The recent freezing temperatures have brought severe frosts and in some cases, a thick layer of snow on lawns across the country. There’s much speculation about damage that cold weather can permanently do to grass, but can frost and snow really damage the lawn? Read on for tips and advice from Paynes Turf on caring for your frosty grass and freezing turf (not to mention snow covered lawns) during the coldest winter months.
Generally speaking, frost will not cause any damage to lawns unless it is walked upon. When frost appears the water in the grass blades freezes and the blades become stiff and frozen which makes them very susceptible to damage. Walking on the grass causes the frozen blades to fracture and snap, allowing the frost to get into the leaf cells. This results in weak, limp blades of grass that turn black, almost as if they are bruised.
Thankfully, no long-term damage is caused to the grass, although blackened footprints are highly noticeable on the lawn for quite some time afterwards. Try to keep off the lawn during frosty mornings, and give your lawn a pick-me-up feed when spring arrives to help generate new growth and repair any damage to grass cells.
The affects of freezing
Waterlogging causes extensive damage to lawns, as we have seen over the past few years with the excessive amount of rainfall we have experienced across the UK. Not only does excess water leave lawns saturated during rainy days, the ground can remain soaked for months after heavy rainfall, and can also cause problems when the ground freezes.
Excess water under the surface of the lawn can freeze during very cold conditions, causing the ground to heave up – the water freezes then swells up leaving ‘lumps’ in the lawn. To remove these raised areas, use a roller to flatten out the bumps when the warmer weather appears in the spring, remembering to disperse any worm casts beforehand.
In some parts of the country we have seen significant snowfall this year, with a thick layer of snow covering the ground. Avoid walking on the snow as it can damage the turf underneath, and encourage the onset of fungal diseases such as Snow Mould. It’s best to let nature take its course and leave the snow to melt – just try to avoid walking on your lawn until it has dried out!