Assess Frost Injury, Crop Recovery

NW Iowa had sites get down to 30 degrees on Sunday morning. Today the phone calls, for limited parts of NW Iowa, have been coming in. So, I thought that I would send this to help your decision making - if you have questions. Hopefully, it is a limited part of the area. But if it is you, I think we have some information that might help.

Last year there was an article on the ISU ICM Blog site titled "Assess frost injury, crop recovery" written after a May 29, 2021 frost that caused some significant damage in parts of northern Iowa. Follow the link above to review the article written by Paul Kassel. Damage occurred a little later in the growth stage, but the information is still very good. A couple of key notes - for corn, the growing point is well below the surface. Recovery is likely, but too soon to tell for certain today. Soybeans - ideally wait a few days to see if recovery starts. Soybean plants with green cotyledons/seed leaves may recover, because there are two growing points at the axils of the cotyledons. See the pictures included in this article.

More on Frost and Corn - In 2020 I wrote an ISU ICM Blog article titled "Recovery of frosted corn – a case study." If you have corn concerns check it out. Here are some pictures of a field I followed after a 2013 frost that might help you understand the potential timeline for recovery.

I hope this helps. Better yet - I hope you don't need this information!


Prepared by
Joel DeJong,
Extension Field Agronomist
Published in Iowa State University Extension and Outreach