Freezing Injury Observed on Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant and all Cucurbits

Friday, May 30, 2014

Frost  that occurred on May 26 and May 28 caused widespread damage on crops which were not protected with covers.

Although frost occurs, by definition, when the temperature drops to 0° C at 1.5 meters above the ground, this may or may not result in freeze damage to crops. The actual temperature at which freezing will occur depends on such factors as plant species and variety, plant vigor, soil conditions, surface cover, duration of the freezing temperature, thawing conditions, cloud cover, and wind conditions.

In tomato, freezing causes a darkening of the leaf or stem tissues as seen on the picture below. Damaged areas later wilt and turn brown. It may be difficult, initially, to determine whether the growing point has been killed and damage may become more evident on the day after the frost. 

Peppers (below) and eggplants are more sensitive than tomatoes to freezing temperatures and may be injured or killed by a light frost. 

Cucurbits are also very susceptible to light frost injury. While it is possible to replant some short seasoned crops such  zucchini and cucumbers, it is getting late for replanting peppers, eggplants and tomatoes.