freeze damage in peas

daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)March 9, 2014

I grow winter peas down here, and have managed to do so successfully for many years. The temperatures get down to 25F or so, and they come through unscathed. This year, it's been colder, and a week or two ago it registered 21F outside. The unprotected peas wilted some, and I thought they were gone. But, as of now, they are growing vigorously, leaving behind some dead leaves on the lower vines. So at 21F, looks like freeze damage is significant, but evidently very survivable. It seems that the leaves are affected before the stems.

Now, I planted these in early December, fully intending to have them done and gone in March to make way for cherry tomatoes on my trellises. But it's been so cold this winter that everything is going a lot slower. It'll be another month, I think. Of course, for the same reason, it's not a good time to put in my cherries, though I usually do that the first week in March.

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Interesting. I too have noticed that the threshold for damage to show up is around 20 degrees F. In that sense, peas are a lot less hardy than kale which can handle the high single digits without much damage.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:24PM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

I had some frost damage back in December when we got down to 25 for 3 nights, but the plants recovered over time:

Yours will likely too. Peas plants are quite hardy.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:58PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Well, as I said, my peas often get down to 25F, and they do just fine. In fact, I've never actually seen any frost damage at those temps. But this was colder. But I guess your point is that peas can tolerate some damage. Many other plants can't.

Actually, yours are in tubs, above ground, and I'd worry about root damage in those. Mine are in the ground. Those tubs will freeze solid. My ground never freezes. I guess that's telling us that pea roots tolerate hard freezes pretty well too.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 6:13PM
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My smooth seeded peas( Willet Wonder) survived 15 degrees this winter. (quite unusual cold for this area only happens about every 20 years)These planted Thanksgiving, overwintered and are now beginning a growth spurt. I took a chance and plant some wrinkled seeded (Bolero) at the same time and over half were taken down in that freeze. Sometimes the wrinkled seed peas don't make, but I have yet to fail with overwintered smooth seeded peas like Willet Wonder and Early Alaska.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 8:06PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

That's interesting. These were Super Sugar Snap, which I'm pretty sure were wrinkled. I didn't realize that different varieties had different levels of freeze tolerance.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 8:26PM
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[Duplicate post deleted]

This post was edited by courtneych on Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 21:05

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:01PM
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Here in north central Florida I find that my peas (wrinkled seed types) are fairly susceptible to freeze damage unless they are quite young. In fact I provide them with protection from all but the lightest of frosts. I suspect it happens because we tend to get cold weather as a series of cycles of a few days to a week of high temperatures of 70-75 degrees followed by a freeze and several days to a week with highs in the 50s and 60s, then back into the 70s (and occasionally 80s) for a few days to a week. I think the warmer interludes may affect the pea plant's susceptibility to frost damage. Nevertheless, I have great luck with peas all winter so long as I given them a little protection on frosty nights. Has anyone else in similar climates noticed their peas being susceptible to damage from frosts and light freezes?

This post was edited by courtneych on Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 21:13

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:04PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

We call "hard freezes" freezes below about 28F. Light freezes are above that. We rarely get below 25F. Never since I started growing peas several years ago. Also, we just get these hard freezes overnight. Never for days at a time. I've never protected my peas, and I've never had problems. As I said, my peas have come through 25F dawns unscathed. What I had always wondered was, how low can they go? At least with these sugar snaps, I'm now inclined to throw something over them is the temp is going to get well below 25F overnight. If you live where you get such temps for many days in a row, that plan may well not help you.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 10:13PM
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