The weather in December was marked by unusually high temperatures, with New Year’s Eve 2021 being the warmest on record. However, January and February tend to be the coldest months of the year, and with falling temperatures come overnight frost. While a frost covered lawn may look pretty, frost itself can cause damage to your grass. We’ll look at how to avoid frost damage to your lawn, and what can you do to repair it.
How frost forms
When the temperature falls water vapour (air) turns into a liquid and forms a dew on the ground. If the temperature falls below this ‘dew point’, the water freezes, and a frost is formed. Ground frost can form when the air temperature is above freezing, as the ground is colder. In addition, frost can form on grass even when other surfaces don’t experience frost, as grass is less able to retain heat. This why you may see frost on your lawn well into the spring when the risk of other frosts has disappeared.
How does frost damage lawns?
Most of the damage that is caused to lawns during very cold weather is due to how the grass is treated when it is covered in frost. Healthy grass is pretty resilient, and some people feel that frost can actually improve your lawn as it can encourage roots to strengthen. However, frozen grass is brittle which means that there are some things you should avoid when there has been a heavy frost.
Walking on your lawn
One of the easiest things you can do to prevent lawn damage after frost is to avoid walking on the grass. After a frost, stick to paths as standing on the grass itself is likely to snap the individual blades of grass. It’s a good idea to keep pets off the lawn as well as much as possible.
You’re unlikely to feel much like getting the mower out in sub-zero temperatures anyway, but after a frost, or when the ground is frozen is one of the worst times to mow the lawn, so you have every excuse to keep the lawnmower in the shed until the weather warms up.
Put the lawn treatments on hold
The majority of lawn treatments, such as fertilisers or weedkillers, rely on being used when the ground is the correct temperature in order to be effective. Applying treatments to lawns that are too cold will mean that they won’t work. In some circumstances they may even damage your lawn. At All Green we understand the optimal time to apply each lawn treatment. Using us for your year-round lawn treatments will ensure that they are always carried out at the right time.
I’ve heard about frost heave. What is it?
During periods of frost and cold weather the water in your soil expands as it freezes. You may notice this as soil disturbance on your lawn. If the problem is mild, it may settle down naturally, or you may want to talk to All Green about lightly rolling and topdressing your lawn to improve the appearance.
As frost heave is more common in heavy or badly drained soils, arranging for lawn aeration may reduce the risk of problems occurring in the future.
If cold temperatures are accompanied by a prolonged period of wet weather your lawn may also suffer from snow mould. This could be a particular problem after heavy snow, typically when snow has been piled up in one place and then thaws.
As with all lawn problems, we’d always recommend that you ask a professional to look at your lawn in order to correctly diagnose the problem. Many lawn moulds, algae and lichens look very similar, and so it is important you know what it is you are dealing with before you attempt any treatment.
Many challenges our lawns face can be mitigated by looking after your grass all year round. Contact All Green Lawn Treatments now to discover how we can help you maintain your beautiful lawn even when temperatures plummet.