frosted tomatoes

cave88(5)May 18, 2009

My tomatoes and peppers were hit by frost and freeze last night. They should have been covered but were not. Going forward is there anything I can do to save them? Should I just start over? I planted early girls, big boys, roma, cherry and grape. Peppers were green, red,cayanne and holipino. Temp hit 30 degrees, forecast 40.

Thanks for any advice

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that really really sucks. Sorry. Where do you live?

I think you will just have to wait and see a couple of days, some may send suckers if the foliage is all gone...if they don't, they won't come back.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:57AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I agree that you have to wait to see what the damage is b/c it doesn't show up, usually, ASAP after a low frost/freeze temp.

The tomatoes are more likely to escape major damage than are the peppers which are very frost sensitive.

Frost was also predicted for my area in upstate NY near the Vt border, but it didn't get below 40 F here at my home but I'm up off the valley floor a few hundred feet and that often makes the difference. And in my zone 5 I don't put out any tender veggies or flowers until at least two weeks after the last average frost date which is May 15th around here.

Past experience is what gives me caution in not planting out too early.

Carolyn, hoping that the damage is not all that bad for your tomatoes and peppers.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 7:19AM
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Karen Pease

How bad do they look?

I covered my tomatoes during our frost, but I forgot about everything else! My watermelon in particular concerns me; its leaves are all rather limp (it was so lush before). I'm trying to save it by removing its lower frostbitten leaves and putting foil around it to keep the sun off for a few days. I figure that any sunlight that hits it right now is just going to be wasting the plant's water and further damaging already damaged cells.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 12:13PM
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Mine luckily made it through fine...about 40 last night for the low...the leaves were curled inwards hugging themselves a bit this morning, but quickly spread back out when the sun arrived.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 12:40PM
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Thanks everyone. I live in NE Indiana. We had 10 tomato plants out. 1/2 had most leaves that were purplish and dead looking. The others looked ok. We are going to re-plant 5 and watch the others. 1/2 the peppers looked ok also. We will do the same with the peppers. I stopped at a greenhouse this morning before I saw the damage to ours. The lady there said that if there was purplish color than the plants probably would not come back. I live 18 miles N of the greenhouse. There was no frost/freeze at the greenhouse but 2 miles N at her house there was frost.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 9:08PM
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I had 120 plants that froze.
a very select few were mostly unaffected.

30 recovered, but were set back by a month, or two.
most the rest died, slowly over the 2 months.

Since your varieties are easily available,
and tomatoes are so important, I'd err on
the side of caution.

Balance that with any growth already gained.

If they don't show growth in the next week, I'd be very very nervous.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 11:34PM
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adding: the above info is if they froze, not frosted on.

I had plants frosted on twice this year.
A minor set back. a week, or two only.

But physically frozen... that's bad news.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 11:36PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I will tackle this problem. April 2 and 3rd, we had 30 mph winds and the temp got down to 18-20 degrees overnight. I have 102 tomatoes in a 18 by 45 hoop building, under two or three layers of row cover and I lost some. It didn't make sense on the which ones died however, some were frost burned. Some were dead. The ones that had upright stems, I left the ones that had stems on the ground, I pulled. Since I had 25+ extra plants, I waited 3 days and pulled those that were dead, stems on the ground. The roots were dead also. I replaced some that had straight strong stems, their roots were still growing. I had a healthy plant, so I just replaced them.

I chose the best looking ones, if that can be said, and left them alone. I watered when they needed it, I didn't pull or cut the leaves off. I just let them heal. By one week PF(post freeze), they started to put out suckers,by two weeks they were shedding the dead leaves and stems, by three weeks, they were back where they were before the freeze, except bushier. 4 weeks later, the are about half as tall as the ones that didn't freeze. I even have one that was lightly frosted that is blooming.

I expect in another 2-3 weeks, I won't be able to tell which ones are which.

So, I will say this, leave them alone, water normally and all will be well. That is if the stems are upright. Watch for a week and make your call then.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 1:03AM
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