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How to Grow Cranberries - Frost Tolerances

Cranberry SPRING and FALL Frost Tolerances (from a table developed by C. J. DeMoranville, UMass Cranberry Station, 1997):

SPRING Cranberry Frost Tolerances
Appearance of the bud Early Black & Howes varieties Ben Lear & Stevens varieties
Spring dormant (bud reddish) 18° F 20° F
White bud stage (loss of dormant color in bud) 20° F 22° F
Slight loosening of bud scales (no bud swell) 22° F 25° F
Bud swell (cabbage head or popcorn stage); 2mm bud 25° F* 27° F
Bud elongation (Bud is growing out/up) 27° F** 29.5-30° F
Roughneck (more than 1/2″ new growth) through hook stage 29.5-30° F 29.5-30° F

* = After 5-7 days, increase tolerance to 27° F even if there is no change in appearance.

** = After 5-7 days, increase tolerance to 29.5°-30° F even if there is no change in appearance.

FALL Cranberry Frost Tolerances
Maturity Level Early Black Howes Stevens Ben Lears
Deep blush on exposed surface 27° F 27° F 27° F 27° F
Deep blush 26° F 26° F 26° F 26° F
Red 25° F 25° F 25° F 25° F
Deep red 23° F 23° F 23° F 24° F
Maroon (1-2 weeks later) 23° F 20° F 22° F 24° F
Over-ripe (end of October) 23° F 23° F ** 23° F ** 24° F

** = loss of tolerance when over-ripe

Please note that each variety will reach a given stage on a different date. Generally, Early Black and Ben Lears will both color early and Howes and Stevens will color later.  This tolerance chart is based on color development, which is used as a visual guide to ripening, a chemical and physiological process.  In some years, lower tolerances were found.  However, we cannot predict when this will occur so conservative figures are presented here.  In each of three years, cranberries showed tolerances at least as low as these for the stages listed.

Cranberry questions? Contact Charles Armstrong, Cranberry Professional. University of Maine Cooperative Extension || Pest Management Office || 491 College Avenue || Orono, ME 04473-1295 || Tel: (207) 581-2967 [email:]

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Cooperative Extension: Cranberries
5741 Libby Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3188, 1.800.287.0274 (in Maine) or 1.800.287.8957 (TDD)E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469