April 2021 Freeze/Frost Event at OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio

At The CFAES South Centers in Piketon, Ohio, Berry plants experienced three consecutive nights of freezes or frosts in April 2021. On April 21st, 22nd and 23rd, low temperatures reached 32.4, 29.9, and 25.9°F, respectively.  As of Thursday, April 22nd, most of our berry crops in our research plots appeared to have made it through with little to no damage.  After the significantly lower temperatures that occurred in the early morning hours of the 23rd, the damage was evident on some of the more tender crops. Damage to the newly emerged shoots on the Hardy Kiwis bines could easily be seen.  What could not be seen upon initial glance was the damage done to the flower buds of the thornless blackberries on a Rotatable Cross Arm Trellis.  The Rotatable Cross Arm Trellis, or RCA for short, was moved into position and covered with floating row cover on Tuesday, April 20th, preparing for the cold weather event. Despite the measures that were taken to protect this susceptible fruit crop, flower buds were indeed damaged by the consecutive freezes.  Evidence of damage can be seen in the pictures attached with this report. Cultivars that we have at South Centers are Ouachita, Natchez, Triple Crown, and Osage.  Evidence of bud damage can be seen in all cultivars.  It is difficult to tell how many of the buds were damaged at the present time. We will know more in the weeks to come as they begin to open into the flowering stage.

Ryan Slaughter, Research Assistant, CFAES South Centers, email: slaughter.71@osu.edu