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Frost and Cold Shock Destroys Horticultural Yields, Quality and Profitability

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

Horticultural crops, which may need cold weather to set fruit, are often lost to late frost and sudden cold temperatures, impacting fruit development, size and yields.

ECTOL Protect and Grow has been proven to protect crops and support yields for over 10 years, with extensive in-field and university trials.

Spring Frost Protection for Blossom and Buds in Horticultural Crops

Frost damage occurs when temperatures drop below freezing and ice crystals form within the plant tissue, dehydrating the sensitive cell membranes.

Plants can naturally defend against frost and cold impact, by producing a sequence of biochemicals and undertaking physiological changes. However, this response is not immediate and sudden temperature changes in spring can destroy sensitive new buds and cells.

ECTOL Protect and Grow, has been developed to directly protect, or initiate self-protection, in new growing buds and flowers. Containing growth promotants, enzymes, amino acids, organic acids, regulators, sugars and alcohols, ECTOL Protect and Grow is a highly complex blend of natural biochemicals, critical to the protection of plant cells. It should be sprayed onto flowers and buds as soon as possible before the threat of spring frost events.

Cold Shock - The Silent Thief

When spring and summer temperatures fall below 10°C plants shut down. In such conditions, photosynthesis slows, reducing sugar production and the synthesis of essential amino acids - limiting disease and pathogen resistance. This in turn, can reduce fruit size and yields, but with no visible damage to the crop at the time of the cold shock event.

Independent Trials Support ECTOL Protect and Grow:

A number of trials have been conducted by Dr Sally Bound of the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research and Dr Mike Walker, an independent plant physiologist and UC Davis in California. Details of these trials are available. Key findings include:

FROST PROTECTION: Apples - Tasmania

  • Apple blossom was sprayed with Ectol Protect and Grow then frosted to -2°C for 2 hours

  • The 2% ECTOL solution lost 5% of the buds and blossom

  • The 5% ECTOL solution had no losses

  • The untreated buds and blossom had a loss of 35% due to frost.

CHILL STRESS: Green Beans - Tasmania

Green beans, a warm weather crop, were sprayed with ECTOL Protect and Grow and subjected to a temperature draw down from 9⁰C to 3.5⁰C over 6 hours in a frost chamber. Photosynthetic efficiency was measured with a pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) meter.

ECTOL Protect and Grow increased the photosynthetic efficiency or sugar produced within the plant cells. At 9°C the efficiency or sugar production of the treated plants was 22% greater than the untreated, at 7°C 22%, at 5.5°C 19% and at 3.5°C 13%.

ECTOL Protect and Grow enables plants to maintain higher levels of photosynthesis when under stress from cold temperatures and therefore, by assumption, continue to grow and recover under these conditions.

Recommended Easy Application

Add ECTOL Protect and Grow to sufficient water to achieve cover, typically this would be 7Lt/ha in 200Lts water. For frost control, application should commence from early budburst and repeated every 10 to 14 days during the period of risk.

For 'cold shock' events, 5 to 7Lts/ha should be applied before the event or as soon as possible following.

For more information on transitioning your farming practices to a more natural operation, contact a member of the team.

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