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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the falling of the air temperature below 0°C in the evening or night when temperatures during the day are above freezing. They are caused either by the invasion of cold air masses from other regions, generally from the arctic (advective frosts), or by radiant cooling of the soil surface and vegetation at night (radiation frosts). In most cases, however, both preliminary advection of a mass of cold air into a given region and subsequent night radiation that cools the soil and, through it the air, to subzero temperatures play a part in the occurrence of a frost. Such frosts usually occur in the central zone of the USSR in spring (until mid-June) and fall (beginning in the second half of September).

Frosts can substantially lower yields of field, vegetable, and fruit crops. Their destructive effect on crops is due to the direct action of low temperatures on living cells: it freezes water out of the cell sap, causes the formation of ice crystals in the interstitial spaces, and dehydrates the protoplasm. The hardiest plants, early spring grain crops and early-planted beans, can withstand a brief frost ranging from -7° to - 10°C; soy, Italian millet, and Chinese bellflower are moderately hardy and can withstand temperatures of -4° to -3°C; corn, millet, sorghum, potato, and rustic tobacco can tolerate frosts from -2° to -3°C; kidney bean, rice, cotton, melons, sesame, peanut, and buckwheat are tender plants whose shoots are injured by temperatures ranging from -0.5° to — 1.5°C. The reproductive organs are particularly sensitive to frosts.

The introduction of early-ripening crop varieties into regions with a short frost-free period, the breeding of plants for hardiness, the use of potassium fertilizers, timely cultivation, and the correct choice of the sowing site, taking the micro-climate into account, are very important in combating frosts. The best known and most popular method is smudging, which is widely used to protect flowering fruits and shoots of heat-loving vegetables in the central zone and southern regions of the USSR. Open heating, in the air between plants by the combustion of oil and coal in special heaters, is used on citrus plantations in the subtropical regions of the USSR. Lemon and orange trees are sometimes covered with three layers of gauze. The heating of plantations by electric heaters or warm-water or steam units is effective but costly and is used only for valuable produce.


Berliand, M. E., and P. N. Krasikov. Predskazanie zamorozkov i bor’ba s nimi, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1960.
Gol’tsberg, I. A. Agroklimaticheskaia kharakteristika zamorozkov v SSSR i metody bor’by s nimi. Leningrad, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
There must be deep snow, hard frost, no wind, and a cloudless sky; and when, on waking up, I see these conditions fulfilled, then it would need some very potent reason to keep me from having out a sleigh and going off.
It was a hoar-frost day, and the forest was an enchanted forest leading into fairyland, and though Irais and I have been there often before, and always thought it beautiful, yet yesterday we stood under the final arch of frosted trees, struck silent by the sheer loveliness of the place.
"Degrees?--Of frost? Oh, dear me, are you cold," cried Irais solicitously.
The poor tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it.
They were all too soft, dying under the toil, the frost, and starvation.
With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long- drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of life, the articulate travail of existence.
He breathes heavily, taking into his lungs the frost itself.
Leaving the pails standing in the trail, he walked up and down, rapidly, to keep from freezing, for the frost bit into the flesh like fire.
Their bristly fur was rimed with frost. Their breath froze in the air as it left their mouths, spouting forth in spumes of vapour that settled upon the hair of their bodies and formed into crystals of frost.
"But they're not as stuck up as the Frosted Jumbles," declared Mr.
The cold hoar frost glistened on the tombstones, and sparkled like rows of gems, among the stone carvings of the old church.
The hat was covered with the white frost; and the goblin looked as if he had sat on the same tombstone very comfortably, for two or three hundred years.