South Carolina: How Has the Cold Affected Pee Dee Winter Crops?

Wheat leaves poking up through the snow. Photo: Justin Ballew, Clemson Cooperative Extension

With the sun out, snow gone, and the temperature warming up, it is finally looking and feeling like a normal South Carolina winter again.


Wheat field in Dillon.

Friday morning (1/5), following the bomb cyclone, the temperature reached 10.2º F according to a weather station in Mullins.  This could have been cold enough to damage some wheat, however, everything is looking fine.  The snow that covered most fields probably provided enough insulation to keep the plants from being damaged.  The wheat has good color and appears to be healthy.


This wheat looks fine after the snow and several hard freezes.

The cold was a little harder on rapeseed.  The snow wasn’t deep enough to cover the plants and a lot of the older leaves are burned.


Even though the damage looks bad from a distance, upon closer inspection, the growing points still look good.  As long as the growing point remains green and turgid, the plants will recover.


Growing point is still green though older leaves were damaged.

In a few fields there were some areas where the plants had grown so fast that the stems had already begun stretching upwards.  These areas were badly damaged, including the growing points, and will likely die.  So long as the plants were still in the rosette stage during the cold, they will be fine.


Rapidly growing plants with elongated stems were fried. The stems have turned white and are soft and the growing points are wilted.

The plants in the field pictured below were a little smaller and the severity of burn is much less than the field in the previous photos.  Smaller plants seem to have handled the cold much better.




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