Extension News

Ask the ISU Experts

Note to media editors:

Got gardening questions? Contact the Hortline at (515) 294-3108 (Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. - 12 noon and 1-4:30 p.m.) or send an e-mail to hortline@iastate.edu. For more gardening information visit us at Yard and Garden Online at www.yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu


My rhubarb has been damaged by freezing temperatures.  Will I be able to harvest rhubarb this year? 

Rhubarb that has been damaged by freezing temperatures will turn black or brown and shrivel.  Damaged rhubarb stalks should be cut off near ground level and discarded. Rhubarb stalks that emerge later in spring will be safe to eat. 


The newly emerged growth on my perennials has been destroyed by freezing temperatures.  Will the perennials come back? 

Newly emerged perennial growth is susceptible to damage from freezing temperatures. While freezing temperatures may have damaged or destroyed the new growth, the roots and crowns of healthy, well-established perennials should still be alive. The damaged perennials should send up a second flush of growth in a few weeks. Good care (for example, watering weekly during dry weather) this spring and summer should help the perennials recover. 


My tulip and daffodil foliage has been damaged by freezing temperatures.  Should I cut off the damaged foliage?

Tulip and daffodil foliage usually persists for six to eight weeks after flowering. During this six- to eight-week period, the foliage is manufacturing food for the underground bulbs. Tulips, daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs must store adequate amounts of food in their bulbs in order to bloom again next spring. 


Tulip and daffodil foliage damaged by freezing temperatures will turn white and flop onto the ground. However, parts of the foliage may still be green. Those green portions are still able to manufacture food. Despite their poor appearance, the damaged tulip and daffodil foliage should not be cut back until it is completely brown (dead). 


Are there special corn varieties that are grown to produce “baby” corn? 

The small size of “baby” corn suggests that it’s a special variety. However, most baby corn is actually grown from regular sweet and field corn varieties. The ears are harvested when they are 2 to 4 inches long and a third to half an inch in diameter at their base. Most corn varieties reach this stage one to three days after the silks become visible. While many sweet and field corn varieties are suitable for baby corn production, there are a few varieties, such as ‘Babycorn’ and ‘Bonus,’ which are grown specifically for the miniature ears. 



Contacts :

Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, rjauron@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu