P&PDL Picture of the Week for
May 9, 2005

Injury From Minor Frost and Radiational Cooling

Bob Nielsen, Extension Corn Production Specialist, Purdue University

Frost injury to corn often occurs early in the spring. The severity of the damage depends on the extent of the frost development on the leaves, whether the frost was accompanied by lethal cold temperatures (28F or less), the age of the plants, and the subsequent weather following the event. The images below were from a field planted early April that experienced minor frost and radiational cooling when the plants were at about the V1 (one visible leaf collar) stage of development. Even though air temperatures dropped no lower than the mid-30's, the sky was clear and the winds calm for at least 3 to 5 hours, setting the scene for minor frost and radiational leaf cooling. As is often the case with crops, the prognosis for such damage depends on the weather. Most fields would snap out of their doldrums upon a quick return to warm, sunny conditions. Continuation of cool, cloudy weather will further delay crop development as well as recovery from leaf injury. For a lengthier discourse and more images about this particular event, see my article online at http://www.kingcorn.org/news/articles.05/RefrigCorn-0429.html.


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Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service