Chilling/Frost Injury

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Air temperatures at or slightly below freezing (depending on the extent of radiational cooling) can severely damage all cucurbits. Seedling stages may be severely stunted or killed by low, but non freezing temperatures because they are “chilling sensitive” crops. Damage progresses from a water-soaked appearance of affected leaf tissue immediately after exposure, to a grayish-green “scorched” appearance of leaves, that eventually turn brown and papery within a day or two.

Overhead irrigation applied during the low temperature exposure may provide partial protection against a light frost, but is not likely to be as effective as it is for more cold tolerant perennial crops like strawberries and peaches.

The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service is implied.

Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

Publication Revised July 2009

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