Wheat Freeze Damage

— Written By

Gary Cross

Area Agent Crops

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Granville/Person County

Freeze Injury in Wheat

With recent cold temperatures and freeze and frost warnings wheat growing points could be damaged. Degree of injury is influenced by the duration of low temperatures. Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures causes more damage than brief exposure to the same temperature. Earlier stages of wheat growth are not as sensitive as wheat that is further along in growth. Plant moisture content and high fertility can worsen the freeze problem. Low spots verses high spots in the field can make a difference in to some extent soil types. Symptoms of wheat injury will appear in temperatures above 40 degrees in about a week. Injury symptoms you can see are emerging leaf turns yellow or is brown. Stems are flaccid, rough and collapse.

Areas below or above the nodes begin to show a brown discoloration. Head located in the boot becomes milky in color and begins to turn brown. Wheat can compensate for freeze injury but in most cases will be yield reduced.