Cold Damage and Fruit Crops

Special Weather Statement issued March 28, 2012 at 1:45PM CDT by NWS Milwaukee

Chilly night on the way with frost potential, a ridge of high pressure will become centered across the badgerland tonight. a cool dry airmass will combine with clearing skies and diminishing winds to allow temperatures to drop to frosty levels. readings in the low to mid 30s will be common. the greatest threat for frost will be along and north of the interstate-94 and inland from lake michigan. early season cold-sensitive vegetation will be vulnerable to these colder temperatures and potential frost formation. take the necessary precautions by either bringing plants indoors or applying a cover


The unseasonably high temperatures during the month of March has resulted in fruit buds emerging almost one month early compared to typical years. In addition to the fruit buds emerging early, insects and diseases are also getting an early start, meaning that scouting is essential as emergence times will be much earlier than in previous years.

It is critical that growers are tracking bud stage and scouting for pest and disease. In the event of a frost, it is important to understand the type of frost (advective or radiation frost) event to ensure appropriate protection strategies are taken. Below are some links regarding bud development stages, critical temperatures and understanding frost events.

Understanding Frost in Fruit Crops
Impacts of High Spring Temps on Fruit

Power Point Presentation:
Frost in the Vineyard

MSU Spring Freeze Fruit Damage Table

Tree Fruit Bud Stages
Cranberry Bud Stages

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