In-crop weed management after a frost

June 3, 2015 - Issue 12

Wait for signs that canola plants have started regrowing before spraying after a frost.

Wait for signs that canola plants have started regrowing before spraying after a frost.

After a light frost, spraying could resume when the following conditions are met:
—A minimum of one night, preferably two, with minimum temperatures of 5°C — the minimum for biological activity to occur, and…
—A minimum of one day, preferably two, of good growing conditions (warm and sunny) have passed, and…
—Good growing conditions (warm, not hot, and sunny) are present at the time of spraying, and…
—You see no evidence of frost damage (blackening and water soaked appearance) on the crop or the weeds. “Crop” is included here because even a herbicide tolerant canola crop requires that the metabolism of the plant be working at full capacity to enable it to effectively process the herbicide and prevent injury.

After a heavy frost, check for damaged tissues such as water soaked and darkened leaves that eventually lead to necrosis (dead, dry tissue). If tissue damage is greater than 40% of total leaf area, allow new leaves to grow before making herbicide applications.

Weeds stressed and weakened by frost are not more susceptible to herbicide. In fact, herbicide will likely have lower efficacy on weakened weeds.

Because of the above concerns, chemical companies may not be able to guarantee their products’ performance if applied too soon after a frost. And for some products, performance may be reduced if applied at temperatures below (or above) a certain temperature. Always talk to your local product rep to see how they will support the use of their product following a frost or cool temperatures. Performance restrictions can also be found in the provincial guides to crop production. Alberta Saskatchewan Manitoba

Wait for crop recovery. If weeds seem to recover faster than the crop, which can happen, you may want to wait for an extra day of warm nights and good daytime growing conditions. Canola plants set back by frost are not able to process the herbicide they’re supposed to tolerate. Crop damage can occur. Damage is typical of herbicide damage to weeds: Glyphosate on frost-damaged Roundup Ready canola that hasn’t recovered can yellow new canola growth and in rare severe cases stunt new growth. Liberty on Liberty Link canola that hasn’t recovered will first show up as dried or irregular yellowed spots or patches to leaves, particularly tissues between leaf veins. Purpling of the crop plants may occur with either herbicide or may also occur with cold stress itself. Waiting for two days of warm weather after a frost instead of just one day may benefit the crop, and will likely have little effect on weed management results.

Further reading:

Improve glyphosate results

Spraying on cool cloudy days
How to assess frost damage on young canola

Canola Watch