by Joel Bagg, Forage Development Specialist & District Sales Manager, Quality Seeds Ltd
Frost heaving can significantly damage alfalfa plants, leaving stands with much less yield potential. Plants may initially appear undamaged, but taproots are typically broken and unable to pick up enough nutrients or moisture, and stands eventually die.
Frost heaving of alfalfa happens when repeated freezing and thawing pushes the tap root and crown out of the soil. Heaving occurs through-out the winter season heave cycle (similar to fence posts), as well as resulting from the “jacking” action of the spring freeze-thaw cycles.