At this time of year an early morning frost can transform a dull dreary garden into something resembling a winter wonderland. It may be tempting to take a walk all over your frosty, crispy lawn but that may not be such a good idea.
But don’t worry a little frost won’t do too much damage to your lawn. Grass is very durable and can grow in almost all environments. However, if you are worried about a frosty lawn we have outlined everything you need to know about a frosty lawn, how to protect it and what to look out for.
Firstly, don’t walk on frosty grass
If possible keep off of the lawn if there is a frost present. When the grass blade is frozen all of the water inside the cells can be frozen solid, making the usually flexible plant brittle and weak. When you step on the blade it will shatter and destroy the grass structure internally. This will in effect crush the grass blade resulting in a limp looking leaf.
If the frost is very light this damage is not usually too severe and will normally recover of its own accord but recovery can be slow as the grass plant is not actively growing at this time of year. You may be left with some unsightly brown footprints across the lawn showing where you have been or even worse dead areas that may need reseeding in the spring or even some fungus growing on the damaged areas.
A damaged lawn can lead to fungus
When you walk on a frozen or snowy lawn you damage it. When the grass is damaged it is susceptible to disease. Fungus, such as fusarium ( or snow mould ) can thrive in these conditions, especially on snowy ground. Often it will actually form in the footprints where you have walked. So avoiding walking on the lawn will greatly reduce the chances of winter disease.
Frost can damage the leaf – but don’t worry
Frost causes the plant cells to swell up as the ice expands and causes internal damage. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it can make the grass grow back stronger and more resilient with a stronger root system. Grass is a very resilient plant and if left alone it will normally recover on its own.
Protect against frost damage with an Autumn feed
An Autumn feed will help protect the lawn from the effects of frost. Our Autumn and Winter lawn treatments contain iron as well as being high in potassium. These act as a turf hardener, helping strengthen the plant from the harsh effects of frost and protecting against disease, as well as promoting a greener lawn.
Be careful to use a dedicated Autumn/Winter feed as a high nitrogen Summer feed will do more harm than good, leaving the grass more susceptible to disease. Avoid applying any products when frost is imminent as these could freeze to the blade, killing the grass.
Common questions about a frosty lawn
Should I mow before a frost?
We recommend that you try and mow at least a couple of days before a frost is due. Try and plan ahead, look at weather reports and try and fit it in before the frost arrives. It may be more beneficial to leave the grass a little longer until the frost has passed.
How can I protect my lawn during winter?
When mowing as you head into winter, try and cut at a higher mowing height, roughly 2 inches is best. Just take the tops off to neaten it up, and remove the grass clippings as these will not rapidly decompose if left on the lawn, potentially causing disease.
When the daylight hours are shorter in the winter months a longer grass blade will have a greater surface area for the plant to absorb sunlight to photosynthesise into food. It also encourages deeper rooting and an overall healthier plant.
A longer lawn can help hold a layer of air in the lawn, acting a bit like a blanket and preventing the frost from reaching the crown of the grass.
How long after a frost can I mow?
In general around three days should be long enough to wait after a heavy frost to mow. This will give the plant a chance to heal and strengthen itself from the damage caused.
As a general rule, as long as there is no frost on the leaf and the ground is not frozen solid you should feel free to mow with little fear of damage.
We hope these tips help when you come across the dreaded Jack Frost. If you would like to know more about how to protect your lawn during a frost, drop us an email on email@example.com and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.