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When frost threatens, know what to expect

publication date: May 1, 2004
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There are many variables that come into play when trying to protect plants from frosts. There are frosts, and there are freezes. Generally, a freeze is when a cold air mass moves in and the overall temperature of the air is below freezing and stays there for a while. A frost occurs when heat is lost to the atmosphere on a cool, clear night. This is called radiational heat loss, or a radiant frost. Radiational frost can occur even when the air temperature stays above freezing, around 35 or 36 degrees, for example. Heat from the plant tissue is actually drawn out of the leaves into the surrounding air, and the tissue can fall below freezing and be killed.

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