freeze Warnings Loom Over Mother’s Day Weekend

Mother's Day weekend in the U.S. is shaping up to be historically cold for parts of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley, with freeze warnings in effect from Minneapolis all the way to Nashville.

A quick look at the 5-day forecast shows that farmers in the Upper Midwest and Northeast may experience frost or freeze conditions in the coming days.

On top of that, we are anticipating rainfall—and potentially snow in parts of North Dakota and the Northeast—across many of the same areas.

The impact of frost and freeze on recently planted crops

These temperatures and the associated precipitation could spell disaster for recently planted crops. Cold shock and frost injury are very real risks that cause poor stand and/or stunted growth and may result in the need to replant.

Learn more about the impact of cold temps on recently planted corn.

In very recent plantings, cold shock results when soil water chilled below 50 degrees Fahrenheit is imbibed, causing plant cells to rupture. Cold-shocked seedlings are more susceptible to plant pathogens and often exhibit wonky, corkscrew-like early growth. For plants already up and growing, frost and freeze will only injure foliage under the best circumstances and kill entire crops in the worst, where freezing temperatures destroy the plant’s growing point. 

Growing points are below the soil surface until around V6, so young crops have insulation, but a hard freeze can cause injury that impedes new growth in a condition called “buggy whipping” even before growing points are above ground. Yield reductions are associated with all of these conditions.

It’s impossible to know whether or to what extent this cold snap will affect your crop, as many factors govern risk and effect. Scouting will be necessary to weigh any corrective actions. Replanting is not always the right decision, even with significant defoliation or reduced emergence. Your university extension office will often have a table that can help consider the economics of replant decisions, accounting for injury extent and eventual replant date. 

You can also reach out to a member of the FBN Agronomy team for decision support by calling or texting (605) 223-4224.

Address your management needs all season long with FBN Direct℠

You can’t control the weather. But for pest pressure and other needs that arise related to the health of your crop, there’s FBN Direct. Simply buy the crop protection products you need online and get them shipped directly to your farm—orschedule free pick-up at your localFBNHub. It’s just one of many different ways we’re making farming better for farmers.

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