Frost on the Lawn? Don’t Go There.
If it’s Frozen, Consider it Frosty the No Man’s Land
We’ve all seen those “Keep off the Grass” signs, designed to deter people and pets from stressing sensitive turf. And while there are many reasons someone might want you to keep off the grass, here’s one that applies to everyone: frost.
While that frosty layer on your lawn might look like nothing more than a delicate dusting of ice, add a bit of pressure and the effect is anything but delicate. In fact, any impact—even footsteps or a lawnmower—can cause serious damage. Here’s why:
Get Out Your Microscope
When it comes to frost, there’s more than meets the eye. Inside each grass blade are water molecules used for nourishment. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, the water molecules freeze and expand. If weight is applied to the frozen turf, the expanded molecules will break through the grass blades, causing significant damage.
While this damage happens on the cellular level, you won’t need a microscope to spot the end result. Patchy, discolored sections of turf are an indicator of frost damage. You may even notice crushed blades have turned white or beige.
Here’s the Good News
The ground does not freeze during a light frost. This means that despite your grass blades being frozen, below-ground the roots remain above freezing, giving your lawn a good shot at recovery. Come spring, damaged areas can be reseeded. The dead grass
will become thatch that aids the growth of the new seeds.
Stay One Step Ahead
Sure, you can put up one of those “Keep Off the Grass” signs to protect your lawn, but there’s a better way to prevent damage. The night before a light frost, give your lawn a deep watering. The moisture will slowly evaporate overnight, causing a friction that warms the grass blades and helps keep them above freezing.
And most importantly, if your lawn does freeze and walking on it can’t be avoided, try to wait until the temperature has warmed enough to allow it to thaw. If weather allows, running the sprinklers can help speed up the process.
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