Now that we are well and truly in winter, frosts might be a more frequent occurrence. But how does frost impact your lawn and what can you do to help?
Frost is defined as
‘a deposit of soft white ice crystals or frozen dew drops on objects near the ground; formed when the surface temperature falls below freezing point.’
The frost that impacts our lawn forms via radiation frost, during clear skies with little to no wind when water vapor in the air freezes on contact with a cooler surface (such as leaf blades or your car). It mostly forms when temperatures are cool through the night and once the sun is shining again, the air warms and frosts are melted.
How frost impacts your lawn
On warm-season grasses like buffalo, couch, zoysia and kikuyu, frost can cause discolouration and damage to the leaf blade of the grass.
Frosts cause damage when the moisture inside the leaf blade freezes. As water molecules freeze, they expand causing the cell wall of the grass to rupture, damaging the turf. This damaged cell wall has an impact on the plants ability to photosynthesise and therefore can cause some discolouration.
A light frost may affect the leaves, but is usually not significant enough to freeze the ground meaning your lawn roots are still protected and can slowly repair the damage. Once soil levels drop below 14 degrees consecutively, your lawn will use a protection method known as dormancy to survive. When grass becomes dormant, the grass leaves thin and can dry out. This is due to the minimisation of metabolic activity that helps the grass store its energy in the lower parts of the grass stem and root areas, where it is needed most.
What can you do to help your frosted lawn?
It’s important to avoid walking on your lawn when the leaves are frosted as they are brittle and pressure can break them. Therefore we recommend to avoid walking on your lawn (including mowing) until the sun has been out long enough to warm up and melt the frost.
A light watering in the morning before the sun rises can help the frost on the lawn melt. By watering the lawn, the frost will melt quicker and more evenly. A very quick water of 30 seconds to a minute will do the job.
Our Winter Warmer Lawn Care Pack has everything you need to get your lawn through the cooler months, so it’s looking its best once spring arrives!
Get more tips and advice on caring for your lawn here or contact our friendly lawn consultants today!